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By Adorno Theodor W

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One case involved a group of male workers on an oil rig off the coast of Texas who touched, grabbed, and threatened to rape a gay male coworker. Another case involved the complaints of female lifeguards employed by the City of Boca Raton, Florida, whose male supervisors regularly grabbed them in sexual manner and demanded sex as a condition of keeping their jobs. The third case involved a supervisor at Burlington Industries who threatened an employee with negative consequences if she resisted his continual sexual behavior.

One day, they are doing what they do every day. The next day, they wake up into a nightmare. A coworker has done something very disturbing, and they don’t know what to do about it, or someone has accused them of engaging in sexually harassing behavior. Suddenly they are in trouble and trying to survive the situation. Questions that were never that important are now on the front burner: Is this sexual harassment? What can I do? Can anything be done? Is someone going to be fired? Am I going to be fired?

Everyone waits for the decision of the omnipotent god to know the outcome. In the sexual harassment scenario, the omnipotent god is the executive or the business owner, whoever makes the final decision on what will be done after someone sexually harasses someone else. The omnipotent god makes decisions based on factors that the other players don’t understand, and he or she tends to make all or nothing decisions. You either win with the omnipotent god or you lose. Losing with the omnipotent god means being exiled, killed, abandoned, or ruined.

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Culture Industry Reconsidered by Adorno Theodor W


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