Read this first:
Nevertheless, this caricature of style does not amount to something beyond the genuine style of the past. In the culture industry the notion of genuine style is seen to be the aesthetic equivalent of domination. Style considered as a mere aesthetic regularity is a romantic dream of past... The great artists were never those who embodied a wholly flawless and perfect style, but those who used style as a way of hardening themselves against the chaotic expression of suffering, as a negative truth. The style of their works gave what was expressed that force without which life flows away unheard. Those very art forms which are known as classical, such as Mozart's music, contain objective trends which represent something different to the style which they incarnate. As late as Schoenberg and Picasso, the great artists have retained a mistrust of style, and at crucial points have subordinated it in that manner... Style represents a promise in every work of art. That which is expressed is subsumed though style into the dominant forms of generality, into the language of music, painting, or words, in the hope that it will be reconciled thus with the idea of true generality... That factor in a work of art which enables it to transcend reality certainly cannot be detached from style; but it does not consist of the harmony actually realized, of any doubtful unity of form and content, within and without, of individual and society; it is to be found in those features in which discrepancy appears: in the necessary failure of the passionate striving for identity. Instead of exposing itself to this failure in which the style of the great work of art has always achieved self negation, the inferior work has always relied on its similarity with others – on a surrogate identity.
In the culture industry this imitation finally becomes absolute. Having ceased to be anything but style, it reveals the latter's secret: obedience to social hierarchy.
From “The Culture Industry as Mass Deception”, by Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno (1944).
My question is this: how does this apply to skiing today? I want you to really think about it. There are some important ideas in this excerpt that can help the skiing community (ie. us at NS) ensure that skiing has a positive future. Maybe it will help put the “free” back in freeskiing.