Harry Potter & the Commodity Fetishism
There are few things in this world that manage to seep into every crevice our lives as humans; the air we breathe, the people we interact with, and in our contemporary culture, the buying and selling of commodities. The masses have adopted a “give the people what they want” attitude that results in the commodification of everything thinkable. “Even as a negation of that social purposiveness which is spreading through the market, [art’s] freedom remains essentially bound up with the premise of a commodity economy” (Adorno & Horkheimer 1238). There may have been a time when art was an escape from the domination of commerce, when people created things motivated by passion and emotion rather than by the prospect of dollar signs; no longer does that time exist. In film, the studio system has become a monopoly, and the structure of films, a formula. Though some would argue that there are a myriad of genres that give variety to the industry, Adorno and Horkheimer would counter that a menu is still not a choice, and that the monopolization of the film industry takes away from a world of choices and freedoms. The industry has morphed into a total administration of art, undoubtedly integrating our pleasure in the theater with the machinery of global media firms. A textbook example is the franchise of the Harry Potter films, which more than most any series of films, proliferates the sins of hyper commercialism.
A commodity is defined as something that has use value, or utility, by satisfying a particular need or desire, created to be exchanged for a profit. It must have some sort of utility, or it will not be desired by a prospective buyer. “So far as it is a value in use, there is nothing mysterious about it, whether we consider it from the point of view that by its properties it is capable of satisfying human wants, or from the point that those properties are the...