The idea of a “culture industry”—originally an oxymoron coined in 1947 to sum up the danger facing art (for how could personal culture be churned out on an industrial model?)—is used unironically by [Louis] Menand to name the vastly scaled-up production and consumption of all artistic experience. “The culture industries, as they expanded, absorbed and commercialized independent and offbeat culture-makers, and the university, as it expanded, swallowed up the worlds of creative writing and dissident political opinion.” With his eye on this process, we miss out on artists and thinkers who dug deep and stayed home, who produced as hermits or eccentrics or introverted students of their art. And I wondered about rival art forms and streams, such as jazz from 1945 to 1970. Bop, post-bop, and free jazz evolved an American art music that was the real successor to Debussy, Schoenberg, and Bartók (never mind John Cage). It gained in artistic complexity and superiority even as it decreased in market share.

Mark Greif, “The Opportunists”