A tribute to and a lament for Marshall McLuhan continues. If he had lived Marshall would have been 100 on July 21, 2011. Join me in the countdown to his centennial, and an exploration of more of his observations on the way media work in the electric age in which we live.

Archive for February, 2011

The CEO in the electronic age

Marshall McLuhan (1970, age 59).  The higher you go the less of you there is.    

“As any executive climbs up the echelons of the organization chart, his involvement in the organization becomes less and less.  At the top he is a dropout … .”

 

Me (February, 2011, age 58).  Which would seem to present a problem.

But then, perhaps not, according to this expert:

 

Cordially, Marshall and Me

 

Reading: 

Marshall McLuhan, Culture Is Our Business, 1970, p. 30.

Tags:

Michael Hinton Saturday, February 26th, 2011
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Business, Management No Comments

Movies and anthropology

Marshall McLuhan (1970, age 59).  Did you know?

Natives do not experience visual space; i.e., space that is uniform, continuous and connected.  When given movie cameras to record their rituals and crafts, the results are quite upsetting to visually oriented anthropologists.”

Me (February, 2011, age 58).  Or perhaps they need training?

Here’s an examination of how things can work out with cameras and kids.  Kids McLuhan believed behaved with cameras in the same way as “natives” did – that is non-visually.

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

Marshall McLuhan, Culture Is Our Business, 1970, p. 150.

Tags: , ,

Michael Hinton Friday, February 25th, 2011
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Communication, Culture No Comments

The movies as child’s play

Marshall McLuhan (1970, age 59).  Have you ever noticed?    

“Children … use a movie camera as extensions of their hands, not their eyes.  The effect is utterly involving, like rear projection. …  Children love to make movies of processes:  A feather floating to the ground.  A man going into a phone booth to dial.”

 Me (February, 2011, age 58).  Let’s have a look.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycmoiNqtpc4

 Cordially, Marshall and Me

 

Reading: 

Marshall McLuhan, Culture Is Our Business, 1970, p. 150.

Tags:

Michael Hinton Thursday, February 24th, 2011
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Communication, Culture 1 Comment

Do you have a head for heights?

Marshall McLuhan (1970, age 59).  Depends on whether your ear or eye is dominant.    

“The Iroquois in high steel have no qualms since they don’t have the habit of visual perspective.  If you never think to look down, a twelve–inch girder high above the street is as secure as a sidewalk.”

 Me (February, 2011, age 58).  Don’t like that idea?

Never mind, McLuhan has others.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pa0SFtmS–c&feature=related

 

 

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading: 

Marshall McLuhan, Culture Is Our Business, 1970, p. 150.

Tags: , ,

Michael Hinton Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Communication, Culture 1 Comment

Sound trumps sight.

Marshall McLuhan (1970, age 59).  Whitehead’s observation.    

I ran across this observation of Whitehead’s in his admirable “Dialogues” some years ago and commend it to your attention:  “With the sense of sight, the idea communicates the emotion, whereas with sound, the emotion communicates the idea, which is more direct and therefore more powerful.“

 

Me (February, 2011, age 58).  Let’s explore this idea.

Which of these do you find more powerful?

 

This?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAUPt9SX2qk

 

Or this?  The same clip, but play it with the sound turned off

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAUPt9SX2qk

 

Cordially, Marshall and Me

 

Reading: 

Marshall McLuhan, Culture Is Our Business, 1970, p. 146.

Tags: ,

Michael Hinton Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Communication No Comments

TV demands casualness.

Marshall McLuhan (October 29, 1960, age 49).  It’s a cool medium.

“The forms of entertainment that work best on television, whether it’s Paddy Chayefsky or even the Parr Show, are ones which admit of a great deal of casualness, in which people can be introduced and dialogued with in the presence of the camera at all sorts of levels of their lives.”

Me (February, 2011, age 58).  Paddy Chayefsky in dialogue.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=woV72Ceag8M

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

Marshall McLuhan, “The Communications Revolution,” panel discussion at Third Annual Conference on the Humanities, Ohio State University Graduate School, October 29, 1960, in Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Me: Lectures and Interviews, 2003, p. 41.

Tags: , ,

Michael Hinton Saturday, February 19th, 2011
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Business, Communication, Technology 1 Comment

TV will not take a hot character.

Marshall McLuhan (October 29, 1960, age 49).  It’s a cool medium.    

“If the person who comes in front of the TV camera is already a very complete and classifiable type of person – a politician, a highly obvious doctor type, lawyer type – the medium rejects him because there’s nothing left for the audience to view or to complete, and they say this guy’s a phony.  There’s something wrong with this guy.”

Me (February, 2011, age 58).  Will the real Obama please stand up.

Hot?

Cool?

 Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading: 

Marshall McLuhan, “The Communications Revolution,” panel discussion at Third Annual Conference on the Humanities, Ohio State University Graduate School, October 29, 1960, in Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Me: Lectures and Interviews, 2003, p. 40.

Tags: ,

Michael Hinton Friday, February 18th, 2011
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Communication No Comments

Fiction is dead!

Marshall McLuhan (October 29, 1960, age 49).  TV did it.

“The medium of television …, incidentally has had a strange effect on the young of driving them to the libraries to ask for fact books.  The librarians report there is a tremendous new taste in the young for fact books, not fiction.  Well, I mean I was thinking of the fact book as something you have to dig.  You don’t read it in a line, just a story level on a simple plane. You have to dig a fact book.  And the youngsters to day dig their reading.  They read in depth.”

Me (February, 2011, age 58).  Do you dig fact books?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_mCoCuMWWM

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

Marshall McLuhan, “The Communications Revolution,” panel discussion at 3rd Annual Conference on the Humanities, Ohio State University Graduate School, October 29, 1960, in Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Me: Lectures and Interviews, 2003, p. 36.

Tags: , ,

Michael Hinton Thursday, February 17th, 2011
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Communication, Culture 1 Comment

Kids need new kinds of teachers

Marshall McLuhan (March 3, 1959, age 47).  The electric age creates a demand for new teachers.

“As we extend our educational operation by television and videotape we shall find that the teacher is no longer the source of data but of insight.”

Me (February, 2011, age 58).  With Google the demand for the new teachers increases.

What is needed, says Marshall, are “more and more profound teachers.”  That is “Two or more teachers [in each class] in dialogue with each other.” But are we still trying to do things the old way?

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

Marshall McLuhan, “Electronic Revolution:  Revolutionary Effects of New Media,” address to American Association for Higher Education Conference, March 3, 1959, in Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Me: Lectures and Interviews, 2003, p. 10.

Tags: , ,

Michael Hinton Wednesday, February 16th, 2011
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Education, Uncategorized No Comments

Why is the news so hard to understand?

Marshall McLuhan (March 3, 1959, age 47). The news is coming at high speed.

“When the news moves slowly, the [news]paper has time to provide perspectives, background, and interrelations for the news, and the reader is given a consumer package.  When the news comes at high speed, there is no possibility of such literary processing and the reader is given a do-it-yourself kit.”

Me (February, 2011, age 58).  Are you surprised?

Perhaps, as Marshall suggests, you don’t understand because you need to find new ways to understand.

Pattern recognition for example.  At any rate, is it a surprise you don’t when you keep expecting the consumer package and what your given is a do-it-yourself kit?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uDaj4EU70A&feature=related  

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

Marshall McLuhan, “Electronic Revolution:  Revolutionary Effects of New Media,” address to American Association for Higher Education Conference, March 3, 1959, in Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Me: Lectures and Interviews, 2003, p. 8.

Tags: , , , ,

Michael Hinton Tuesday, February 15th, 2011
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Communication 1 Comment