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.

Is American humour the monopoly of uneducated rubes and yokels?

Me (October, 2010, age 58).  The argumentative Dr. McLuhan .

Marshall McLuhan never backed away from an argument.  In fact he seemed to be happiest when he was courting an argument by uttering an inflammatory opinion.  Here he takes on the world of American speech, locating and characterizing it in less than flattering terms.  While exceptions to his rule come to mind McLuhan seems to have managed to stake out a high ground of sorts.  You of course must decide for yourself whether he’s right.  Are uneducated rubes and yokels the masters of American humor and slang?  Certainly, one could not be so assured about the rule of British slang and humor by British semi literates.

Consider this evidence found on you tube:

British:

American: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtsRa45-_1A

Marshall McLuhan (1964, age 52).  Quite naturally …

“Permeation of the colloquial language with literate uniform qualities has flattened out educated speech till it is a very reasonable acoustic facsimile of the uniform and continuous visual effects of topography.  From this technological effect follows the further fact that the humor, slang, and dramatic vigor of American-English speech are monopolies of the semi literate.”

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading

Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media, 1964, p. 178.

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Michael Hinton Tuesday, October 19th, 2010
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Communication, Culture, Vol. 1 No Comments

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