For those who listen to my Thoughts from a Useless Eater podcasts, you may recall that in #6 — “When the World Stopped Making Sense” — Part 2 I digress for an anecdote about an experience I had with an archaic psychological test called The F-Scale (the F stands for Fascism) as an employment screening test for a job I interviewed for, maybe 13 years ago. The test was created decades ago, to measure the subject’s susceptibility to buying into a fascist regime–which, as I discussed in the podcast, makes its use in an employment screening scenario odd indeed.
I also mentioned an entertaining Web site I had found back then on which someone had put up an interactive version of the F-Scale that you can actually take online, if you’re curious about how good you might have been at doing the goose-step in Nazi Germany. However, in the course of my effort to find the URL of that online test, to post it as a reference for listeners, I discovered something else that I hadn’t found back around 2000 when I was asked to take the F-Scale for job screening purposes: a Wikipedia article about said instrument, the full name of which is The California F-Scale (1947).
I found that Wikipedia article even more interesting in the context of the subject matter I deal with in my podcast and in this blog, because when I read it I saw a connection that had previously evaded me: the F-Scale was authored by none other than Theodor Adorno–which is ironic indeed because, as a member of The Frankfurt School, Adorno is associated with the “other end” of authoritarianism on the false left-right paradigm.
Among the many interesting things about Adorno is that, in certain circles of the fringe-media world, he has been alleged to have been involved with the transformation of The Beatles into a cultural psy-op tool–an allegation that, to the best of my current understanding, has not been well substantiated, as plausible as it seems given what I have learned elsewhere about The Frankfurt School.
Nevertheless, this connection with a highly questionable psychological assessment instrument is intriguing and worthy of further scrutiny. So don’t be surprised if sometime down the road you find some further posts or podcast segments here on the subjects of Adorno in particular and the strange world of psychological testing in general.
- Hear Theodor Adorno’s Avant-Garde Musical Compositions (openculture.com)
- The Frankfurt school, part 8: where do we go from here? | Peter Thompson (guardian.co.uk)
- How we test: Monitors (reviews.cnet.com)
- Adorno on Heidegger (leiterreports.typepad.com)