[f_minor] Marshall McLuhan - The First 100 Years

Pat pzumst at bluewin.ch
Sat Mar 5 19:48:36 EST 2011

Dear f_minor

At the beginning of GG’s Prospects of Recording radio feature you can hear a distinguished gentleman with a canadian accent make an ironic comment about muzak and elderly matrons prancing with their shopping trollies to mantovanified music they heard as young gals. 

This is the voice of Marshall McLuhan, who would have celebrated his 100th birthday this year. Time to remind people about his contributions and his importance in our media-driven world. McLuhan was the first to study and probe the impact of mass media in and on our culture, something the you just cannot ignore because even something as profane as a lightbulb has a message (according to McLuhan). And GG was very well aware of what McLuhan had to say about his craft as such and shared interest in how we approach media as such.

He did collaborate with GG on more than one occasion. There is a taped conversation with him and GG slumbering in an archive of which only a transcript has surfaced. Dear CBC, I would like to see that. And I would like to see much more in terms of GG while I am at it, thank you very much.

We all heard buzzwords like The Global Village, Digital Age, The Medium is The Message/Massage, Hot and Cold Media etc. These concepts are even more around us than in McLuhan’s time and his ideas are essential to Advertising and TV programming because the execs are well aware of what McLuhan said. And he said a lot of important things: http://marshallmcluhan.com/mcluhanisms/ 
CBC: http://archives.cbc.ca/arts_entertainment/media/topics/342/
DVD: http://www.amazon.com/Mcluhans-Wake-Marshall-McLuhan/dp/B000K7VIKY

Television is indeed dangerous, the first drug that goes immediatly into the brain receptors and it is not important what’s on but that the TV IS on.  It is, as McLuhan claimed, an Inner Trip. 
The printed book has become an endangered species, a fact that McLuhan warned us about and I really wonder what he would have said about a Kindle or iPad.

Yet he did not predict. He had the foresight to claim that someday we would have something like the Internet. But he was not ethusiastic about his “predictions”, a pessimistic conservative (catholic !) lit prof whose ideas are abused by ad agencies and TV execs worldwide. He merely stated facts as he onece said. Don’t blame it on him if some of his ideas have been hijacked by the wrong people.

Therefore it is quite understandable that an artist interested in media such as GG took a liking in McLuhan’s ideas.

McLuhan briefly fell out of favour with the intelligenzija, but with the introduction of the friendly soundbyte-sized news reports he’s back. We need to cope with this “new” media ecology, McLuhan will tell you how it works and where to take care. Not a Prophet or Messiah, just a courious english prof from Winnipeg with a fondness for Joyce and How Stuff Works.

Forget Sartre and Heidegger, better listen to McLuhan, the Last Great Philospher of the 20th Century. His 100th birthday is celebrated with tons of activities, lectures, books etc in various cities. I for one would really, really like to see the conversation with him and GG (and much more in terms of GG, of course).

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