The Uses of Literacy

Most mass-entertainments are in the end what D.H. Lawrence described as ‘anti-life’. They are full of a corrupt brightness, of improper appeals and moral evasions. To recall instances: they tend towards a view of the world in which progress is conceived as a seeking of material possessions, equality as a moral leveling, and freedom as the ground for endless irresponsible pleasure. These productions belong to a vicarious, spectators’ world; they offer nothing which can really grip the brain or heart. They assist a gradual drying-up of the more positive, the fuller, the more cooperative kinds of enjoyment, in which one gains by giving much. They have intolerable pretensions; and pander to the wish to have things both ways, to do as we want and accept no consequences.

Richard Hoggart — The Uses of Literacy (1957)

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