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 (1964, age 52).Â Isnâ€™t it obvious?
â€śMen seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses.â€ť
Me (August, 2010, age 58).Â Whoâ€™s looking at who?
In Understanding Media McLuhan says this old saying illustrates the fundamental principle â€śthat distinguishes hot and cold media.â€ťÂ That principle being that cold or cool media demand participation because they are low definition (providing little data) while hot media demand relatively little participation because they are high definition (providing much data).
If youâ€™re wondering how this proverb illustrates this hold on to your hat.Â McLuhan says, â€śGlasses intensify the outward-going vision, and fill in the feminine image exceedingly, Marion the Librarian notwithstanding.Â Dark glasses, on the other hand, create the inscrutable and inaccessible image that invites a great deal of participation and completion.â€ťÂ In other words, girls who wear dark glasses get the passes, not because theyâ€™re hot but because theyâ€™re cool.Â And perhaps, also, boys who wear glasses donâ€™t make passes, because theyâ€™re getting way too much information.Â Seriously, somebody should study this.
Cordially, Marshall and Me
Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media, 1964, pp. 49.