This writing was in response to Marshall McLulan’s interview with Playboy magazine.
On an experiential level, I generally enjoy listening or watching more that reading. I am a product of my generation.
Despite this fact, I feel the order in which I listened to the two assigned works had a large influence on my opinion of the track vs. interview. As the interviewer writes: “Perhaps because the Q and A format serves to pin him down by counteracting his habit of mercurially changing the subject in mid-stream of consciousness” I personally liked the interview better.
I listened to the track during a commute to the allergist. I walked, rode on the 6 train, and waited in a waiting room during the tracks’ length non-stop. As Dan mentioned in class, the work is rather psychedelic. At first the “seemingly disparate elements are imaginatively poised, put in apposition in new and unique ways” messed with my head. However once I got used to this barrage on my sense of hearing, I found some parts boring and other parts entertaining and interesting. The track (supplemented by the Douglas Rushkoff video we watched in class) made his basic thesis clearish: the development of new technology since the phonetic alphabet have changed the way “media” (which he defines very broadly) affects and controls our thinking and, by extension, our lives.
The playboy interview solidified my confidence in what Mr. McLuhan is trying to express. The interviewer does a good job of trying to keep him focused on one train of thought, which made me realize how associative his arguments can be. He refuses to be categorized which he claims is an outdated method of thinking. After reading the interview I don’t really trust that he knows what he is talking about sometimes. He himself says “As an investigator, I have no fixed point of view, no commitment to any theory“. Including your own, Mr. McLuhan?
I’ve got more to say but don’t want to burden readers. For the purposes of this blog, I am a minimalist.
In class, ask me how Matilda (by Roald Dahl) is a counter-argument to some of McLuhan’s theories.