Friday, April 12, 2024

 The preservation of music in records reminds one of canned food. —Theodor W. Adorno

9 comments:

  1. Is that an example of the modernist, canned-food-as-mob-rule disdain posited by John Carey?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I immediately thought of that! It's one of the funniest bits in that book, which I like a lot without necessarily agreeing with.

      With Adorno, I'm not sure actually - not seen the original context of the essay. I did recently discover he had written a couple of essays about the gramophone recording - one specifically about opera in recorded form. But not got round to reading them.

      Delete
    2. If I remember right, Carey associates the high-culture mandarin class snobbery about tinned food as targeting the petit bourgeois. In Howard's End, the unfortunate impecunious young man who works as a clerk but has cultural aspirations above his station, i think his diet is tinned sardines and the like.

      Delete
  2. The preservation of words in books, presumably not such an issue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. It was an issue for Plato, apparently:

      https://websites.umich.edu/~lsarth/filecabinet/PlatoOnWriting.html

      Delete
  3. It's a good analogy! Some canned food is delicious. Sardines, anchovies, tuna. Beans. Tomatoes. Some, not so much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah I love canned fish. Someone told me there's a restaurant in Lisbon where they serve you canned fish, in the tin.

      In America in trendy foodshops and even some shops that are primarily fancy overpriced cards and nicknacks and gifts, there'll be a shelf of canned fish. Overpriced - 10 or 12 bucks for a tin of herring or anchovies - but they have really delightful packaging - oldfashioned or cute 'n ' clever or Wes Anderson stylized. They are almost like decorative objects you'd want to collect.

      Some foods are tastier in tinned form than fresh.

      Then you have figs - which are great either fresh, canned, or dried.

      Delete
  4. I've been unable to find a free online copy of the original essay but this dude has written a whole book chapter on Adorno's views on the gramophone: https://library.oapen.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.12657/39356/9781643150161.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

    A brief google tells me that canning emerged in the early 19th century as an important military technology ("an army marches on its stomach").

    As Ed has noted, some canned food is very good.

    Some hipsters do have an obsession with canning: https://www.continentaldelicatessen.com.au/

    As for Adorno, Di Leo makes the point that pre-WW2 records had pretty horrible quality and would have been a pale imitation of the live orchestras that a man of Adorno's social standing would have been used to.

    ReplyDelete

  Mark E. Smith, New Musical Expres s, November 14 1981 from the album Middle Class Revolt personally I think the contribution of the bourge...