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The chapter, contained in Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944), is representative of the Frankfurt School's mistrust of popular culture. Through technological improvements, the products of mass culture are becoming increasingly standardised and aim to make their consumers more and more passive and easier to manipulate. Mass culture sacrifices "the idea" in favor of "the effect" and technological perfection. This allows mass culture to pass itself off as reality, while, in fact, it is only a representation of reality: "Real life is becoming indistinguishable from the movies." Adorno and Horkheimer cite avant-garde art (the chapter makes explicit reference to Picasso, Dadaism and Expressionism) as a possible resistance to the tendency of privileging style over matter.
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