Eser Torun's comment!
Extracted from the essay of Eser Torun's Wake!
Violence is being enhanced and transformed through the global village. The Internet is becoming a very violent place. The technology is driven by thrill-kill games of ever greater sophistication, and the pornography is becoming readily available and the crucial element of advertisements. As a person who strongly opposed to the unholy unity of advertising and sexual desire, McLuhan would certainly be very upset to see the facts of current information society that is being shaped by his own theories. Probably he would feel even worse, if he had known that some international MBA’s are using pornography web pages to explain his theories.
To come to Daniel Hall's defence (as I largely agree with what he was saying):
I'm sure it would make McLuhan feel very bad, not least because it illustrates to some extent why McLuhan's theories don't seem rational. Your irrational response does not greatly defend the theory.
Perhaps if you prefer, we can look at McLuhan's theories in this way:
The internet, TV, etc.
Enhance: Our basic nature, rational and primal alike.
Obsolete: Prudish moralism and fundamentalist viewpoints.
Retrieve: Our long surpressed desires.
Reverse: Into angry self-righteous reactions, George W. Bush, Al Queda, pushes for censorship and your response.
Something to consider.
I have not used pornography to explain McLuhan's theories. I have used it to reject his theory. I have specifically used the subject matter of pornography (assuming the web-site is of pornographic nature, as I have never actually visited it) as an extreme example of how CONTENT is more important than the form of media. It is no coincidnce that pornography on the internet is by far the most popular subject matter according to Google search engines. Whether this fact disagrees with ones moral values is irrelevant. However, it is relevant to a discussion of McLuhan's theories, as I argue that the reason why pornographic websites are popular is due solely to their content, as opposed to the form of media - as McLuhan would argue. To compare pornography explicitly to gardening is done to re-enforce the point. The motive is not to broadcast my personal tastes. I would probably not use a publically available web-site if I wanted to do this.
I also disagree that McLuhan would "feel even worse, if he had known that internatiobal MBA's are using pornography web pages to explain his theorires". In fact I would argue the exact opposite and I would go one step further and argue that this comment indicates that the author does not fully understand or appreciate McLuhan's thinking. McLuhan built his reputation and respect not from conseravtive ideology (as the comment implies) but from unorthodox thinking. I would argue that McLuhan would himself encourage such free, liberal, unconstrained and unorthodox thinking (as he often practiced himslef)- as oppposed to tight, rigid and narrowly focussed religious/moral/ethical thinking. To think otherwise is to misunderstand the very basis of McLuhan's visionary way of thinking. Perhaps the author should take a leaf out of McLuhan's book. McLuhan himself was a deeply religious practicing catholic, but he did not let his religious beliefs cloud his thinking and he did not let ethical and moral judgements constrain his ideas. He did not compartmentalise society into what he considered to be good and bad ethical values, as his theory is based not on a Newtonian fragmented interpretation of the world but rather on a world that is interdependent and interconnected throughout. On the contrary, McLuhan would argue that, in some way, religion and pornography are actually related. What he did not do was not argue that morality/religion, by default, deserved a higher moral platform.
Likewise, I do not think this is an appropriate platform to be making moral or values based judgements. Perhaps those type of comments are better left for the ethics elective - but then again, as I think liberally, you are free to decide yourself.
Further Explanations and 'Facts' about McLuhan:
The intention of the initial remark was not to make a moral or value judgements. Even if I might have found the examples immoral, I don't think that I am in the sitution to judge someone else's moral values or rationality! I wanted to make that remark because I felt there is a big and possibly unrespectful mistake during the interpretation of McLuhan's thinking. Especially after reading above defense statement, I wanted to give some 'facts' about McLuhan that may help people understand him better.
McLuhan's first book was 'The Mechanical Bride', published in 1951. This book was an attack on the unholy unity of advertising and sexual desire. It sold only a few copies, and never again would McLuhan argue publicly from a moral standpoint. His son and collaborator Eric McLuhan once said that his father "kept his personal and private lives absolutely separate. This was expected of a gentleman in his age." But perhaps Marshall McLuhan had expected that if people knew just how reactionary he really was--he strongly opposed abortion, pornography, sexual desire to be abused in advertisements, sex education, etc.--he would be easily ignored.
I think this discussion proves that he was right at his expectations.
By the way, I wish we had more people in our Ethics class to discuss moral issues. I strongly believe that not only future of internet, but also future of the world would be benefited by these discussions.
For more info: Eser Torun's Wake!
Return to: McLuhan Essay - Daniel Hall