According to Horkheimer and Adorno, the real heroes are those persons who stand outside dominant social patterns (Appelrouth and Edles 2008); however, the culture industry dictates who are society’s heroes and which social behaviors are the ones expected in a modern society. It is possible to analyze the characteristics of heroes (such as Superman, Spiderman, or Superwoman) that the mass media are promoting by using Horkheimer’s and Adorno’s ideas. Hollywood’s superheroes are beautiful, rational, friendly, people-related, mostly white and male, and concerned with the predominant values; meanwhile, their enemies (who are also the societal enemies) are ugly, deformed, irrational, full of rage, and colored. In certain ways the mass media’s message is that to be good is to be beautiful and conformed. Hollywood movie heroes are working hard to protect the social status quo; therefore, those who want to overthrow the prevalent system are those outcasts who can never conform to the society and because of that are mistaken. Such messages are socialized through the culture industry, which count on the state and the economic system supports. Therefore, their influence over people lives could be omnipotent and invisible at the same time. For that reason, the individuals who are not celebrities, who can avoid mass media’s power, or who can stand outside the influence of conformity could become Horkeiheimer’s and Adorno’s heroes.
Do you consider that a common person can achieve the characteristics of Horkeiheimer’s and Adorno’s heroes?