Toscanini’s glasses and batons: The conductor was not above breaking the latter when he was upset with his orchestra. Photograph from Mondadori Portfolio / Getty
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2. Conceptual Connections. Many authors have argued that,ultimately, historical and causal links between the dominations ofwomen and nature are located in conceptual structures of dominationthat construct women and nature in male-biased ways. Basicallythree such conceptual links have been offered.
At this time, Adorno was in intense correspondence with Walter Benjamin on the subject of the latter's Arcades Project . After receiving an invitation from Horkheimer to visit the Institute in New York, Adorno sailed for New York on June 9, 1937 and stayed there for two weeks. While in New York, Max Horkheimer's essays "The Latest Attack on Metaphysics" and "Traditional and Critical Theory," which would soon become instructive for the Institute's self-understanding, were the subject of intense discussion. Soon after his return to Europe, Gretel moved to Britain, where she and Adorno were married on September 8, 1937; a little over a month later, Horkheimer telegrammed from New York with news of a position Adorno could take up with the Princeton Radio Project , then under the directorship of the Austrian sociologist Paul Lazarsfeld . Yet Adorno's work continued with studies of Beethoven and Richard Wagner (published in 1939 as "Fragments on Wagner"), drafts of which he read to Benjamin during their final meeting, in December on the Italian Riviera. According to Benjamin, these drafts were astonishing for "the precision of their materialist deciphering," as well as the way in which "musical facts ... had been made socially transparent in a way that was completely new to me."  In his Wagner study, the thesis later to characterize Dialectic of Enlightenment —man's domination of nature—first emerges. Adorno sailed for New York on February 16, 1938. Soon after settling into his new home on Riverside Drive, Adorno met with Lazarsfeld in Newark to discuss the Project's plans for investigating the impact of broadcast music.
It isn’t only the obvious crimes of totalitarianism, however, that prompt the authors’ critique, but tendencies within society that might appear on the surface to be innocuous. The book’s most incendiary chapter addresses the ‘culture industry’, in which the spiritual enlightenment supposedly bestowed by the creative arts is reconceived as ‘mass deception’. At the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th, a new industrialised culture began to emerge, controlled by gigantic media corporations like the Hollywood film industry, recording companies and commercial radio. Not only have these institutions replaced genuine works of art with mass-produced garbage, they also manipulate people into acquiescing in the status quo and accepting capitalist values. Consumers are given to understand that although their consumption patterns in the mass are vital, they, as individuals, count for nothing. To that extent, the authors saw no functional difference in the conveyor-belt production of delusion by the American culture industry and the sledgehammer propaganda techniques of European dictatorships.
The task of the Frankfurt School, then, was first, to undermine the Judeo-Christian legacy through an "abolition of culture" ( Aufhebung der Kultur in Lukacs' German); and, second, to determine new cultural forms which would increase the alienation of the population, thus creating a "new barbarism." To this task, there gathered in and around the Frankfurt School an incredible assortment of not only Communists, but also non-party socialists, radical phenomenologists, Zionists, renegade Freudians, and at least a few members of a self-identified "cult of Astarte." The variegated membership reflected, to a certain extent, the sponsorship: although the Institute for Social Research started with Comintern support, over the next three decades its sources of funds included various German and American universities, the Rockefeller Foundation, Columbia Broadcasting System, the American Jewish Committee, several American intelligence services, the Office of the . High Commissioner for Germany, the International Labour Organization, and the Hacker Institute, a posh psychiatric clinic in Beverly Hills.