Tag Archives: Marshall McLuhan

Deprived of Ground

I have no theories whatever about anything. I make observations by way of discovering contours, lines of force, and pressures. I satirize at all times, and my hyperboles are as nothing compared to the events to which they refer. If you study symbolism you will discover that it is a technique of rip-off by which figures are deliberately deprived of their ground.

Marshall McLuhan

(Via Michael Sacasas.)

Your House Is Burning

To start announcing your own preferences for old values when your world is collapsing and everything is changing at a furious pitch: this is not the act of a serious person. It is frivolous, fatuous. If you were to knock on the door of one of these critics and say ‘Sir, there are flames leaping out of your roof, your house is burning,’ under these conditions he would then say to you, ‘That’s a very interesting point of view. Personally, I couldn’t disagree with you more.’

That’s all these critics are saying. Their house is burning and they’re saying, ‘Don’t you have any sense of values, simply telling people about fire when you should be thinking about the serious content, the noble works of the mind?’

—Marshall McLuhan on his new media-phobic critics

(Via Jay Rosen.)

Cf. The Exact Opposite Is True

Wikileaks

This information is top security. When you have read it, destroy yourself.

—Marshall McLuhan

You See Differently on Paper

I draft prose on-screen, work it over until I can’t find much wrong with it, then double-space it and print it out. At that point I discover what’s really there, which is ordinarily hazy, bloated, and boring. It looked pretty good on-screen, but it’s crap. My first drafts on paper, after what amount to several drafts on computer, look like a battlefield.

Jan Swafford

The Exact Opposite Is True

I am resolutely opposed to all innovation, all change, but I am determined to understand what’s happening because I don’t choose just to sit and let the juggernaut roll over me. Many people seem to think that if you talk about something recent, you’re in favor of it. The exact opposite is true in my case. Anything I talk about is almost certain to be something I’m resolutely against, and it seems to me the best way of opposing it is to understand it, and then you know where to turn off the button.

—Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Me

(Hat tip: Nicholas Carr)