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.
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