Marshall McLuhan’s ABC: TV Ontario Interviews on the Phonetic Alphabet, Language & Other Topics

25Jan19

A young Eric McLuhan in front of a painting of his father in front of James Joyce

A young Tom Wolfe

Marshall McLuhan’s ABC

In these TVO (TV Ontario) interviews, Canada’s foremost media academic Marshall McLuhan explains some of his more famous insights and aphorisms in key interviews with Mike McManus in 1977 and author Tom Wolfe, while his son Eric McLuhan and wife Corinne, in recent interviews, comment on McLuhan’s legacy and expand on his theories.

The following embed code does not reproduce the video here as it should. However, I have discovered that if you click on the code as if it was a URL, it will have the same effect as a link and will connect you to the 51-minute series of interviews:-

OR, click on this link: https://goo.gl/NMHWz1

TV Ontario has also provided a full transcript of the interviews, which unfortunately presents the interviewee comments of Corinne McLuhan, Eric McLuhan, Tom Wolfe, Marshall McLuhan in capital letters. Mike McManus’s interviewer questions are in small letters:-

A caption reads “McManus. 1977.”
Then, it changes to “Marshall McLuhan.”

Mike says BETWEEN TODAY’S CHILD WHO’S
BEEN RAISED ELECTRONICALLY, AND
WHO MUST LIVE IN A LITERATE
WORLD, AS WE ARE STILL IN A
LITERATE WORLD, THERE’S A
2,400-YEAR GAP BETWEEN THAT BOY
OR GIRL AND HIS PARENTS —

Marshall says AND HIS PARENTS WHO GREW UP
IN A LITERATE SOCIETY.
WELL, THE ALPHABET, THE PHONETIC
ALPHABET, THE BEGINNINGS OF
WESTERN LITERACY, CAME IN ABOUT
500 B.C., AND BETWEEN THEN AND
NOW IS APPROXIMATELY 24, 2,500
YEARS AND WE ARE THE FIRST
POST-LITERATE GENERATION, AS IT
WERE.
THAT IS WE HAVE BYPASSED THE
LITERATE WORLD OF HARDWARE AND
THE LINEAL LEFT HEMISPHERE
TECHNOLOGY.
WE HAVE BYPASSED IT BY MOVING
ONCE MORE AGAIN INTO THE
ALTOGETHER WORLD, THE HOLISTIC
WORLD OF THE RIGHT HEMISPHERE
PEOPLE WHO ARE THE THIRD WORLD
PEOPLE.
SO, WHAT IS HAPPENING TO OUR
CHILDREN IS WE’RE WATCHING THEM
BECOME THIRD WORLD.

Mike says WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

Marshall says WELL, IT MEANS THAT THEY FEEL
MUCH MORE GROUPY AND TRENDY THEN
THEY DO PRIVATE OR
GOAL-ORIENTED.

Mike says I SEE.

Marshall says AND SO THE DISC JOCKEYS
HELPED US ALONG IN A HUGE WAY
AND THERE’S ALL THE NOSTALGIA —
BY THE WAY ONE OF THE BIG MARKS
OF THE LOSS OF IDENTITY IS
NOSTALGIA.
SO, THE VIABLES ON ALL HANDS IN
EVERY PHASE OF LIFE TODAY,
REVIVALS OF CLOTHING, OF DANCES
OF MUSIC OF SHOWS OF EVERYTHING,
WE LIVE BY THE REVIVAL.
IT TELLS US WHO WE ARE OR WERE.

Now a man in his late forties appears in an interview, in a home living room.

A caption reads “Eric McLuhan.”

Eric has short brown hair, a trimmed white beard, and wears a striped shirt.

He says AT THE TIME THAT MY FATHER
MADE THESE REMARKS, WE WERE
WORKING ON THE LAWS OF MEDIA.
REVIVAL IS ONE OF THEM.
EVERY INNOVATION BRINGS BACK
INTO PLAY SOME OLD FORM IN A NEW
WAY, NOT JUST BY RECASTING OLD
FORMS AS ART FORMS, BUT ALSO BY
GIVING THEM A NEW, SORT OF,
SALIENCE.
SO, THE MOTOR CAR, LET’S SAY,
BRINGS BACK THE KNIGHT IN
SHINING ARMOR, THE CAR ITSELF,
THE TIN SUIT IS NOW NOT JUST
SOMETHING YOU WEAR AS CLOTHING
BUT YOU PUT THE HORSE INSIDE IT
ALONG WITH YOU AND YOU HAVE THE
KNIGHT OF THE ROAD.
YOU HAVE THE OLD THING IN A NEW
FORM.
EVERY INNOVATION DOES THIS.
MOVIES COME BACK IN A NEW WAY AS
ART FORMS.
TELEVISION IS A NOW GETTING
RETRIEVED AS AN ART FORM, A
REVIVAL.
THE MINUTE IT STOPS BEING
CASTIGATED IN THE MEDIA AND
BEING REGARDED AS ESTHETIC
EXPERIENCE YOU KNOW THE REVIVAL
IS UNDERWAY AND SOMETHING BIG IN
THE ENVIRONMENT HAS CHANGED.

You can read the entire transcript of the interviews here: https://goo.gl/AiE3KJ


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