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.

What is the problem?

Marshall McLuhan (June 15, 1964, age 52).  Communcation!

Everywhere you turn communication is breaking down: the relations between east and west, government and citizen, teacher and student, and parent and child are in disarray.  And yet the assumption rules that somehow we generally manage to get our meaning across.  In fact we should be assuming exactly the opposite.

Me (August, 2010, age 58).  Communication!

For McLuhan it was obvious that the rapid movement of information in the electric age was responsible for the problems of the 1960s.  Few understood or agreed with him.

Today information moves even more rapidly and arguably our economic, environmental and social problems are even worse.  What remains unchanged is the unwillingness of sensible people to think about our economic, environmental, and social problems as communication or media problems.  Perhaps we need to start.  Because if there is a universal law of communication in the electric age, it is that communication is always breaking down.

Cordially, Marshall and Me

 

Reading

Letters of Marshall McLuhan, edited by Matie Molinaro, Corinne McLuhan, and William Toye, 1987, p. 302.

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Michael Hinton Tuesday, August 10th, 2010
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Communication, Technology, Vol. 1 No Comments

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