Monday, December 07, 2009

A rolling log of McLuhan questions and answers

1. Why does MM says movies are hot but TV is cool?
(for me, it has something to do with the difference between dreaming and processing reality).
2. Is Google hot or cool?
3. What would MM have said about talk radio, from Limbaugh forward? [Think about what he says about symphony rehearsals]{but also think about the phrase "the illusion of"}
4. What's the deal with email. [Hint it's a _______medium trying to accomplish a ____________purpose.] What would MM have said about emoticons.
5. Comic strips!
6. Somehow this became a class at least partly about Eliot, so I point out to you that Benda -- whom McLuhan cites -- was supported by Eliot. You could take the Benda/MM argument and apply it to David Letterman and Harvey Pekar. Sharp differences in understanding and accepting roles.
7. MM says that "implosion" ended, in some ways, the notion of rugged individualty. Did the 'Net open that possibility back up? Did the 'Net in any sense, cause "explosion."
8. MM says media is power and that the owners of media tend not to be cared about content. What does this mean? And can it be different on the 'Net. Is the 'Net -- in its diffused ownership -- in someway an outgrowth of MM's ideas?
9. For the idea of cooling off -- consider Moses and the tablets.
10. Do we have permanent goals even as innovations disrupt us? What does MM say about the transfer of consciousness into the digital world?
11. What would MM tell Dan -- I can never teach a class like this again with out a Dan -- to do.? What is the job of a Dan in the digital world? If you can (or should) neither completely reject or embrace it, what do you do?


McLuhan Prophecy said...

Courtney concludes "I don’t know. Part of this book feels this way to me; the whole surge, past and present, to ascribe meaning, to break down, to reasoning Facebook and all of its social networking cousins. I’m getting tired of it. It is making me want to stop using it. It is kind of like once you figure out how something works, or what it means, isn’t as fun anymore. Isn’t as meaningful to you because you’ve just broken it down to its clinical parts instead of what it means to you and why you personally are using it.

Instead I read this book and feel like a giant misused tool, lost in the fog.
I guess I have become numb instead of dying."

McLuhan basic idea is that technologies numb us. Most concentrate on his views of technologies as extensions of our senses; as Courtney puts it the "idea of the human consciousness being online as a semi human brain"

Isn't numbness a symptom that most in an overly mediated environment feel? McLuhan's project was to focus on this numbing in the hopes that we'd overcome the "hidden" effects. I don't think he thought it was easy or even possible, but he did believe it worth trying.
If you read about his life you will find that he was not accepted as much more than a nut case by his academic peers and that is somewhat true even today. Yet he continued his study almost as a one man army. His study can be summarized as the study of percepts and not concepts. He wanted you to focus on what is happening to your body and mind when you use technology. I think that's cool!

Anonymous said...

You not the expert, casually?