Read Write

My weekend is longer as my company is giving us a day off for great performance. Love freedom.

I am reading (again) “Understanding Media” or in comic book form “The Medium is the Massage”. What I like about McLuhan are his stupefying insights and fallacious assertions which form a fine tableaux that you can’t help but deconstruct. After some probing you are in the mood to roll your own predictions. The work is a communications assault on the mind. As the great food writer Arthur Liebling said when he was on the beach at Omaha in WWII – “There is nothing like a good strafing to build up the appetite” – Between Meals, a pilfered book from friend of the year, Wired’s Gary Wolf. What I’ve noticed that for me, when I read, I write.

A dot further on McLuhan’s catalog study of the effects of media in Understanding Media:The extensions of man, 1964 is the resonant writing of Dwight Macdonald. His great book Against the American Grain – essays on the effect of mass culture. A title that sounds as good for 1952 as it does now.  Another great book pilfering, this one from my girlfriend’s dorm room. Vicky Ekstrand in blue ink remains, wherever she is now. This book from her castaway Austin College course did more for me than my paid for courses over at UT Austin. Both writers rooting media. The further you deconstruct an idea in the tree of time, the more powerful is the root cause.  For bloggers writing long tales, some good advice. Macdonald in Discriminations p171 shares an explanation from an editor, he says was worth all six years as a staff writer at Fortune.

“Everything on the same topic should go into the same place.”


2 thoughts on “Read Write

  1. Good to hear McLuhan’s name mentioned in this ‘new’ enviornment. Few of us seem to consider that the modes we use to communicate have an impact on the way we recieve information. Is video on the Internet somehow different than video on TV? I think not.

    We need new theories. Jarvis is not a theorist. He is a commercial/corporate advocate. It seems that Jarvis is looking at how business can profit from media….he ignores the concepts that underly media and mass communication. Frustrating.

    I guess we need critics who can’t be bought, who don’t consider media in terms of economics/business/profits. These are realities that drive the businesses, but that don’t have anything to do with communication.

    There’s our theory.

  2. Agree highly that the mode to communicate with is an option. When it is TV over Internet, most creators look into the rearview mirror to make it do the service of TV. Rocketboom takes a different tack involving user generated content and having a global and offline reach. How many TV program sites can you go to watch past episodes?
    What I like about Jarvis lately is that he is shining a critical light on institutional media.
    But like you I desire to delve deeply into media principles. Have you read Understanding Media?

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