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Transcript of PSUEDOINDIVIDUALITY
Theodor W. Adorno
The idea of pseudo-individuality is paired with part interchangeability (this thesis started with Theodor Adorno; see Bernard Gendron, 1986). Most products in the same categories are made in the same ways and act in basically the same ways...(lipstick is lipstick whether it is made by maybelline or wet 'n wild). The ideal of pseudo-individuality hides this truth. Through different images, meanings are injected into the product to make it seem unique (whereas Marlboro is rough and rugged, Camel is cool and urbane). By differentiating products through images, we come to accept that consuming such products will, in turn, separate us from the crowd, highlighting our special individuality.
Pseudoindividualization: A term used in Marxist theory to describe the way that mass culture creates a false sense of individuality in cultural consumers. Pseudoindividualization refers to the effect of popular culture and advertising that addresses the viewer/consumer specifically as an individual, as in the case of advertising actually claiming that a product will enhance one’s individuality, while it is speaking to many people at once. It is “pseudo” individuality if one attains it through mass culture, “pseudo” because the message is predicated on many people receiving a message of individuality at the same time.
Tuesday August 26, 2014
Vol XCIII, No. 311
"the most interesting man in the world"
This iPod ad demonstrates pseudo-individuality by making it so the consumer can project himself or herself onto the silhouette that is dancing. It creates the illusion that this is a product meant for the individual.
This ad tells us that with this device is for everyone, yet at the same time that when the consumer buys this product he or she will stand out from everyone else, that they will be an individual. And to a degree it does individualize the consumer but not in the visual sense that they are advertising but by what the consumer puts on the device itself. Since they all look alike by default and only differ by color it dilutes the actual individuality of the device and reflects mass production until the consumer themselves individualize its contents.