McLuhan Interview

mcluhan interview

People are beginning to understand the nature of their new technology, but not yet nearly enough of them — and not nearly well enough. Most people, as I indicated, still cling to what I call the rearview-mirror view of their world. By this I mean to say that because of the invisibility of any environment during the period of its innovation, man is only consciously aware of the environment that has preceded it; in other words, an environment becomes fully visible only when it has been superseded by a new environment; thus we are always one step behind in our view of the world. Because we are benumbed by any new technology — which in turn creates a totally new environment — we tend to make the old environment more visible; we do so by turning it into an art form and by attaching ourselves to the objects and atmosphere that characterized it, just as we’ve done with jazz, and as we’re now doing with the garbage of the mechanical environment via pop art.

I was looking for something on the theme that old media is transformed by the new. I had in mind how the Saturday matinees I used to go to as a child have gone, and were replaced by TV. But movies were not replaced by TV or video for that matter. The presentation on the big screen with big sound and comfortable seats were part of the come-back. I found some interesting items… related but not quite what I was looking for. This classic is one of them. I think I read this in the original at the time. I was a McLuhan fan in the sixties. I have originals of his books. I think he had more than a touch of genius. I have maintained a page on McLuhan since I started this website.

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