A tribute to and a lament for Marshall McLuhan.Â Five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday,Â I present one of McLuhanâ€™s observations and talk about its relevance today.Â 300 ideas. 300 days.Â 300 posts.
Marshall McLuhan (1977, age 66). Â Try this experiment
Advertising (as figure) has much to instruct us about culture (as ground).Â This is something you can explore in a plug and play fashion by looking at advertisements.Â List as many different products as you can that are frequently advertised.Â What picture does this list form of our culture?
Me (May 2010, age 57).Â Â Letâ€™s try it?
(This is another one of Marshall McLuhanâ€™s exercises, which you can find in his book City as Classroom.)Â Letâ€™s try a variation on this experiment by looking at the products advertised in a recent issue of the New Yorker.Â Here is a list of all of the products that appear in the ads that appear in the opening pages (inside cover to The Talk of the Town section) of the May 10, 2010 issue.
Vanguard investment fund
AT&T cell phone service
Novel by Isabel Allende
Novel by Marilynne Robinson
New Yorker cartoon collection (The Graduation Collection)
Tiffany & Co. jewelry
Oil and natural gas exploration
New Yorker cartoon bank
New Yorker T shirts
New Yorker cover prints
Chamber music concert at Lincoln center
Vintage golf photos
The magazine industry
U.S. Trust asset management
Whatâ€™s your take on the culture described by these products?Â Â How does this culture fit with your picture of the â€˜realâ€™ US culture?
Cordially, Marshall and Me
Reading for this post
Marshall McLuhan, Kathryn Hutchon, and Eric McLuhan, City as Classroom:Â Understanding Language and Media , 1977,Â Â pp. 7.