Sunday, September 10, 2006

Probes


The words in the bottom left corner of the picture are:
"Man in the electronic age has no possible environment except the globe and no possible occupation except information-gathering."
Marshall McLuhan's Book of Probes, images by David Carson.
McLuhan had a great effect on me when I discovered him in high school in the 60s. He seemed to make sense of everything I found puzzling, and gave me great hope that I could too. "Reading" his latest book is just like that. Some other quotes I like are,
"How can children grow up in a world in which adults idolize youthfulness?"
Japan summed up well.
"What happens when the ad makers take over all the popular myths and poetry?"
Something I was conscious of when I was writing ads for my fathers' Ford dealership in the early 60s, as well as when some friends and I were started Adbusters in the late 80s. Seeing fairy tales come to life complete with the right vista for best appreciation choreographed by Kodak at Disneyland in the late 50s.
"Radio comes to us ostensibly with person to person directness that is private and intimate, while in more urgent fact, it is really a subliminal echo chamber of magic power to touch remote and forgotten chords."
McLuhan said it. The Firesign Theatre did it.
"Only puny secrets need protection. BIG SECRETS are protected by public incredulity. You can actually dissipate a situation by giving it maximal coverage. As to alarming people, that's done by rumours, not to coverage."
More true in Bush's america than ever.
Next week I'm going to McLuhan's city for the first time in 22 years. Will it still resonate with his perceptions? I'll soon find out.

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