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 meaning of it all

Marshall McLuhan (April 29, 2010, age 98).  “Corinne, come and look at this!”

“What is it, now, Marshall?”

“The PowerPoint slide from a military presentation in Afghanistan everyone’s talking about.”

“What in Heaven’s a PowerPoint slide?”

“One in a sequence of overheated overhead slides.  This one’s a doozy.”

“Looks to me like a plate of spaghetti.”

“Forget the spaghetti.  Consider the medium.  PowerPoint is an electronic overhead or magic lantern slide show, one damn slide after another.  The business of the medium is push things through, relentlessly, to resolve difficulties to get it all over.  Its great advertising, but it’s not a conversation.”

“Why, Marshall, would they want a conversation in Afghanistan?”

“To come up with fresh ideas.”

Me (April 2010, age 57).   Another problem with PowerPoint

Every medium creates its own environment that for the most part is invisible.  But every now and again something happens to make the environment visible.  Seen outside it’s natural context, the military briefing, the slide reveals the hubris and waste of military resources that’s taking place in Afghanistan.  At home and in the field PowerPoint Rangers are fighting it out in an escalating war.  A war to present the illusion of the capture of the most detail in a single slide.

Cordially, Marshall and Me

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Michael Hinton Thursday, April 29th, 2010
Permalink Communication, Management, Technology, Vol. 1 1 Comment

1 Comment to The meaning of it all

  • Michael Edmunds says:

    I like to keep in mind that old media are ever present. Thus even in the info age real bullets are flying!

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