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 July, 2011
The question that anyone coming to this blog is bound to ask is: What’s so fascinating about Marshall McLuhan?¬† Why are his ideas still worth thinking about today, so long after his two big books – The Gutenberg Galaxy and Understanding Media – came out in the 1960s ?¬†¬†For me the hook isn’t the big statements that admittedly still resonate in our digital age “the medium is the message’ or “the global village,” or “pattern recognition;”¬† it’s the¬†small, seemingly inconsequential observations he¬†came out with that force you to think freshly about the world.¬† A case in point, in the interview I posted yesterday Marshall McLuhan asserts that children pay close attention to ads on TV because the’re better made than the shows.¬† Stunningly fascinating.¬† Here for example is one of those ads children were watching in the 1960s.
And if they’re paying close attention to it, you’ve got to ask yourself, “What are they learning from it?”¬† And “Who aren’t they paying attention to and learning from?”¬† In other words, what you learn most from McLuhan is what he pushes you to teach yourself.
Cordially, Marshall and me
As the end of this blog and McLuhan’s 100th birthday on July 21 draws near I should try to sum things up, to make clear what it is¬†I have been trying to do, and where¬† I think I have succeeded and where I have not.¬† But as the mosquito said on entering the nudist colony –¬†a joke Marshall McLuhan liked to tell – “I don’t know where to begin.”¬† So let me begin on the beginning of the end with something that may or may not be appropriate, an interview¬†of McLuhan on¬†Australian¬†television recorded¬†on June 19,¬†1977 when Mcluhan was 66.¬†¬†Here he is shifting from idea to idea, throwing out an idea and then moving on much as this bog has done. And as¬†I am now doing.¬†
Tomorrow I will pick up where I have left off.
Cordially, Marshall and me¬†¬†¬†
Marshall McLuhan (June, 1967, age 55). Another breakthrough!
In the editing and publishing of our journal, Explorations, Ted Carpenter and I made a remarkable discovery.¬† Namely, “that readers like a journal that appears on an irregular basis.¬† Most readers of most journals are very unhappy about their regular appearance.”
Me (July, 2011, age 58).
Bowing to the undoubted desire of most readers of this blog for more irregularity in appearance, I will post again on Wednesday, July 6.¬† Then again¬†I may not.¬† Until then I recommend that you take a peek in¬†the archives.¬† What’s old can be new.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0YOlU3SMgs&feature=related
Cordially, Marshall and Me
McLuhan: Hot & Cool, edited by Gerald Emanuel Stearn. New York, 1967, pp. 263-64.