Skip to content

Prophet Margin: Oracle of the Information Edge

May 10, 2011

Apologies, dear reader, that I have not had time to make many new posts here as of late. I have, however, been making use of Twitter for passing on shorter discoveries from the library, tweeting as @mmreadsbooks – a bit of a joke on the purported bumper sticker which read ‘Marshall McLuhan Reads Books”, a sticker I have heard of but never seen.

Thanks for reading,

Andrew

H. Dwells Beneath the Shadow of the Iron Age

April 27, 2011

Written in the front pages of The Scarlet Letter (Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1910, London: Cassell and Company, Ltd) are the following words. There are a few I am unsure of, so I’m including photographs of the two pages so you, dear reader, can see for yourself. In particular, I can’t make out the first word(s) so any suggestions would be most welcome.

… all minds of the 1st order of genius
Hawthorne concerns himself with
the great problems of the soul.
Our generation had journeyed far from
the Puritan era with its grim justice
and its relentless penalties, but H.
dwells beneath the shadow of the Iron
age. His intellect and imagination
were alike fascinated by the Puritan
idea of justice. Grim men and stern
those Puritans, having neither part
nor lot in human infirmities, and
insensible alike to pleasure and to
pain. Generations of these worthies
slowly filtered thru H. and the
precious drops fell into that vessel
names the Scarlet Letter. This study
of conscience differs from the sent-
imental novels of to-day as the oak-
tree from the hyacinth.
H. believed that the greatest thot that
can occupy the human mind is the
thot of justice and its retributive
workings thru conscience. Doubtless
there are a 1000 questions that competes
for the attentions of youth; but for
men grown mature and strong
life offers no more momentous question
than this: can the soul injured by
temptation and seared by sin
ever recover its pristine vigor and
strength and beauty? is it true that
the breach can never really be mended
but only guarded while always

while always by the broken wall
there lurks the stealthy tread of a
foe that waits to renew his unfor-
gotten trumpets? “I do not know
say the old Greek that God has
any right to forgive sins” But
Dante thinks sin may be consumed
and tho Hawthorne dwelt in a
grim dark era for him there was
sunlight on the top of the mountains.
He felt that somewhere life holds
a fount. divine where the dust
may be cleansed from the soul’s
wings. The remaining [?] soul may
recover its nature simplicity and
dignity thru repentance and con-
fession.
Haw. believed everything in the
drama of the soul must be made
to turn upon the open confession
of sin. Therefore among man poss.
transgressions he selects the one sin
that has the most reasons against
acknowledgement and the one man
in the community who would suffer
the most by healing the hurts. And
that his lesson might be the more
convincing he lends a 1000 exten-    [extenuations?]
uations to the wrongdoers.

Thanks for reading,

Andrew.

the vorticies of cultures past and present

April 25, 2011

In Tales of the Tarsands (Dorothy Dahlgreen, 1975, Alberta: a Jean Publication) Marshall wrote in the back:

users of env =
effic[ient] cause
ovid’s met[amorphoses] as tales of
the vorticies of cultures
past and present

On the cover Marshall had written “from George Hendry”

[note: text in square brackets are my additions…maybe helpful?]

Thanks for reading,

a.

Maritain exists.

April 22, 2011

Just a short entry today, dear reader:

In Marshall’s copy of “L’Etre et L’Essense” (Etienne Gilson, 1948, Paris: Librarie Philosophique J. Vrin) there is a piece of paper on which is pencilled in block letters:

MARITAIN EXISTS
GILSON HAS TO BE

“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,

Andrew.

Adamastor

March 7, 2011

I am posting this from Poland, where Eric is giving talks and teaching for a week. Traveling with my father is something I do from time to time, and while Poland is perhaps not the most exotic of locales, it is nevertheless an interesting place to be….

Further to the Wayzgoose post, some more on Roy Campbell.

Marshall’s copy of ‘The Georgiad’  is inscribed “Marshall McLuhan, con un fuerte abrazo, Roy Campbell.” Of the several Campbell books in Marshall’s collection, many are inscribed thus. ‘The Georgiad’, however, also contains something special, alluded to in the Wayzgoose post: an ink drawing of a bull and matador by Campbell for Eric!

‘Adamastor’ has more writing in it by Marshall:

“Apropos of the Land Grabber p. 105 Campbell said that
he took the pains to get a pot of S. African soil and put it
in a pouch. He then got a big knife and went to see
the poet. He held out the pouch on the end of the knife
and said: “Here’s the soil. Cut out your heart.” Oh,
goodness said the poet, that was just poetic license.
Sez R. C.: Don’t say what you don’t mean
—-
Alistair Crowley, would-be “Great Beast” tried to effect
illusion he had been done in by the Catholics. He left his
cape, watch and dog by the seashore.
A real leopard man, Major Sit … Shea of the KAR’s
was the strongest man in the regiment. He had a
terrible aura of evil. Was the cause of murders, etc in
the regiment. But he was impeccable. He couldn’t
be court-marshalled. So he has to be murdered.
Four men were detailed for the job. On their return
much shaken, they entered their hut. A kitten
reared up and spat on them.”

In pencil, below that, Marshall has enigmatically written:

“Why didn’t Lewis give me copy of Roaring Queen”

And on the other page:

“I asked Campbell whether he wrote slowly. He was
12 years at this Adamastor collection. But the Flaming
Terrapin was written in 48 hours.”

In ‘Flowering Rifle: a poem from the battlefield of Spain’ there are a couple of items.
A photo of Roy Campbell in wintery 1953, and a letter on UofT letterhead which reads “My dear Caitlin, Those men never were friends of Dylan – he had no professional sort of outlet.’ And in Marshall’s writing ‘beginnings of Roy Campbell letter to wife of Dylan Thomas’.

Thanks for reading,

Andrew

The Wayzgoose

February 19, 2011

‘The Wayzgoose: a South African satire’ by Roy Campbell (1928, London: Jonathan Cape, Bedford Square).

The Book, a slim volume, is written in verse and is inscribed by the author:

“Marshall McLuhan, in memory of one of the happiest weeks of my life. Roy Campbell”

Opposite that, Marshall had written “Campbell said Nov 6/53 he had written The Wayzgoose in 48 hours” – a nice little note.

Marshall wrote in the back of the book:

“Nov 9/53
Met Campbell ^who lectured in Windsor last night^ at Union Station at 8 AM and
went out to Malton with him for breakfast. He wouldn’t let me
pay for the ride or for breakfast, and I said it was like the episode
in Blasting and Bombardiering when Lewis and Eliot were unable
in several days to pay for anything since Joyce was always before-
hand. Yes, said Campbell, that was the time they were drunk
for several days on end.
He referred to Sir John Hutchinson’s refusal to fight a duel
with T S Eliot. Hutch. wrote Eliot: “I’m too scared.”
H. had been making eyes at Mrs. Eliot. R. C. said that
Mrs. Eliot had been a pretty but brainless little waitress
type at Oxford who spent her time with undergrads.
And mentioned how she had gone mad either when
she was 30 or in 1930. Eliot’s uncle cut him off when he married.
C. arrived in Toronto ^Wed. Nov. 4^ and because of visa problems was
unable to leave after his lecture that night to do Ann Arbor
and other stands. So we had him until Sat. after-
noon. Had a faculty lunch for him at St. Mikes
Wed. Drinks here at noon before lunch. Ned Pratt
introduced him at Brennan Hall and he built up
background for his poems before reading them.
Campbell at 51 is 235 pounds, bald, breezy,
loveable. He drew pictures for the children and told
them stories. He is a good man, and a humble
man who admits his weakness for limelight
and his fondness for being made over.
He told endless stories of his acquaintances and
escapades. On leave in the 2nd war he was in London
and met Dylan Thomas. They both spent several
drinking and being broke began to canvass for a
loan. Day Lewis greeted them, padded with Bradburies
but regretted he couldn’t help. Finally they tried Uncle
Tom, who gave each of them a fiver.
C. said he was content to die tomorrow now that he had
completed his revision of Flowering Rifle.
He said he had experimented with verse in Kipling and Robt
Service styles when he was 9 or 10. Suggested that these popular
versifiers, including Irving Berlin and that sort really knew
a thing or two about The arts.”

Note: the ^ marks indicate something written over a line.

Thanks for reading,

andrew

‘… a massive Bauhaus program of haptic innovation’

February 16, 2011

Inscripto 10

The following is a transcription of a speech which Marshall McLuhan delivered to the Learned Societies Canada conference in Montreal  in June, 1961.

I was only going to type out a few bits and pieces, but have decided that to just pull a few quotes would be to damage the whole. Even though parts are decidedly out-dated and probably won’t make much sense outside of 1961, as with a lot of Marshall’s writing there is much that is still completely relevant and perhaps surprisingly so.

By publishing a complete text like this, I am going outside my stated objective of providing just a glimpse however I am not going to let that limit me, this time anyway. I am also encouraging a critic to say that I write too much per post. My apologies.

In the following, as in a lot of Marshall’s work, one can see how important his library – rather, other authors – were to Marshall.

“When President Kennedy was newly elected, the editor of the Christian Science Monitor said to Philip Deane, “We now have our first beatnik President.” I am sure that when I was chosen as guest speaker for this occasion many felt inspired to observe that “We now have our first beatnik guest speaker.” McLuhan will not only show the relation between electronics and the Humanities, but between the small car and Bridget Bardot. He will take off in all directions at once, proving that since the disappearance of seams from nylons there is no value in lineality. The disappearance of the line in hosiery he will make to appear to be related to the disappearance of the chorus line, the receiving line, the stag line, and the party-line. He may point to the dread omen that no child would roll the hula hoop. He will probably suggest that skin-diving and TV-viewing are the same thing. That the teaching machines perfect the procedure of archetypal criticism. That the wrap-around space of the small car and the wrap-around audience of the new platform stage are not only the same form, but that North America is undergoing a massive Bauhaus program of haptic innovation which causes the leering teenager to spring up where before had grown the docile adolescent.
But even if I avoid all these fascinating themes there remains a great deal to be said about new rôles and new procedures for the Humanities in the electronic age. It was Peter Drucker, former professor of philosophy and now Dean of the School of Management in New York University, which said in effect at the outset of his Landmarks of Tomorrow

For the first time in human history higher education is not a privilege, a frill or a luxury. It is a necessity of production.

That is not to say that higher education is being supplanted by commerce, but rather that the age-old gap between them is harder to find. In a recent book, Classrooms in the Factories, Clark and Sloan report that the annual budget for classroom teaching in industry is more than four times the annual budget for primary, secondary, and higher education. And that estimate takes no account of the extensive training programs for military personnel. The G. E. management centre for executive training at Crotonville on the Hudson has four classes of forty executives each year. The budget if 46 million. Never did he know the true meaning of liberal education, says Peter Drucker in the book already mentioned, until he entered the field of management consulting, He refers to the immediate relevance of encyclopedic liberal knowledge in the conduct of current corporation design and action. Indeed, the corporations are much more aware of their need for new high-level liberal education then are the universities. The Ciceronian ideal of the doctus orator is current again. In The Liberal Hour, Kenneth Galbraith has a chapter on “Economics and Art,” in which he both ridicules the old commercial notion of art as frivolity and urges the relevance of art as a navigational guide in all business today. The supremacy of design in creating and marketing is one factor. The other factor is that the artist’s designs provide the advance models future development. Careful study of new artistic models gives any firm ten or twenty years breathing spell in planning and development. The old-fashioned business man who played it off the cuff and read only the current signs is now doomed by the speed of the new technology. So the artist moves from the ivory tower to the control tower in modern industry.
With regard to the new needs of industry in the electronic age a recent spokesman insisted that one out of every ten elementary school children must proceed to a Ph.D. if the American situation is to be maintained. No matter what the area of study be, so it be done in depth, that is the vision of American business in education today, for good or ill.
On all hands today it is plain that actualities are much in advance of our thought and theory. When everything changes at once because everything has become interdependent, we can expect from the very heart of change a plangent cry for permanence and stability. A second-grade teacher, just after Sputnik, asked her class to write poems about the event. She was quite amazed at the results and showed them to me. One of them I wrote down. It went:

The stars are so big
The moon is so small
Stay as you are.

That, whether verbalized or not, is the message and the logic, not of the mechanical age, but of the electronic age in which we stand as the primitives of an undeveloped and unknown culture. Those of us who have had special regard for the ancient disciplines that passed out of our schools years ago will see them return and flourish as never before.The generations immediately ahead of us will scorn the recent decades and even centuries as periods of triviality, frivolity, and of planned obsolescence. We shall see all communities, as well, as all commodities and dwellings, assume a stubborn, depth character of organic persistence, as if built by Frank Lloyd Wright. Survey programs will disappear from the curricula of studies as the panic for permanence drives us into ever greater depth understanding of all kinds of knowledge and action.
I say this without enthusiasm. It is not exhilarating to foresee the inexorable discovery of one’s own childish ways of thought. Many a teenager today in his passionate pursuit of a crash program in adulthood looks on parent and teacher alike as superficial and banal in their modes of routinized living. The situation is the same on the non-personal level. We are all familiar with the computation based on a survey of present-day scientific development: that of all the greatest scientists who have ever lived, 95% are living right now. Does this mean that there is more human intelligence now than before? Not at all. But it does mean that we have hit upon some means of activating intelligence that is new. A. N. Whitehead pointed to the discovery of the nineteenth century as the discovery of the technique of invention. Bertrand Russell pointed to the great achievement of the twentieth century as the technique of suspended judgement. That is, the discovery of the process of insight itself, the technique of avoiding the automatic closure or involuntary fixing of attitudes that so easily results from any given cultural situation – The technique of open field perception. Both the discovery of the method of invention and the discovery of the technique of insight not only concern scientists but humanists, and have been freely used by both of what C. P. Snow calls the two cultures. So much so, indeed, that the resonant statistic of about 95% of the greatest scientists of human history now being alive may apply equally to poets, painters and philosophers. Perhaps we in this group ought really to ask ourselves why we tend instinctively to reject the idea that we might be living in the greatest of all intellectual and artistic periods, even though we may endorse the ebullient scientific estimate of our time. At any period of the past, humanists have been distinguished by a love of ruins and by a gloomy sense that change and decay invest the scene. Perhaps Lord Macaulay hit upon a new strategy. Convinced that he did live in the greatest of all human centuries, he compensated for his non-humanist buoyancy by giving us the memorable image of the New Zealander who would one day arrive to sit upon a fragment of London Bridge in order to sketch the ruins of St. Paul’s. Petrarch in a famous passage which has often been misread as a glorious prophecy of the great Renaissance so near to him, actually stood amidst the ruins of Rome and stated that just as surely as there had been uninterrupted decline from Augustan days to his own time, so in the years that lay ahead there would be continuous decay of such classical treasures and skills as still remained. Gibbon was faithful to the same perspective when he tells in his Autobiography how

I was in Rome, on the fifteenth of October, 1764, as I sat musing amidst the ruins of the Capitol, while the barefooted friars were singing Vespers in the temple of Jupiter, that the idea of writing the decline and fall of the city first started to my mind.

May I suggest a face-saving device in this humanist obsession with ruins and decay? The humanist is a Luddite, as C. P. Snow calls him, because he gets a thrill of unimagined potential from the fragmentary and tends to find the complete structure to offer no mode of creative empathy or participation. Thus the humanist is fascinated by the incomplete Hyperion of Keats more than by the complete Prelude of Wordsworth.
It has been said that had Milton broken off his Paradise Lost at the end of the fourth book, his reputation would stand above any poet of antiquity. The fragment we possess of the Faerie Queene, perhaps, spurs more speculation that would a completed 24-book structure.
Let me return a moment to the observation of A. N. Whitehead’s, that the gret discovery of the 19th century was the discovery of the technique of discovery. At least in Science and the Modern World, where he makes this statement, Whitehead does not explain his point. Edgar Allen Poe, whom Baudelaire and Valéry regarded as the nineteenth-century Leonardo da Vinci, did explain the point in his “Philosophy of Composition.” The technique of invention is to begin with the effect one wishes to achieve and then to go backward to the point from which to begin to produce that effect, and only that effect. In a sense this technique of starting with the effect before seeking the causes and means for the effect, is the perfection of assembly-line method. It is a method of organized ignorance. Because, whether one wishes to make a car or a poem, a guided missile or a detective story, it is necessary to begin with the solution of effect. Dickens found that writing for serial publication compelled him to plan ahead. And assembly-line methods imply complete analysis and total reconstruction backwards from the end-product. The power of advance by segmental analysis of each phase of a complex operation was bequeathed to us by Gutenberg and his moveable types. It is a technique made obsolete by electrically-recorded tapes. The assembly line yields not to galaxy clusters of simultaneous operations which are made possible by the exact synchronization of the information on tapes. The humanist will observe, however, that no matter what period or technology is in question, the artist has always solved the new problem both for the engineer and for the human community, by his new advance models for sensibility and awareness. The exact models of coming forms provided by artistic intuition are like “the providence that’s in a watchful state,” which as Ulysses says to Achilles in Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida,

Knows almost every grain of Plutus’ gold,
Finds bottom in the uncomprehensive deeps,
Keeps place with thought, and almost like the gods
Does thoughts unveil in their dumb cradles.

The ever new models of the artist are for the correction of the perceptual bias inflicted upon any human activity by ever new technology. In the past century, indeed, we have we have come to rely almost wholly on art for the nutrition of fresh impulse and the alerting of hypnotized senses. No previous society ever regarded art in this way. But no previous society ever underwent the successive brain-washings and hypnotic trances that ours has done from a succession of new technologies.
Now to come to the Bertrand Russell point – that the great discovery of the twentieth century concerns the technique of the suspended judgement. The technique of insight itself is a natural phase to succeed the nineteenth-century discovery of the technique of invention, because it is the means of abstracting oneself from the bias and consequence of one’s own culture. If a merely negative criterion were needed it would be easy to infer from the dismay and incomprehension which the later work of Harold Innis has caused in the minds of his admirers that he had finally hit upon a discovery of a very considerable and a very exacting nature.
Innis’ concern in the Bias of Communication, and later, is with the technique of the suspended judgement. That means, not the willingness to admit other points of view, but the technique of how not to have a point of view. This is identical with the problem facing physicists in correcting the bias of the instruments of research, and it draws attention to the fact that the historian, the poet, the critic, and the philosopher, now as always, face exactly the same situations as the scientist. The is easy to see in the larger historical retrospect. Failure to see it in the present may be the result of what Galbraith calls “vested interests in acquired knowledge” of involvement or anxiety or stupefaction or fatigue. But there are now some quite new factors in the overall situation which need to be specified. Whatever may prove to be the weakness of Teilard De Chardin’s work, he will always have the credit of having correctly defined the major change of our age. In the Phenomenon of Man he observes:

It has been stated over and over again. Through the discovery yesterday of the railway, the motor car, and the aeroplane, the physical influence of each man, formerly restricted to a few miles, now extends to hundreds of leagues or more. Better still, thanks to the prodigious biological even represented by the discovery of electro-magnetic waves, each individual finds himself henceforth (actively and passively) simultaneously resent, over land and sea, in every corner of the earth.

The end of mechanism, the extension of organic interdependence to every phase of experience and human association is what happened to us. Behind us are 25 or more centuries during which the Western world perfected the means of moving the products of human discourse and human ingenuity to every corner of the earth. This was done mainly by the alphabet and print and their derivatives in transport and industry. By abstracting sight and sound, by arresting the movements of speech and thought in a visual code, we extended the techniques of mechanical analysis and packaging to the whole of human discourse and learning.”

End of Part One.

>> On second thought, I’m only going to publish part of the speech now. I’ll type out the second half for a later post – it’s just too time-consuming to do the whole thing in one go, and this first half is a lot to read anyhow. Or maybe I’ll leave it up to readers: if you really want the other half, leave a comment to that effect.

Thanks for reading,

Andrew

“The earwig when bisected fights itself. So with the arts”

February 8, 2011

For this post, a perhaps mercifully short entry. I know I tend to lengthly posts, but I do so under the premise that a reader may choose to read as much or as little as desired.

In an unrelated note, I’ve come across a small piece by B. W. Powe, one-time student of Marshall’s, and long-time friend of Eric’s. Bruce has written much on Marshall, and teaches a course at York University in Toronto on Marshall McLuhan and Northrop Frye – apparently the only course of its kind on offer. If I can get his permission, I will reproduce a small piece he wrote which was published in The Antigonish Review, #50 (Summer 1982), entitled “Marshall McLuhan: The Put-On”. It’s a very interesting, personal account of his encounter with Marshall in the late 70’s and provides his first-hand account of the last days of the Centre for Culture and Technology at UofT.

Found in the University of Toronto Quarterly, Volume XIX Number 2 from January 1950:

Tucked in the book was a sheaf of small pages of notes, and a sheet of paper with the following written on one side:

“If the poet has anything to teach us it can only do so
as present. We can only evaluate the past or illuminate it from
the point of view of the present. We can only correct the
bias of the present time by coming to know [that?]
it is a time, not the time. Each age has to recreate
Homer and Shakespeare in it’s own image. No mean task. Be-
Cause in so doing we have to become them.

The business of criticism is to get the reader into contact then to enable him to continue what he contacts. This is to assume no more for literature than for music. The critic teacher has to know at least as much about the technique and forms of literature as a symphony conductor about scores and instruments.

As for “delightful teaching” that assumes one level only. If modern critics neglect the moral, it is partly because nobody agrees about it. The renaissance humanists neglected logic…

In nineteenth century history and critics buttressed themselves with prestige of dom. [can’t read]

Today we do the same. In the 16th as in the 2nd century AD and 5th BC there was less temptation to do this because the circle of the arts was intact (temporarily).

The earwig when bisected fights itself. So with the arts.”

A Miscellany of McLuhan

January 28, 2011

January 24, 2011

It gets tricky here. I am now sorting through Eric’s shelves of McLuhan books – enough rare and varied McLuhan books, off-prints, theses and personal copies of his books to make a McLuhan fan choke.

Some of these things are literally priceless. (I know, I know – but I meant that sincerely, not as a joke.) For instance, Marshall’s typescript of his thesis on Nashe, with his corrections, and two copies made when they first got a Xerox at the Centre for Culture and Technology, his little now-decrepit space at the University of Toronto. This is what my father Eric used to make the manuscript which would become The Classical Trivium: The Place of Thomas Nashe in the Learning of His Time (Ginko Press, 2006). The Ginko edition doesn’t give him any credit for that though – similarly, many people don’t know that my father wrote most of Culture is Our Business (and I’m not sure he would appreciate me pointing this out, but hey). It is also worth pointing out that Eric tried to get the Nashe thesis published for many years – decades, really – before Ginko finally did it.

A few items I’ve come across today:

The original first publication of Laws of Media, as an essay in a German magazine. This is an extremely rare item, and not well known.

“That’s the thing that dad and Ted [Edmund Carpenter] did, when we were at Fordham [University, New York City]” says Eric of the April 1968 edition of Harper’s Bazaar. It’s a very 60’s edition of the magazine. Marshall was at Fordham University at the time. See pages 150-166

“COUNTERBLAST” was a thin ‘privately printed’ short work, parts of which later appeared in Explorations magazine. Eric originally had a box full, but when my parent’s house burned down in 1999, it was lost with many other things, most unfortunately. Few copies remain. I’ve discovered that it’s being reprinted in an edition of 400 with an added preface, and an essay by Elena Lamberti at the end.

An oddly bound package containing a soft-cover work with a photo of Marshall on the cover:
“It was privately commissioned, not published”. Eric says. “It was commissioned by ABC. It was an interesting time, because nobody else has two anchors on one desk.” It is an interesting package, when opened contains a collection of short essays “Sharing the News – Friendly Teamness: Teeming Friendliness”; “The TV public is actor”; “TV is the matrix of ecology”; “Fact and fiction in news reporting”; “What is the meaning of this”; “What has happened”; “I as the witness”; “In TV news everything is background in depth: In the press the story is up front while the girl behind the guy behind the gun is real dirt – i.e. muck-raking”; You cannot commit TV alone – yeah team!”; Friendly teamness suggests audience as part of the game”; “Are sports good news? Is advertising good news?”; “The character of the unforgettable event: The double plot”; “Objectivity in the news … The horse drawn by a blind man would be a blotty gestalt”; and so on….

In The Diebold Research Program Professional Paper Series ‘Marshall McLuhan, Mike Wallace: A Dialogue’. There are several interesting bits of conversation, but one that strikes me is:

Mr. Wallace: What about playing Nostradamus for us? You talk about the rear view and you talk about the present.

Prof. McLuhan: The ‘future of’ is not so hard as it sounds, because the future of anything is already in the present. The ability to prophesy the future is simply the ability to look at the present.”

This is the transcript of a talk between Mike Wallace, of CBS News, and Marshall McLuhan as heard on the evening of September 13, 1966 in New York city at ‘The Twelfth Regular Meeting of The Diebold Group, Inc., convened at the Tavern on the Green, Central Park West at 10:15 o’clock.’ The publication bears this helpful information should you wish to get a copy: The Diebold Research Program Document Number PP10.

“Mr. Diebold: I thought that it would be a fitting sight for all of us to see Professor McLuhan leaving in his own private horse-drawn carriage, so we have one outside.”

Apparently, at the end of the evening, they actually did have a horse-drawn carriage for Marshall to make his exit. This was, presumably, incredibly funny.

My apologies for the randomness, seeming lack of coherence to the above entries. It’s the nature of what I’m doing, and really, it’s the nature of Marshall’s later writing that seem to be strung-together puzzle pieces which don’t necessarily link together easily. Again, I’m not trying to present a polished linear text. It shows.

Thanks for reading,

Andrew