quote from Mrs Deane nothing is too amazing to be true
I further maintain that an appreciable part of the so-called left-wing literature had no other social function than that of continually extracting new effects or sensations from this situations for the public’s entertainment. Which brings me to the New Objectivity. It launched the fashion for reportage. Let us ask ourselves whose interests were advanced by this technique.
For greater clarity let me concentrate on photographic reportage. Whatever applies to it is transferable to the literary form. Both owe their extraordinary development to publication techniques — radio and the illustrated press. […] What do we see? It has become more and more subtle, more and more modern, and the result is that it is now incapable of photographing a tenement or a rubbish-heap without transfiguring it. Not to mention a river dam or an electric cable factory: in front of these, photography can now only say, ‘How beautiful.’ [italics added] The World is beautiful — that is the well-known picture book by Renger-Patzsch in which we see New Objectivity photography at its peak.
Here we have an extreme example of what it means to supply a production aparatus without changing it. […] photographers proceed in order to make human misery an object of consumption. Turning to the New Objectivity as a literary movement, I must go a step further and say that is has turned the struggle against misery into an object of consumption . In many cases, indeed, its political significance has been limited to converting revolutionary reflexes, in so far as these occured within the bourgeoisie, into themes of entertainment and amusement which can be fitted without much difficulty into the cabaret life of a large city. The characteristic of this literature [and this photography, we may add] is the way it transforms a political struggle so that it ceases to be a compelling motive for decision and becomes an article of comfortable contemplation; it ceases to be a means of production and becomes an article of consumption [italics added].