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 (June 2, 1960, age 48).Â Thereâ€™s no such thing as bad advertizing?
I still canâ€™t get Robert Fulford off my mind after what he sad about me in Maclean’s.Â Me, infuriating and arrogant?Â Surely he ought to be jesting.Â But is he?Â I think not.Â He thinks so I imagine because he thinks I have something to gain about my argument that electronic media is remaking us in the image of tribal man.Â I do not.Â I have no particular point of view.Â I do not label the changes taking place in our world as good or bad.Â I am an observer.Â My task is not to like or dislike what is happening; it is to explain it.
Me (December 2009, age 57). Â Still more critiquing of the critics
Why does McLuhan infuriate his critics so?Â Lewis Lapham, in his introduction to the 1994, MIT Press edition of Understanding Media makes the point that McLuhanâ€™s style of writing infuriated people because it is like the world as McLuhan saw it in the electric age â€“ â€śnonlineal, repetitive, discontinuous, intuitive, proceeding by analogy instead of sequential order.â€ť
Lapham proceeds this observation with the claim that, â€śDespite its title, the book was never easy to understand.Â By turns [it is] brilliant and opaque.â€ťÂ And so we meet once more the common complaint â€śbrilliantâ€ť and bad.Â But what precisely does Lapham find â€śopaqueâ€ť or bad about Understanding Media?
(To be continued)
Is there anything in Understanding Media that you find â€śopaque?â€ťÂ Tell me what it is and why it is opaque.
Cordially, Marshall and Me
Reading for this post
Letters of Marshall McLuhan, 1987, p. 300.