A tribute to and a lament for Marshall McLuhan.  Five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday, I present one of McLuhan’s observations and talk about its relevance today.  300 ideas. 300 days.  300 posts.

Do you like art?

Me (October, 2010, age 58).  You may want to think again.

In 1969 Marshall McLuhan met Jane Jacobs for lunch and persuaded her to make a movie with him to stop the building of the Spadina Expressway.  Take One sent an editor, Joe Medjuck, to interview McLuhan about the movie.  McLuhan, however, was brimming with ideas and Medjuck had to work hard to bring McLuhan back to the movie.  One of those ideas – not a new idea to McLuhan but one he often liked to return to –  is that new media contain old media and in containing them remake them into art forms.  Thus black and white movies on TV – Casablanca – become art.  But hold on to your hats as McLuhan runs with this idea in this interview turning it into a much darker and bleaker vision than you might think.  Art is what we make and is not necessarily a good thing.

Marshall McLuhan (1969, age 58)  What cities, movies, and radio have in common?

“I think television advertising is in very poor shape.  Exceedingly poor shape. … [Because it is film contained by TV.]  The same thing happens to the city as happens to TV and advertising.  You put an outer ring of a suburb around an old city and this automatically destroys the inner city, that’s all.  And if you put a new medium around an old one it automatically destroys the old one.  In the act of using the old one it destroys it.  But in destroying it, it turns it into an art form.  Movies are now an art form because they’ve been completely destroyed by TV.    Now this is simple fact.  TV destroyed radio and radio’s now an art form.”

Cordially, Marshall and Me


“Marshall McLuhan Makes a Movie.”[1969?]

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Michael Hinton Wednesday, October 27th, 2010
Permalink Culture, Technology, Vol. 1 No Comments

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