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March 11, 2012

McLuhan and Mailer

Marshall McLuhan and Norman Mailer on CBC’s The Summer Way in 1968.

Two men of out time. Hate them or love them, but you must listen to what they say in tonight’s meeting of the minds.

UPDATE: Here’s McLuhan’s review of his exchange with Mailer.

Here’s how it went. I’d make an observation. (Violence is necessary to the formation of identity.) He’d say he didn’t like it. So I made another observation, (the new electronic environment has abolished nature) and he’d say he didn’t like that and so it went. I don’t have a problem with his liking or not liking my ideas. But I don’t think liking or not liking is productive. In fact I’m convinced it’s counter-productive. Liking and not liking, which is so often masked as truth-seeking interferes as I said yesterday with just observation of the world.

I decided to try a new tactic. Norman, I said, you will be delighted with this – the artist is the only one who is able to face the present and see it for what it is. He alone has the ability to tell us what is happening. Poor Mailer was not delighted.