“Hereward, isn’t what you have described, the basic tenets of the Frankfurt School of Thought? Something that Corbyn, Abbott, Livingstone, et al, have been actively promoting, and silently having them implemented into law, for years, while we, in our ignorance and apathy, have allowed them to do so.” [Penseivat]

Thanks to haiku for sending this link which really does put Brutalism in perspective.

[Pimlico school]

Nothing exists in isolation though and as a companion post, please use the comments section here for further perspectives as to why these things were done.

Despite the horrors [of brutalist icons], the Bauhaus movement did spawn a few of London’s best and most exciting buildings, like the Festival Hall (Leslie Martin), the National Theatre (Denys Lasdun) and the Commonwealth Institute (now the Design Museum, Robert Matthew), and good even came from the ‘unmagnificent’ seven featured above. The fight to save old buildings from their various schemes kick-started today’s building conservation movement.

However, that is getting away from the main point, which is here:

But brutalism had ‘a flawed recognition of the human element’, a ‘mechanical view of human nature’ and it inflicted miseries which far outweighed its successes. A study of Sunni–Shia relations in Iraq found that the two opposing groups got on best in the old city of Basra because of the intricate medieval street plan, which depended on odd-shaped houses and encouraged continual human interaction. In new Basra and in Baghdad’s brutalist boulevards, Sunni and Shia ghettoes war with each other.

So, armed with this article, plus the comments section of the OoL article, plus this post on atonalism, that’s about all anyone needs to see a pattern going on here. And it would be as well to also refresh the memory on this series, which looks at some of the Ashkenazi perpetrators.

To finish by quoting again from the atonalism post, Winter 1992 Fidelio:

The ugliness we see around us has been consciously fostered and organized in such a way, that a majority of the population is losing the cognitive ability to transmit to the next generation, the ideas and methods upon which our civilization was built.


Thus, for the Frankfurt School, the goal of a cultural elite in the modern, “capitalist” era must be to strip away the belief that art derives from the self-conscious emulation of God the Creator; “religious illumination,” says Benjamin, must be shown to “reside in a profane illumination, a materialistic, anthropological inspiration, to which hashish, opium, or whatever else can give an introductory lesson.”

Now if that is not sick, what is?

At the same time, new cultural forms must be found to increase the alienation of the population, in order for it to understand how truly alienated it is to live without socialism. “Do not build on the good old days, but on the bad new ones,” said Benjamin.

The proper direction in painting, therefore, is that taken by the late Van Gogh, who began to paint objects in disintegration, with the equivalent of a hashish-smoker’s eye that “loosens and entices things out of their familiar world.”


In music, “it is not suggested that one can compose better today” than Mozart or Beethoven, said Adorno, but one must compose atonally, for atonalism is sick, and “the sickness, dialectically, is at the same time the cure….The extraordinarily violent reaction protest which such music confronts in the present society … appears nonetheless to suggest that the dialectical function of this music can already be felt … negatively, as ‘destruction.’ ”

The purpose of modern art, literature, and music must be to destroy the uplifting — therefore, bourgeois — potential of art, literature, and music, so that man, bereft of his connection to the divine, sees his only creative option to be political revolt.

And lastly for now:

“To organize pessimism means nothing other than to expel the moral metaphor from politics and to discover in political action a sphere reserved one hundred percent for images.”

Thus, Benjamin collaborated with Brecht to work these theories into practical form, and their joint effort culminated in the Verfremdungseffekt (“estrangement effect”), Brecht’s attempt to write his plays so as to make the audience leave the theatre demoralized and aimlessly angry.

This is direct assault on the human spirit and for what? For what good purpose in terms of the human condition?

Ladies and gentlemen, if I used the word ‘sick’ earlier, this did not go far enough. Allow me now to use the words ‘banal evil’, for I feel they can be justified:

In 1924, Adorno moved to Vienna, to study with the atonalist composers Alban Berg and Arnold Schönberg, and became connected to the avant-garde and occult circle around the old Marxist Karl Kraus. Here, he not only met his future collaborator, Hans Eisler, but also came into contact with the theories of Freudian extremist Otto Gross.

Gross, a long-time cocaine addict, had died in a Berlin gutter in 1920, while on his way to help the revolution in Budapest; he had developed the theory that mental health could only be achieved through the revival of the ancient cult of Astarte, which would sweep away monotheism and the “bourgeois family.”

Ladies and gentlemen, there it is – the whole bloody thing has been political from its inception. We are not just up against communism or communitarianism or left-liberalism or PCism – we are up against unadulterated, banal evil, perpetrated by people very sick in the head.

And they are legion.

10 comments for “Brutalism

  1. John in cheshire
    August 5, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    James, I think you are correct and it’s still in play today; the current manifestation is the obsession with sexual deviancy of all types. They’ve tried to destroy us with their architecture, music, literature and other forms of education and entertainment, now they’ve moved onto the individual and an assault on his morality, innate decency and self worth. The battle against evil never ends but it must begin with the teaching of the younger and future generations that evil exists, how to recognise it and how to oppose it. But we stopped doing that decades ago.

  2. Mr Angry
    August 5, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    The National Theatre was a means of placing a nuclear power station in the heart of London without anyone noticing. Lasdun used what he termed “Strata” in creating a monumentally ugly building. Demolition of these monstrosities with the “architects” chained to them would be too good for them. After the IRA blew up the Arndale Centre in Manchester, there was talk of a whip round to get them to demolish the rest of it. Unfortunately, the IRA realised they could do so much more damage by leaving it alone.

  3. Mona
    August 5, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    By some strange coincidence right after reading the article by James, I flicked over and this came up, a article by Alex Ross in the “NEW YORKER” headed “The Frankfurter School” knew Trump was Coming,, giving opinions on Adorno and other emigres of the Frankfurt School,quite interesting

  4. August 5, 2017 at 9:50 pm

    Mr. Angry – pity.

    Mona – same package, yes.

  5. richard
    August 6, 2017 at 12:06 am

    Our council spent 60k on a huge iron oak tree for the middle of a roundabout.
    An acorn is free and the resulting tree would have been… quite nice.
    So obviously not an option.

    • August 6, 2017 at 7:01 am

      Acorns – oh no, Elf n Safety, like conkers.

  6. Hereward Unbowed.
    August 6, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    Yeah they erected all those wonderful buildings to house the working class and they became warrens for tearaway kids and a living nightmare for the in the main quietly well behaved residents, toilets yeah ok but choice of proscribed substances being sold on the stairwell was not most peoples idea of community employment.
    Plus not least, the clearances of reasonable housing in order to put up those monstrosities [tower blocks] in west London could only be described as ‘Brutalist’and mean minded destruction of a some admittedly gone to seed but shabbily comfortable housing in socially coherent neighbourhoods – could they not, those houses should have been renovated…….tory or lav, councils all at it. Where council planning departments are as arrogant as the social service Stasi, who are a law unto themselves and who act with free rein and with insouciant disregard to the wishes of those who provided their vastly inflated salaries. For fooks sake, town planning’ is only for those who weren’t capable, bright enough to study Architecture -and so we all suffer for their ineptitude and boy do they play on it as, tinpot Gods.


    Perfidy added to insult. Came the green agenda and turned penny pinching and wrapped ’em [high rise tenaments] in cheap plastic cladding to save “energy” – oh wow and turned some buildings into death traps and the modern brutalism was complete when bliar and his social engineering lunatics opened the floodgates to the rest of the world.

    So what we’ve got here is not only failure to communicate [discuss with the residents]…….. but brutalist failure all round and over populated death traps at that. Life is brutal and then it kicks you in the painful bits and that’s if you’re lucky and then you might get a council house…………….oh no wait, because councils are run by diversity quotas, bent councillors and their south Asian yuman rites lawyers – a council flat nope the buy to let landlords have gobbled them all up – and no one says boo to a goose about it.

    Next property companies and their ownership of land, flats, business rents in inner towns and cities and in cahoots with local councils – now thats a very, very unhealthy and incestuous relationship. Observe, see how in many major connurbations the little shops and market traders are being pushed, kicked, swallowed, priced out of city centres so that some more Brutalist steel and glass temples can be built for the worship of Mammon and backhanders and glad handshakes all round – “how’s that new Merc councillor?”

    Don’t get me started on ‘firing’ old and listed buildings so that these property barons can build new boxes for the flood of new arrivals from all points south, west, east and of Suez – that’s another major scam and the authorities just look the other way – that’s how these guys do it and arson is one of the tricks of the trade – no questions asked bay bee, hell it’s called ‘progressivism’ turned brutal.

    Brutalist, it’s more like daytime bu77ery. The whole rotten seething mass of ’em need reminding whose the boss. Finally the only way to do that [show them who is the boss] is to make them all redundant, by turning off the public money hose.

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