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.

Still more on the critics!

Marshall McLuhan (June 2, 1960, age 48).  There’s no such thing as bad advertizing?

I still can’t get Robert Fulford off my mind after what he sad about me in Maclean’s.  Me, infuriating and arrogant?  Surely he ought to be jesting.  But is he?  I think not.  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.  I do not.  I have no particular point of view.  I do not label the changes taking place in our world as good or bad.  I am an observer.  My task is not to like or dislike what is happening; it is to explain it.

Me (December 2009, age 57).  Still more critiquing of the critics

Why does McLuhan infuriate his critics so?  Lewis Lapham, in his introduction to the 1994, MIT Press edition of Understanding Media makes the point that McLuhan’s style of writing infuriated people because it is like the world as McLuhan saw it in the electric age – “nonlineal, repetitive, discontinuous, intuitive, proceeding by analogy instead of sequential order.”

Lapham proceeds this observation with the claim that, “Despite its title, the book was never easy to understand.  By turns [it is] brilliant and opaque.”  And so we meet once more the common complaint “brilliant” and bad.  But what precisely does Lapham find “opaque” or bad about Understanding Media?

(To be continued)

Is there anything in Understanding Media that you find “opaque?”  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.

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Michael Hinton Thursday, December 24th, 2009
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Communication, Technology, Vol. 1 No Comments

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