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 this the apocalypse?

Marshall McLuhan (June 30, 1960, age 48). We have opened a door to a new world.

I have the uncomfortable feeling that I’m the only one who senses that something dramatic and unprecedented has happened.  As I wrote in my Report on Understanding New Media, which was commissioned by the National Association of Educational Broadcasters, “We are in great danger at the present of sacrificing the whole of our western culture with its unconscious bias based on alphabet and printing.”

Corinne said if I get this wrong I’ll come off like the boy who cried wolf.  Perhaps, but I’m no boy and this is no ordinary wolf.  When so much is at stake how can I remain silent.

Me (July, 2010, age 57).  We are still waiting for the future to arrive.

An unnamed reviewer (L.H.) acting for the National Association of Educational broadcasters advised the group that they should exercise “caution in interpreting and generalizing … [the] results [of McLuhan’s report.”  Caution is still being exercised.  Nicholas Carr may be convinced that “Google is making us stupid,” but it is doubtful if anyone is losing any sleep over the subversion of our culture by electric media that McLuhan said was taking place some fifty years ago.  Perhaps, at long last, we should be.

As I have said before the death of western culture appears to be a very long and circuitous process.  Are you worried? Should we remain silent?

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading for this post

Marshall McLuhan.  Report on Understanding New Media. 30 June 1960, preface p. 8.

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Michael Hinton Tuesday, July 13th, 2010
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Communication, Culture, Technology, Vol. 1 No Comments

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