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.

The telephone cures

Marshall McLuhan (May, 1964, age 52).  Is it not remarkable?

Neurotic children apparently lose all symptoms of their neuroses on the telephone.  And stutterers have been known to lose their stutter on the phone or when speaking a foreign language.

Me (December, 2010, age 58). The lesson?

Simple.  Media are not passive instruments.  They change us.  The telephone, McLuhan says, demands the participation of our other senses.  We doodle, we caress the phone, we feel, fall in love.  But, strangely we are not able to visualize the person we’re talking to.   In the clip, below, Rock Hudson and Doris Day show us how the phone works.

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading: Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, 1964, p. 56 and 273.

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Michael Hinton Saturday, December 11th, 2010
Permalink Communication, Technology 1 Comment

1 Comment to The telephone cures

  • Rich says:

    The WEB is re-tribalizing me. I’ve got the oral, auditory and visual pretty much down and re-integrated, but the smells and feels are still escaping me. Depending a bit too highly on the visual still, what with the ole linear/literacy thing wanting to override things.

    Practicing tuning into the collective unconscious (which I have little uncatchable snatches of). Premonitions and odd feelings and such…

    Just read “Understanding Media” and the 1960s Playboy Interview with MM.

    Remember: “If it works, it’s obsolete.” Well, back to doing my eBay listings. Would MM do eBay? Maybe sell some of those retro tweed sport coats? Clean out his closet as they suggest…

    Yours truly,

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