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.

The McLuhan method.

Marshall McLuhan (Spring 1971, age 59). At work in the Coach House

Come in, come in.  Watch your step.  No it’s no bother.  Glad you came.  Mrs. Stewart, let’s continue this dictation later.  Now let me explain what I’m doing.  It may not look like it, but I’m writing a book.   You see these piles of books each with a file folder on top?  That’s how you write a book.  Get yourself some file folders, fill them with clippings and quotations, and then comment on them.  Commenting, by the way, is easier if you have a secretary to comment to.

Me (June 2010, age 57).  Order out of chaos

Dictation probably worked well for McLuhan because he liked to talk ideas out.  I don’t.  I prefer to write ideas out.  The file folder method, however, is very similar the one I have chosen as the method for this blog.  Each blog begins with a book by or about McLuhan in which I mark passages and a sheet of paper on which I place other references, clippings and quotations, which I then comment on.  How’s it going?  As the man who jumped off the Empire State building, said as he hurtled past the 40th floor, “so far so good.”

What’s your method of workDid you choose it or did it choose you?

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading for this post

Who Was Marshall McLuhan, edited by Barrington Nevitt with Maurice McLuhan, 1995, pp. 141.

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Michael Hinton Saturday, June 19th, 2010
Permalink 1970s and 80s, Communication, Vol. 1 1 Comment

1 Comment to The McLuhan method.

  • “a chaotic combination of bland assertion, astute guesswork, fake analogy, dazzling insight, hopeless nonsense, shockmanship, wisecracks, and oracular mystification, all mingling cockily and indiscriminately in an endless, random, and radiating mosaic …”

    “I have more fun writing in books than I do writing books.”

    “Joyce’s Finnegans Wake is the greatest guidebook to media study ever fashioned by man”
    [McLuhan, Newsweek, page 56, Feb.28, 1966]

    “Most of my writing is Menippean satire, presenting the actual surface of the world we live in as a ludicrous image.”

    ” So long as I am violently disapproved of, “I am on the right course.” ”

    “playfully trangressive, subversive and complexly disingenuous …”

    “I have no theories whatever about anything. I make observations by way of discovering contours, lines of force and pressures. I satirize at all times…”

    “prose poet manque : his primary game” – Theall

    “I don’t know what is inside (the vault); maybe it’s nothing. I just sit and start to work. I grope, I listen, I test, I accept and discard; I try out different sequences – until the tumblers fall and the door springs open.”

    “My approach to media is metaphysical rather than sociological or dialectical … I get such great joy from contemplating the forms of culture … the language of forms is a source of perpetual joy and discovery that is quite inexhaustible … I am a metaphysician, interested in the life of the forms and their surprising modalities.”

    “My approach to the media is never from a point of view but is in fact a ‘swarming’ “…

    “My canvasses are surrealist, and to call them “theories” is to miss my satirical intent altogether.”

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