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 June, 2011

The rational and the visual

Marshall McLuhan (June, 1967, age 55).  Thinking is leap frogging

“Connected sequential discourse, which is thought of as rational, is really visual. It has nothing to do with reason as such. Reasoning does not occur on single planes or in a continuous connected fashion. The mind leapfrogs. It puts things together in all sorts of proportions and ratios instantly.”

Me (June, 2011, age 58). Like this:

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

McLuhan: Hot & Cool, edited by Gerald Emanuel Stearn, New York, 1967, p. 264.

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Michael Hinton Thursday, June 30th, 2011
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Culture No Comments

How important are social media?

Marshall McLuhan (June, 1967, age 55) Ask, “Who is affected?”

“I find media analysis very much more exciting now [than literary work] because it affects so many more people. One measure of the importance of anything is: Who is affected by it? In our time, we have devised ways of making the most trivial event affect everybody.”

Me (June, 2011, age 58) Can there be any doubt now about the power of social media?

The proof can be summarized in a single word: Vancouver.

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

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

McLuhan: Hot & Cool, edited by Gerald Emanuel Stearn, New York, 1967, p. 261

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Michael Hinton Wednesday, June 29th, 2011
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Communication, Culture No Comments

For whom does the bell ring?

Marshall McLuhan (1960, age 49) For your information some questions

“Is the telephone extremely demanding of individual attention? Is it abrupt, intrusive, and indifferent to human concerns?”

Me (June 2011, age 58) Well?

These are just two of the questions in Marshall McLuhan’s 1960 “Report on Project in Understanding New Media” which was intended as a high school textbook on media studies and wound up being the first draft of his 1964 best seller Understanding Media. It is probable the book would have flopped as a high school textbook, but the questions have much to teach anyone who is willing to tussle with them. For example these two beg the answers, yes and yes. Knowing this will you always be so eager to call knowing what effect you’re having?

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

McLuhan:Hot and Cool, edited by Gerald Emanuel Stearn. New York, 1967, p. 157

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Michael Hinton Tuesday, June 28th, 2011
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Communication 1 Comment

The strange new world of management

Marshall McLuhan (1972, age 60)  Welcome to the unknown.

“With the acceleration of change, management now takes on entirely new functions.  While navigating admidst the unknown is becoming the normal role of the executive, the new need is not merely to navigate but to anticipate effects with their causes.”

Me (June, 2011, age 58)  Meaning?

You can not escape the future, sidestep it or go around it.  To succeed in it you must be part of it; you must make it happen.  Exhilarating isn’t it?

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

Mark Federman and Derrick De Kerckhove, McLuhan for managers: new tools for new thinking, 2003, p. xiii.

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Michael Hinton Saturday, June 25th, 2011
Permalink 1970s and 80s, Business, Management No Comments

Is advertising dead?

Marshall McLuhan (1964, age 52) Clearly …

“When all production and all consumption are brought into a preestablished harmony with all desire and all effort, then advertising will have liquidated itself by its own success.”

Me (June, 2011, age 58)  Seems like we’re stuck with ads

The realization of such a harmony seems unlikely under our present market-based economy.  The question then for all marketers is not whether advertising is dead but where it will live.

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

Forward through the Rearview Mirror:  Reflections On and By Marshall McLuhan, edited by Paul Benedetti and Nancy DeHart, 1996, p. 163.

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Michael Hinton Friday, June 24th, 2011
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Why people read ads.

Marshall McLuhan (May 8, 1966, age 54)  To feel reassured.

“Do you know that most people read ads about things they already own?  They don’t read things to buy them but to feel reassured that they have already bought the right thing.”

Me (June, 2011, age 58) Which raises another question

The good of ads then is they convince people not to return things they’ve just bought.  Which raises the question, “What do people read or watch initially that persuades them to take a chance on something?”

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

Forward Through the Rearview Mirror: Reflections On and by Marshall McLuhan, edited by Paul Benedetti and Nancy DeHart, 1996, p. 162.

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Michael Hinton Thursday, June 23rd, 2011
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Communication No Comments

The future of advertising

Marshall McLuhan (May 8, 1966, age 54)  Obviously …

“Where advertising is heading is quite simply into a world where the ad will become a substitute for the product and all the satisfaction will be derived informationally from the ad and the product will be merely a number in some file somewhere.”

Me (June, 2011, age 58)  Think of it!

Tobacco without the cancer and alcohol without the hang over.  And why not?  Who hasn’t at least once in their life gone to the movies and wound up fighting a duel and emerging unscathed.  Why not imaginative consumption of more pedestrian experiences.  Meanwhile, until Madison Avenue catches up …

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3F_CCt5o00E&feature=related

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

Forward Through the Rearview Mirror: Reflections On and By Marshall McLuhan, edited by Paul Benedetti and Nancy DeHart, 1996, p.162.

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Michael Hinton Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Business, Communication No Comments

Where do you live?

Marshall McLuhan (1970, age 58).  Most people prefer the past.         

“There are very many reasons why most people prefer to live in the age just behind them.  It’s safer.  To live right on the shooting line, right on the frontier of change, is terrifying.”

Me (June, 2011, age 58).  The man of the “absolute present.”

According to Derrick de Kerckhove, who knew McLuhan in the 1970s and is a long-time student of media, “[Marshall McLuhan] lived in what I call the absolute present.  Absolutely there.  Entirely in the moment.  In a way that I can’t even imitate.  Artists are like that.  Great artists are; they have this quality of just being there.”  Which perhaps is the same quality that is required for great comedy:

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading: 

Forward Through the Rearview Mirror:  Reflections on and By Marshall McLuhan, edited by Paul Benedetti and Nancy DeHart, 1996, p. 137.

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Michael Hinton Tuesday, June 21st, 2011
Permalink 1970s and 80s, Culture 1 Comment

What good are ads?

Marshall McLuhan (1964, age 52).  You need to ask?         

“The historians and archeologists will one day discover that the ads of our time are the richest and most faithful daily reflections that any society ever made of its entire range of activities.”

Me (June, 2011, age 58).  In other words …

They hold the key to understanding us in our real and our imagined worlds.  If we could just break the code in which they are written:

 

 

 

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading: 

Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media, 1964, p. 232.

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Michael Hinton Saturday, June 18th, 2011
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Culture No Comments

Ads are naturally dramatic.

Marshall McLuhan (1964, age 52).  Isn’t it obvious?      

“Since highly skilled and perceptive teams of talent cooperate in the making of an ad for any established line of goods whatever , it is obvious that any acceptable ad is a vigorous dramatization of communal experience.”

Me (June, 2011, age 58).  Or, at least …

Lively musical theater:

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading: 

Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media, 1964, p. 228.

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Michael Hinton Friday, June 17th, 2011
Permalink 1950s and 60s 1 Comment