Monday, December 07, 2009

On the media fence

Props to Lisa, who found this essay. And this part, I think, is the part that might speak to the current mental condition of her and Dan (according to Lisa) anbd I would add several others in the room, including probably me.

... I feel a deep personal connection with Understanding Media because
the book was published the same year I was born. We have both entered middle age
now. For me, this means being frustrated with people older than I am for feeling
ill at ease with technologies that both fascinate me and facilitate my everyday
tasks. It also means being equally frustrated with those younger than I am
(particularly my students), who seem to have lost touch with narrative-driven
technologies such as books and old-style movies. I also feel a certain sense of
paranoia, suspecting that younger people now place me in the category of those
discomfited by newer technologies.
For Understanding Media, I suspect middle
age means sitting on the fine line between classic and anachronism. We are
living in the future that the book foretold. We cannot but acknowledge the truth
in many of its pithy aphorisms. In fact they seem self-evident, even if we can
still appreciate McLuhan’s gift for metaphor in stating them. Perhaps we repeat
his legendary phrases too glibly. Perhaps we’re not repeating them all that
frequently anymore. Much has happened since Understanding Media appeared in
1964—to the book’s place in society and to society itself. To me, it is a
classic and just as worthwhile a read for the “millennial” generation as for the
baby boomers.


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading McLuhan's view of technology as seen from the past. It was not quite nostalgic; in fact his attempts at analysis seemed very psychological. But I found his use of metaphors to be over done. I wished he would use fewer metaphors and discuss their relationship to his points in more depth.

Anonymous said...

Where are my comments? I hate blogger.