A Tale of Two Horkheimers

I give you two great men. One German, one American. One notoriously grim, the other irrepressibly cheerful. One analyzes the social forces that shaped the terrifying, hideous twentieth century, the other analyzes the gravitational forces that shape the terrifying, hideous vacuum of outer space. One critiques advanced capitalism, the other critiques…well, nothing really.

But they share one thing: the name Horkheimer (Middle High German: "gall-bladdermonger"):

What, you say, you're waiting for the obscure cultural trivia contest? Here it is. Horkheimer number one, as will be familiar to the more philosophically-inclined readers, was a leading figure in 'critical theory' in the mid-20th century. Critical theory is a left-wing school of thought with a complex and ambiguous stance towards socialism and revolution (we'll save that for another post).

But the second video also features a link to Communism. No, it's nothing Jack says or does. But in the video somwhere, there is something that associates the video with a Communist ruler, however tenuously and (presumably) unintentionally. Anyone who can correctly identify this ridiculously obscure association will have this blog named after them for an entire week, if they so choose.

5 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Horkheimers

  1. I suppose you’re referring to March 6, the birthday of Ramiz Ahmadov, founder of the Azerbaijan Communist Party….

    It’s one of the high points of our social calendar.

    You know, it’s a shame that we don’t get the opportunity to use the word ‘gall-bladdermonger’ on a more regular basis.

    Although, maybe they do in Azerbaijan.


  2. Interesting fact about Horkheimer. Im in Manchester in my Erasmus exchange year and im studying more or less the same as i did in germany. Politics. I even chose one class, I allready did in germany, because i wanted to see the differences. Its Theories and Issues in International Relations. Now the fun fact: Here in England we re learning a lot about critical theory, Horkheimer and the whole Frankfurter Schule (the old one, of course). But we never spoke about them in Germany.
    And there doing a lot about Marxism as well, which was never mentioned back home.
    Is this just my university in Mainz or a general trend? Ignoring the left-wing theories?


  3. Two very different Horkheimers indeed. One is talking unimpeachable, eternal truths that, while they are nowadays only trivial tidbits of his profession, still speak volumes about humankind’s condition and position in the grand order of things. The other is a boor who pontificates about whether a “general strike of the workers” would have stopped the Nazis – a question that looks almost as if it was specifically designed to provide a striking example of a pointless afterthought. This comparison’s not looking good for the fatherland, I’m afraid.

    (Bonus absurdity: Max Horkheimer declaring, without any discernible amount of irony, that immediately after what the Nazis called quite correctly the National Socialist revolution people were wishing most fervently for “a revolution”. Inbred Marxist thinking at its best.)


  4. @J. Carter Wood:

    I suppose you’re referring to March 6, the birthday of Ramiz Ahmadov, founder of the Azerbaijan Communist Party

    I thought “King of the Planets” was the official title of Kim Jong Il.


  5. I know! 88 keys on a piano. The astro-counterpoint to the Golden Section. Or?
    Or is this ‘ridiculously obscure association’ exactly that, and the truth is,Andrew,that you’re trying to suck us into one of those funky thinking bubbles which you so love and we so appreciate. And they are curiously divisive and provocative. Excellent stuff.

    But that astrology dude,Horkheimer 2 or whatever, couldn’t tell Trotzky from an ice-pick. Or?


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