The Day I Met Dustin Hoffman & Marshall McLuhan In The Same Basement

22Jan12

  

By Jack Spatafora   –   It was the revolutionary year 1968. While the streets were filled with anti-Vietnam protesters, a few of us true believers met in a Washington DC hotel basement. It was the only place we could book a meeting with this peculiar Canadian professor and the even more peculiar star of the recent “The Graduate.”
 
We were a handful of media instructors who back home were trying hard to convince our schools and their chalkboard faculties that there was a new ecosystem in the world: 24/7 media. McLuhan was pitching his peculiar idea about an emerging “global village” in which “we shape our tools and after wards our tools shape us.”
 
Dustin…? He was more of a celebrity afterthought, but soon proved he too was a true believer. And had he still been alive, Friedrich Nietzsche might have fit right in with his “will to power” vision of the uber-men [AKA, media moguls].

But enough name-dropping!

The point is, the global village is not only here, but expanding exponentially with thousands of websites and billions of users all in instant global connectivity. Really, there is no longer any Here & There; nor Now & Then. Like it or not, even willing or not, this mediated ecosystem has swept us all up as if in an electronic tsunami. Forget your elitist protests about the “vast cultural wasteland,” for we are all travelers in it. From the way we get our news and our data, to the way we buy, and sell, to the way we transact our lives and values.

Navigation then becomes the order of the day. How to either navigate our travels or be navigated.

As usual, this requires attention to any devils-in-the-details which may be lurking. Consider, for instance, how YouTube’s modest seven-year history is about to go pro. Right now professional producers, writers and networks are planning a hundred new channels which will grab and fragment even more viewing audiences with even more virtual experiences.

At the same time, the global village now as two new start ups. Klout, tracking your every on-line behavior from Google to Facebook to Linkedin; and Reputation.com, tracking and scoring what it calls your social forensics.

In THIS village, you’ll never be alone ever again. Never. Never. Never….   http://tinyurl.com/84lys4z  

Jack Spatafora   –   40 years educator/writer/intellectual vagabond…speech writer for the White House and Fortune 500 CEOs…regular contributor to the op-ed pages of the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, Pioneer Press, New World…teleplays and documentaries on PBS, ABC and NBC… 50-year colleague of Bob Newhart and 60 year spouse of Chicago actress Joan Spatafora…who is by far prettier than Bob!

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