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.

Movies

The power of the media

Marshall McLuhan (1970, age 59).  The medium is the message.

“The media tycoons have a huge stake in old media by which they monopolize the new media.”

Me (March, 2011, age 58).  For example?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVV6kxoDuqk

Cordially, Marshall and Me

 

Reading:

Marshall McLuhan, Culture Is Our Business, 1970, p. 104.

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Michael Hinton Wednesday, March 9th, 2011
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Movies and anthropology

Marshall McLuhan (1970, age 59).  Did you know?

Natives do not experience visual space; i.e., space that is uniform, continuous and connected.  When given movie cameras to record their rituals and crafts, the results are quite upsetting to visually oriented anthropologists.”

Me (February, 2011, age 58).  Or perhaps they need training?

Here’s an examination of how things can work out with cameras and kids.  Kids McLuhan believed behaved with cameras in the same way as “natives” did – that is non-visually.

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

Marshall McLuhan, Culture Is Our Business, 1970, p. 150.

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Michael Hinton Friday, February 25th, 2011
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The movies as child’s play

Marshall McLuhan (1970, age 59).  Have you ever noticed?    

“Children … use a movie camera as extensions of their hands, not their eyes.  The effect is utterly involving, like rear projection. …  Children love to make movies of processes:  A feather floating to the ground.  A man going into a phone booth to dial.”

 Me (February, 2011, age 58).  Let’s have a look.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycmoiNqtpc4

 Cordially, Marshall and Me

 

Reading: 

Marshall McLuhan, Culture Is Our Business, 1970, p. 150.

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Michael Hinton Thursday, February 24th, 2011
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TV demands casualness.

Marshall McLuhan (October 29, 1960, age 49).  It’s a cool medium.

“The forms of entertainment that work best on television, whether it’s Paddy Chayefsky or even the Parr Show, are ones which admit of a great deal of casualness, in which people can be introduced and dialogued with in the presence of the camera at all sorts of levels of their lives.”

Me (February, 2011, age 58).  Paddy Chayefsky in dialogue.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=woV72Ceag8M

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

Marshall McLuhan, “The Communications Revolution,” panel discussion at Third Annual Conference on the Humanities, Ohio State University Graduate School, October 29, 1960, in Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Me: Lectures and Interviews, 2003, p. 41.

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Michael Hinton Saturday, February 19th, 2011
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What are you watching?

Marshall McLuhan (1966, age 55).  The old medium.

A new medium creates an environment that most of us cannot see.  For example TV is for the most part invisible.  As a result you don’t watch TV you watch the old media it contains.  In an essay I wrote in 1966 I put it this way:  “What we see on the late show is not TV, but old movies.”

Me (January, 2011, age 58).  To watch TV then you need to watch YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Q7QFOhuPaU&feature=related

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

Marshall McLuhan, “The Relation of environment to Anti-Environment,” (1966), reprinted in Marshall McLuhan Unbound, Ginko Press, 2005, p.18.

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Michael Hinton Tuesday, January 25th, 2011
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It took a while, but the future is here.

Marshall McLuhan (1964, age 52).  A prophecy.

“Shortly it [film] will under TV pressure, go into its portable, accessible … phase.  Soon everyone will be able to have a small, inexpensive film projector that plays an 8-mm sound cartridge as if on a TV screen.”

Me (January, 2011, age 58).  And few will realize things have changed.

Except, of course, for artists.  And some of them will not be happy about the change.  For example, David Lynch:

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media, 1964, p. 291-92.

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Michael Hinton Tuesday, January 18th, 2011
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Had your dose of nostalgia yet?

Marshall McLuhan (1951, age 40). The faster we go the more we look back.

Societies like ours are profoundly nostalgic.  Things change so rapidly “a twenty-five-year-old can get wistful about reminiscences of ten years ago.  In such a world the lasting qualities of horse opera with the fringe on top have great appeal.”

Me (January, 2011, age 58).  Not surprisingly, the western is back.

After a period of neglect in the popular imagination the western appears to be back.  True Grit is doing extremely well at the box office.  A change Marshall would not have been surprised to see, nor the continuing popularity of the remake.

  • The remake’s trailer
  • The original’s trailer

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

Marshall McLuhan, The Mechanical Bride, 1951, p. 156.

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Michael Hinton Tuesday, January 11th, 2011
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The big switch.

Marshall McLuhan (1964, age 52).  Of course …

“[T]he movie has excelled as a medium that offers poor people roles of riches and power beyond the dreams of avarice.”

Me (November, 2010, age 58). Ah one can dream …

 

Cordially, Marshall and Me

 

Reading

Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media, 1964, p. 291.

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Michael Hinton Wednesday, November 10th, 2010
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Movies will conquer the world for Uncle Sam.

Me (November, 2010, age 58). Hollywood and globalization.

It seems obvious that Hollywood is a great training ground for globalization.  To see what the western world is all about all you have to do is buy a ticket to a Hollywood film.  If so then the battle for and against globalization will be won on the media battlefield.  For globalization to triumph Hollywood movies must beat TV and the internet.  But then maybe he’s wrong or perhaps the movie has moved on.

 

Marshall McLuhan (1964, age 52). Of course …

“the film medium … [is a] monster ad for consumer goods.”

 

“The movie, as much as the alphabet and the printed word, is an aggressive and imperial form that explodes outward into other cultures.”

 

Cordially, Marshall and Me

 

Reading

Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media, 1964, p. 294-295.

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Michael Hinton Saturday, November 6th, 2010
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Seeing our present as future.

Me (October, 2010, age 58).  Another one for McLuhan.

The critics of Marshall McLuhan said he was a charlatan speaking gibberish.  Yet here he is in 1964, sounding remarkably sane to modern ears, predicting a now ubiquitous small, hand-held electronic device – cell phone, blackberry, i-phone – on which you can play a movie.  Granted he doesn’t see it as digital but 20/20 future sight is asking a lot.  Lesson – if you’re going to predict the future be ready for criticism if you get it right.

Marshall McLuhan (1964, age 52).  Clearly …

“At the present time, film is still in its manuscript phase, as it were; shortly it will, under TV pressure, go into its portable, accessible, printed-book phase.  Soon everyone will be able to have a small, inexpensive film projector that plays an 8-mm sound cartridge as if on a TV screen.  This development is part of our present technological implosion.”

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading

Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media, 1964, pp. 291-292.

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Michael Hinton Saturday, October 30th, 2010
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