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 (April 29, 2010, age 98).Â â€śCorinne, come and look at this!â€ť
â€śWhat is it, now, Marshall?â€ť
â€śThe PowerPoint slide from a military presentation in Afghanistan everyoneâ€™s talking about.â€ť
â€śWhat in Heavenâ€™s a PowerPoint slide?â€ť
â€śOne in a sequence of overheated overhead slides.Â This oneâ€™s a doozy.â€ť
â€śLooks to me like a plate of spaghetti.â€ť
â€śForget the spaghetti.Â Consider the medium.Â PowerPoint is an electronic overhead or magic lantern slide show, one damn slide after another.Â The business of the medium is push things through, relentlessly, to resolve difficulties to get it all over.Â Its great advertising, but itâ€™s not a conversation.â€ť
â€śWhy, Marshall, would they want a conversation in Afghanistan?â€ť
â€śTo come up with fresh ideas.â€ť
Me (April 2010, age 57).Â Â Another problem with PowerPoint
Every medium creates its own environment that for the most part is invisible.Â But every now and again something happens to make the environment visible.Â Seen outside itâ€™s natural context, the military briefing, the slide reveals the hubris and waste of military resources thatâ€™s taking place in Afghanistan.Â At home and in the field PowerPoint Rangers are fighting it out in an escalating war.Â A war to present the illusion of the capture of the most detail in a single slide.
Cordially, Marshall and Me