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“Unthinkable but obvious”

March 16, 2011

I recently came across a couple of Woody Allen’s books in the library. The first, ‘Side Effects’, is a hardcover inscribed “Marshall, please don’t read ‘till you can laugh”, signed Steve McLaughlan (a Wychwood Park neighbour) and dated December 11 1980. That is a bit sad, as Marshall died on the last day of that month.

The second book is a paperback, ‘Without Feathers’, and was a gift from Mr. Allen. Inside the front cover is written “McLuhan” in Marshall’s wife Corrine’s writing, and below that “Wonderful working with you, best, Woody Allen”. Wow. Across on the facing page, Marshall has written “Meaning is an arrow”. On the title page, above ‘Without Feathers’, Marshall has written “Unthinkable but obvious”.

Meaning is an arrow.
Unthinkable but obvious.

I love those two sentences.

The paperback, being a gift from Mr. Allen, and inscribed as it is to Marshall, is a little treasure. The cameo in Annie Hall is possibly the best-known footage of Marshall McLuhan, as well-known as the statement/concept ‘the medium is the message’ or ‘the global village’.

Thanks for reading,


2 Comments leave one →
  1. AptAtom permalink
    April 11, 2011 4:57 pm

    Thanks for the valuable insights, Andrew. I deeply enjoy your blogs. As a scholar and a philosopher I enjoy musing over your writings and thoughts on the works of HMM.
    Looking forward to the next post.

    ‘Cura ut valeas’

    • April 12, 2011 8:11 am

      Thanks, Apt. I’m a big fan of yours – you are surely not ‘Homo unius libri’

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