We just had a great discussion about the final two chapters of McLuhan’s Understanding Media. We took two of Lawrence’s questions and asked ourselves if we are now constantly involved in a war of the icons and whether there is an escape from it. We also discussed the (prophetic) role of the artist and debated if and how philosophers are artists too (plus could you make money with a philosophy store nowadays). You find the recording here:
Recording of the final UMRG meeting
As this was the last virtual call, I want to take the opportunity to once more thank Marcel de Leeuwe from Leerbeleving who has kindly allowed us to use his Adobe Connect account for these sessions!
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.