Thursday, January 27, 2011

Vintage Footage: Norman Mailer & Marshall McLuhan

Fabulous aesthetics to this piece, from the style of the introduction to the camera work to the actual texture of the discourse. Is it my imagination or is there, quite literally, more space between the words here? Look at the way Mailer takes time think before he hurls one of his "over the top" epithets at McLuhan, whom he describes as over the top, apocalyptic, etc. and then the hilariously condescending, Oh, McLuhan offers as if patting Mailer on the head...
And in terms of the basic notion of violence being a quest for identity? Intense subtext for the social network. Love this line, "it doesn't matter whether you call something war or peace unless you pay attention to what's going on..." Mailer seems to be thinking, but he also seems unable to take these very clear statements in. In other words, it doesn't matter what McLuhan says unless you are willing to pay attention...

Also, an illuminating moment of comparison between a mind that wants an evaluative form of criticism versus one who wants only to try and full see and understand what he's looking at. Are they both attempting to fit what they see into the reality they want to argue for? Is that what we do when we engage in a kind of evaluation? Listen to the list of either/or at the end.

Or, to be is a violence, or value judgements are a sign of profound alienation.

We'll be hearing a lot about McLuhan. Looking forward to it all. Here's a great site by the way.

3 comments:

Andrew said...

wish MM was still around. the Fool of the court...heraclitus of the 60s? ie/ i love when they speak of the natural disaster, and McL says "we will all feel feel it"- meaning of course, globally - it was one of Those prescient type zingers.

plus that theme song could be Shadowy Men from the bowels of the cbc!

dorholtt said...

This is fantastic. Thank you for this. I completely think that both men are constructing a reality from the results of what they want to argue for, and jamming it into the space from which they speak. "We've gone into orbit." They skip right past what are important prefaces, making jabs at what could be called nothing, in the whole.

Lemon Hound said...

It's really amazing that we can find these gems among all the crap that circulates in the web. Sift, sift, post.