Salient Points from "McLuhan's Wake"

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Marianela's Notes from “McLuhan’s Wake” Video

- McLuhan’s laws of media

- Attempted to invent a new science

o A “tool maker”

- Scene with Hunters: Tools extend senses

- Tools: extend touch and the sense of touch

- Alphabet: Made up of bits that are meaningless

- We shape tools in our own image, and in turn they shape us (i.e. reflection of glass on window, car seats, etc.)

o Ex.: “Shhh! The library is not a skating rink!”

- The things you make, they sometimes mimic you. Extensions of ourselves (i.e. cars)

- Definition of “Narcissus”: Drugged; Numb

o Narcissus fell in love with the image of himself, as a result of seeing his reflection, (though it was not actually himself he was falling in love with)

- Skyscrapers and architecture: We build and erect extensions of ourselves

- McLuhan: Concentrated on grammar, rhetoric, logic—considered himself a “Grammarian”

- Grammarians looked at the world as a book

- Thomas Aquinas: “Trust the senses”

- McLuhan: “If you just saw and felt you could perceive correctly”

- Taught freshman literature through advertisements

- McLuhan felt that people are robotically conditioned to advertisements

- “Robotic Bride”

- He was resolutely opposed to technology and change

- McLuhan: “Best way to oppose it was to understand it”

- Edgar Alan Poe’s “Into the Maelstrom”

o Environment is always moving

o People are constantly being “massaged” and don’t even realize it

o The medium is in the “massage”

- Old tools may hang around for a long time, but if you want to get the job done you have to get the latest thing

o However, then you won’t be able to find a blacksmith (no more horse-drawn carriages as a result of automobiles slowly replacing carriages)

- A car becomes your legs and moves the body

- In essence, only one city on the planet will be the planet itself

- We reshape the world around us every time we flick on a light

o We can create environments anywhere now because of electricity and power

o “Mystery of the dark” and “light of the moon” are expressions that are no longer accurate as a result of being able to create any environment that we desire

- We’ve put our nervous systems outside of ourselves

- All technologies are languages;

o All languages are technologies

- Any specialist is going to try to protect their specialist skills

- “Brainiard(?) of doom” is what McLuhan was called by media personalities

o McLuhan affirmed that “Literacy was on the skids”

- “No one can make out more than 10% of what McLuhan says.”

- Finn’s cycle

- Pervasive medium is always beyond perception

o McLuhan: “We don’t know who discovered water but we know it wasn’t a fish”

- “Two minds trying to reach a balance”

o The left side of the brain is linear

o The right side is holistic

- Speech retells all adventures:

o Ex: Guy shoots buck while stooping by a tree to take a crap

- If you want to study the future, just study the present

o What we think as the present is really the past

- It is so impossible for us to look at the present

- McLuhan: “We live by the revival of clothes, fashion, music, etc.”

- Electronic media brings us news from the village of the past

- The “global village”: You no longer have to be anywhere to be able to do everything

- We keep hearing a beating drum:

o A princess in England gets married and the drums start to beat to tell us about it

- Media has no homogeneity no stasis

o Always is changing

- Same shift Alice made in “Through the Looking Glass”

- Electronic media retrieves old media

- We live in a mythical world

o TV is a mythic form

- Media: Number of people covering Vietnam War was more than the number who were fighting it!

- Recognize a pattern before it is complete

o No “pattern of laws” of media

- Media are like languages:

o They are much more powerful than they were intended for

- A global village is programmed to reverse

- How is one to establish and identity?

- McLuhan: “Life can only be understood backwards but must be lived forwards”

- Public consensus: Was McLuhan for real or was he a charlatan?

- McLuhan was a “technological determinist”