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.

To disagree is to think

Marshall (July 1948, age 37).  To disagree is to think (Cogito ergo disputandum)

I wish someone would disagree with me.  No one does that here in Toronto.  They’re all zombies, sleepwalkers.  Whatever you say they agree with you and go on just as they were before.  Agreement is the feature of this age.  

Me (October 2009, age 57).  Come on, disagree with me (Disputio ergo sum)

I wish someone would disagree with me too.  Agreement said McLuhan was the characterizing feature of the late 1940s (which in the US and Canada was the beginning of the 1950s).  Have we entered a new 1950s?   Today, and especially at our universities, the willing subjugation of the individual to the group is Рand has long been Рthe norm on questions of politics, gender, and diversity. 

As we approach the end of the first week of postings, anything you disagree with?

Cordially, Marshall and Me

P.S.  See you here tomorrow.        


READING FOR THIS POST

The Letters of Marshall McLuhan.  Selected and edited by Matie Molinaro, Corinne McLuhan, and Wiliam Toye. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1987, p. 198-199.

William H. Whyte.  The Organization Man. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1956, pp. vii-xvi.

Tags: , , , ,

Michael Hinton Friday, October 2nd, 2009
Permalink 1930s and 40s, Communication, Culture, Education, Vol. 1 2 Comments

2 Comments to To disagree is to think

  • Heresiarch says:

    I rescued from cassette this talk that Marshall McLuhan gave at Johns Hopkins University in the mid 1970s. I have not found an audio file of this talk anywhere online. So far as I know it’s an original contribution to the archive of McLuhan audio. Enjoy. Rare McLuhan Audio

  • Michael says:

    Thank you for this tape. (Sorry it took so long to get back to you.) I particularly liked McLuhan’s end joke.
    Where did you find it? Was there an intro to it? What is your interest in McLuhan?

  • Leave a Reply