Saturday, August 13, 2011

PROBE: Whole Lotta War Pigs

" War has always been a compulsory form of education for the other guy."

Whatever the eventual outcome of the war in Viet Nam, historians may argue for years about just why the U.S. became involved. Marshall McLuhan, the 1960s' mystagogue of the media, has proposed something of an explanation—or at any rate, a suggestive metaphor for the collision that has occurred in Indochina.

By McLuhan's reasoning, "there are no raw materials in that area [Indochina] that could possibly tempt American imperialists, and there is no meaning to 'containment of Communism,' since Communism in Iowa and in Cairo and in Peking and in Moscow has totally different meanings." In an unpublished article, McLuhan sees Viet Nam as a "resonant interval" or a "massive interface between a Westernizing Orient and an Orientalizing West." The entire Western world, McLuhan argues, is now turning inward upon itself—in the old Oriental pattern—while the Orient "has been increasingly engaged in an outer trip, aided by Western technology." McLuhan believes that "as the complementary areas of the Orient and the Western world reverse their immemorial roles, the area of interface between them has necessarily become agitated in the extreme. Korea and Viet Nam and other 'trouble spots' could then be observed as intervals of dissonance, which actually manifest the perturbations originating elsewhere. These 'trouble spots,' then, are like the interval between the wheel and the axle; they are areas of touch and they are where the action is, but they are not the action itself. The real action is taking place inside the massive Oriental and Western entities, which are undergoing total revolution and reversal of roles at very high speeds.",9171,878088,00.html

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