#UMRG Links, Thoughts and Comments #1

Throughout the week I’ve curated some of the links and comments. Here goes:

Anne Pietsch mentioned a Guardian Podcast where Benjamin Walker explores the meaning of the slogan The Medium is the Message. Through that news article I discovered this McLuhan scene in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall:

Dennie Heye shared links to a CBC page on McLuhan titled Demystifying McLuhan and a Spark Podcast.

Glenn Cochrane has written a very insightful post where he discusses the concept of scale in the first chapter of Understanding Media. About this quote from McLuhan “In terms of the ways in which the machine altered our relations to one and other and to ourselves, it mattered not in the least whether it turned out Cornflakes or Cadillacs.” he writes:

I’ve often actually felt something wrong about the famous line The Medium the Message, and have preferred to think that the Medium has the potential to be the Message. But, here I began to see what he’s trying to say. Translating between scales uses one level’s medium as the destination level’s message. The individual wants breakfast cereal or a car; the society cares not which exact person buys what food or major appliance, but sees the production numbers that have been tallied up for decision making purposes.

If you want to follow everything Glenn writes about #umrg, then make sure you check out this tag on his blog. He would love comments from you.

JR Dingwall and Rhonda Jessen missed the kick-off session and decided they still would like to intodruce themselves. Check out their YouTube video:

In the introduction to the second edition McLuhan writes:

When data move instantly, classification is too fragmentary. In order to cope with data at electric speed in typical situations of “information overload,” men resort to the study of configurations, like the sailor in Edgar Allan Poe’s Maelstrom.

Edgar’s Allan Poe’s A Descent into the Maelström is available in full online and I enjoyed reading the short story.

4 thoughts on “#UMRG Links, Thoughts and Comments #1

  1. Thanks for the curated comments and links. There are a couple of cool things about the Annie Hall clip. First, the supposed professor gets the media temperature of television (of the day, not television today) entirely backwards. In McLuhan’s time, television was a relatively cool medium, whereas more contemporary television – especially through the 80s, 90s, and 2000s – was hot (i.e., trance inducing; viz. the “couch potato” – there’s lots more to say about the evolution of what we used to call TV and its media temperature now that its become far more complex).

    According to Eric McLuhan, the take that made it into the movie was many retries after the first. Marshall was quite tired by that time. His rebuttal line – “You mean my whole fallacy was wrong” – was stated as an accusation. In fact, Marshall regularly used the “do you think my fallacy is wrong?” as a probe to counter the many criticisms and critiques of his work and observations. By claiming his observations were fallacious they are by definition “wrong,” thereby not only disarming the critic, but making him look foolish in the process. He would then calmly walk away, leaving the would-be attacker puzzled in his wake.

    • Thank you for that Mark! From now on this will indeed be one of the lines I’ll regularly use: “do you think my fallacy is wrong?” (next to The Big Lebowski’s “Am I wrong here?” most probably). I am hoping we will have a good discussion about media temperatures at our next call on Monday.

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