“anal sounds” and communism
From a transcript of Horkheimer and Adorno trying to talk out a new version of the Communist Manifesto published in the new NLR:
ADORNO: How does it come about that work is regarded as an absolute? Work exists to control the hardships of life, to ensure the reprod-uction of mankind. The success of labour stands in a problematic relationship to the effort required. It does not necessarily or certainly reproduce the lives of those who work but only of those who induce others to work for them. In order to persuade human beings to work you have to fob them off with the waffle about work as the thing in itself.
HORKHEIMER: That’s how it is among the bourgeoisie. This was not the attitude of the Greeks. The young worker on the motorbike treats work as his god because he enjoys riding the bike so much.
ADORNO: But even if he really does enjoy it, that subjective happiness still remains ideology.
HORKHEIMER: But if you were to tell him about our idea that it is supposed to be enjoyable, he would find that hard to understand and would rather we left him in peace.
ADORNO: All that is delusion.
HORKHEIMER: Yes and no. It really does call for great effort.
ADORNO: So does riding a motorbike.
HORKHEIMER: That is an objectively measurable effort; he is happy to make it. His true pleasure in motorbike riding is in the anal sounds it emits. We just look foolish if we try to give explanations that are too precise.