Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Quotable | McLuhan at Play

open quotation markI don’t necessarily agree with everything I say.

-- Marshall McLuhan (1911 - 1980)

Marshall Mcluhan Stamp image from Wikipedia

Professor McLuhan was a Canadian educator, philosopher, and scholar, professor of English literature, literary critic, and communications theorist. I happened upon today's quote very much by chance, and it really strikes me. Is McLuhan's reluctance to believe himself due to a deep-seated belief that he was a boldfaced liar? Or was he acknowledging that part of being human is succumbing to the temptation to pepper one's dialog with the occasional lie? Could this reluctance simply be the hallmark of a healthy skeptic?

Any or all of those ideas could be correct, but I think he was going in a different direction. Besides, the whole lying thing would be too simple for a recognized media expert. ;)

Perhaps the good professor could not bring himself to believe every single thing he said or wrote because, as this piece from the Regent University points out, McLuhan was "a master of aphorisms, and ... he loved wordplay" (for proof, look no further than the title of his fourth book: The Medium is the Massage).

Is wordplay a deliberate attempt to decieve? One could argue that all entertainment -- and wordplay is usually done with at least a stab at entertaining an audience -- is a form of deception. I guess you have to look at who is truly decieved with a clever spin on words. Wait ... Spin ... that takes wordplay into the realm of politics, where deception is the norm ... the lingua franca, of the profession if you will.

I wonder what McLuhan would have made out of today's political landscape.

More Reading about McLuhan:

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