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 (May 6, 1966, age 54). Â Really?
Well, howâ€™d I do Corinne?
You were magnificent Marshall.Â But surely Patrick Watson was exaggerating when he said that â€śno one can make sense out of more than ten percent of whatâ€ť you say.
Me (June 2010, age 57). Â A test
While Marshall McLuhan was renowned for being difficult to understand to say that 90 percent of what he says is incomprehensible does seem an exaggeration.Â Granted Patrick Watsonâ€™s aim was to be controversial when he said this on the CBC television program â€śThis Hour Has Seven Days.â€ť (May 6, 1966)Â But this is as good an excuse as any to make the point that Marshall McLuhan is not as difficult to understand as is commonly thought.Â Or maybe he is.
Here by way of a test is a bit of what Marshall McLuhan had to say on the program.
[The interviewer, Robert Fullford, asks.]Â â€śHas [the world] changed because of TV?â€ť
[McLuhan replies:] â€śTelevision gave the old electric circuitry thatâ€™s already here a huge extra push in this direction of involvement and inwardness.Â You see, the circuit doesnâ€™t simply push things out for inspection, it pushes you in. It involves you.Â When you put a new medium into play, peopleâ€™s sensory life shifts a bit, sometimes shifts a lot.Â This changes their outlook, their attitudes, changes their feelings about studies, about school, about politics.Â Since TV, Canadian, British and American politics have cooled off almost to the point of rigor mortis â€¦ .â€ť
What do you think?Â Is 90 percent of this something â€śno one can make sense out of?â€ť
Cordially, Marshall and Me
Reading for this post
Who Was Marshall McLuhan, edited by Barrington Nevitt with Maurice McLuhan, 1995, pp. 135-36.