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.

Learning

Whose hand is on the scalpel?

Marshall McLuhan (1964, age 52).  The involvement of TV.      

“In closed-circuit instruction in surgery, medical students from the first reported a strange effect – that they seemed not to be watching an operation but performing it.  They felt they were holding the scalpel.”

Me (June, 2011, age 58).  What does McLuhan infer from this?

Hold onto your scalpel: Because TV creates “a passion for depth involvement in every aspect of human experience”  it naturally “creates an obsession with bodily welfare.”  Ergo:  “the sudden emergence of the TV medico and the hospital ward as a program.”  A trend that continues today with House and Nurse Jackie, not to mention the scalpel-detective crossover shows CSI, NCIS et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.      

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading: 

Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media, 1964, p. 328.

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Michael Hinton Friday, June 10th, 2011
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The rich, the poor, and TV.

Marshall McLuhan (1970, age 59).  Watch out old world!    

“The TV child, rich or poor, shares the same new information world. The old hardware can’t match the riches of TV software imagery, whether at school or at the A&P.”

 

Me (March, 2011, age 58).  McLuhan’s critics found statements like this one infuriating.

McLuhan they said was confusing image with reality.  McLuhan was saying something very different.  A bit like, “how can you keep them down on the farm after they’ve seen Paris?”  TV he’s saying is a revolutionary force.   Having a TV in your living room is like inviting Che to have dinner with the family.  No telling what type of ideas they’re going to pick up. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vTXQks1QMg&feature=related 

 

 

 Cordially, Marshall and Me

 

Reading: 

Marshall McLuhan, Culture Is Our Business, 1970, p. 311.

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Michael Hinton Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011
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Kids need new kinds of teachers

Marshall McLuhan (March 3, 1959, age 47).  The electric age creates a demand for new teachers.

“As we extend our educational operation by television and videotape we shall find that the teacher is no longer the source of data but of insight.”

Me (February, 2011, age 58).  With Google the demand for the new teachers increases.

What is needed, says Marshall, are “more and more profound teachers.”  That is “Two or more teachers [in each class] in dialogue with each other.” But are we still trying to do things the old way?

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

Marshall McLuhan, “Electronic Revolution:  Revolutionary Effects of New Media,” address to American Association for Higher Education Conference, March 3, 1959, in Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Me: Lectures and Interviews, 2003, p. 10.

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Michael Hinton Wednesday, February 16th, 2011
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Where is advertising heading?

Marshall McLuhan (May 8, 1967, age 55).  “Quite simply …

The ad will become a substitute for the product, and all the satisfactions will be derived informationally from the ad, and the product will be merely a number in some file somewhere.”

Me (February, 2011, age 58).  And why not?

If as Mad Men teaches advertising is about happiness.

And happiness cannot be bought.  It can perhaps be learned.  And where better to learn than through ads?  For example, here is where you can learn the lesson that it is better to give than to receive.

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

Marshall McLuhan, “Predicting Communication via the Internet (1966),” interview with Robert Fulford, May 8, 1966, on CBC’s This Hour Has Seven Days in Understanding Me: Lectures and Interviews, 2003, p. 101.

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Michael Hinton Friday, February 4th, 2011
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Communication, Culture 1 Comment

Welcome to the classroom without walls.

Marshall McLuhan (March 3, 1959, age 47).  Have you turned on your teacher today?

“One effect of the commercial movement of information in many media is that today we live in classrooms without walls.”

Me (February, 2011, age 58).  Education is a snap.

You want answers?  Your wish is the medium’s command. . .

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

Marshall McLuhan, “Electronic Revolution:  Revolutionary Effects of New Media,” address to meeting of the American Association for Higher Education, March 3, 1959, in Understanding Me: Lectures and Interviews, 2003, p. 7.

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Michael Hinton Thursday, February 3rd, 2011
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So you think you’re creative?

Marshall McLuhan (August 24, 1964, age 53).  Education as we know it is obsolete.

Naturally we must experiment with alternatives to book-based, classroom instruction.  Here are a few of the questions – which I mentioned to a reporter for the Toronto Star – that I am wrestling with now which may well bring about a breakthrough:

  • How well could you learn economics in a rowboat in an alligator-infested swamp?
  • Or in a bamboo hut in a tropical forest?
  • Or in a triangular-shaped pink room in downtown Toronto?

Me (January, 2011, age 58).  Takes your breath away, doesn’t it?

How did he come up with such incredibly odd but brilliant ideas?  Here’s one answer:

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

David Thompson, “How to learn economics in a rowboat,” Toronto Daily Star, August 24, 1964.

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Michael Hinton Friday, January 28th, 2011
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How fast can you learn?

Marshall McLuhan (August 24, 1964, age 53).  How about a Ph. D. in six weeks?

“A person of good intelligence could acquire a doctorate level of awareness in aspects of various subjects in just six weeks.”

Me (January, 2011, age 58).  How so?

McLuhan explains that to do so you need engage in “intense discussion with top scholars in various fields.”  Stop memorizing things and don’t limit yourself to “written data.” Not a bad strategy.  Maybe you need to go to graduate school?  But then do you have what it takes?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXvv5sTqNa4

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

David Thompson, “How to learn economics in a row boat,” Toronto Daily Star, August 24, 1964.

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Michael Hinton Thursday, January 27th, 2011
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Education 1 Comment

Newspapers don’t make news.

Marshall McLuhan (1965, age 53).  You do.

“The only connecting factor in any newspaper is the dateline… . When you enter through the dateline, when you enter your newspaper, you begin to put together the news – you are producer.”

Me (January, 2011, age 58).  If so, it doesn’t matter that Sarah Palin couldn’t name a paper she’d read:

Their names are irrelevant.  If you don’t like the sense Sarah Palin makes of the stories that flash past her eyes don’t blame it on the newspapers she reads or doesn’t read.  It’s not what she reads but what she does with what she reads.

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

Marshall McLuhan, “Address at Vision 65,” in Essential McLuhan, 1995, p. 227.

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Michael Hinton Wednesday, January 26th, 2011
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Do kids read alone and silently for fun anymore?

Marshall McLuhan (1970, age 59).  The book took us to silence.

In the Middle Ages, as is well known, there was no such thing as silent reading.  It was only with the advent of the book that “silent, solitary reading” took hold.

Me (January, 2011, age 58).  The electric age has opened our ears.

If books and silent reading go hand in hand is it any wonder that today’s electronically-wired kids find silent reading a challenge?

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

Marshall McLuhan, Counterblast, 1970, p. 73.

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Michael Hinton Thursday, January 20th, 2011
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What is learning today?

Marshall McLuhan (1970, age 59).  Pattern recognition!

“Today, again, after a period of classified consumption, learning in a comprehensive world is becoming play, pattern recognition, discovery.”

Me (December, 2010, age 58.)  For example …

Something beautiful for this wintery eve [see especially comments at minute 2]:

Cordially,  Marshall and Me

Reading:

Marshall McLuhan, Culture is Our Business, 1970, p. 118.

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Michael Hinton Friday, December 24th, 2010
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