Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Currently on the tank behind my toilet bowl is Marshall McLuhan's propositional tour de force, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (1964).

Leafing through this book I am reminded how important it was to this city's emerging interdisciplinarians (artists such as Iain Baxter), who were already familiar with McLuhan as a magazine essayist, but also to those critical of the culture industry (artists such as the Frankfurt School-influenced Jeff Wall), an industry that McLuhan took for granted -- when he wasn't taking money to advise IBM.

In a chapter entitled "Comics", McLuhan provides a quote from the French novelist Stendhal, who, when speaking of his characters, has this to say: "I simply involve my people in the consequences of their own stupidity and then give them brains so they can suffer."

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