Monday, June 20, 2011

PROMPT: Fragments, Odds and Ends

REEL H-2069 (correspondence)
Letter dated June 21, 1978 from MM to the Toronto Star

In a reply to Fulford's article re 'Frances' Marshall McLuhan (R. Barthes), MM states, Barthes is a "phenomenologist" - that is, one who tries to see the pattern in things while also playing along with the dominant theory of the world. Personally I prefer to study the pattern minus the theory.

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In an earlier letter...

REEL H-2055 (correspondence)
Letter dated October 18, 1973 from MM to Gerry Stein
Context = Gerry has just asked MM to put a selection of his writings on
education together in book form.

MM replies...So far I have not had anything to say to educators directly. The gist of my approach is satirical - in so far as the satirical wrenching of the dormant perceptual life is educational, I might be squeezed into that category.

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"Here is another thought for you that is very controversial. I don’t
see any point in making anything but controversial statements.
There is no other way of getting attention at all. I mean you cannot
get people thinking until you say something that really shocks
them; dislocates them. That is the way the arts work; the painters,
the poets, all work like that. They work by dislocation of attention.
That is why new styles are necessary for perception. The function of
arts is training in perception. It is not instruction. It is to train your
ability to see and use your senses."

McLuhan in “Education in the Electronic Age”


“If man by his ingenious extensions creates new dimensions and new environments
he also has another creative power for making himself aware of these new forms
and giving himself cognizance of their effects. This is the power of art. If technology
creates environments that brainwash man, art creates anti-environments that
heighten consciousness. Presumably this is why the artist appears as anti-social –
because he is creating awareness in place of adjustment – for adjustment
is brainwashing ...”

McLuhan, review of Cyborg: Evolution of the Superman, by D. S. Halacy Jr., MS., 3

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