Understanding Me: Lectures and Interviews
Unbuttoned McLuhan! An intimate exploration of Marshall McLuhan’s ideas in his own words
In the last twenty years of his life, Marshall McLuhan published – often in collaboration with others – a series of books that established his reputation as the pre-eminent seer of the modern age. It was McLuhan who made the distinction between “hot” and “cool” media. It was he who observed that “the medium is the message” and who tossed off dozens of other equally memorable phrases from “the global village” and “pattern recognition” to “feedback” and “iconic” imagery.
McLuhan was far more than a pithy-phrase maker, however. He foresaw – at a time when the personal computer was a teckie fantasy – that the world would be brought together by the internet. He foresaw the transformations that would be wrought by digital technology. He understood, before any of his contemporaries, the consequences of the revolution that television and the computer were bringing about. In many ways, we’re still catching up to him.
InUnderstanding Me, Stephanie McLuhan and David Staines have brought together eighteen previously unpublished lectures and interviews by or involving Marshall McLuhan. They have in common the informality and accessibility of the spoken word. In every case, the text is the transcript taken down from the film, audio, or video tape of the actual encounters – this is not what McLuhan wrote but what he said. The result is a revelation: the seer who often is thought of as aloof and obscure is shown to be funny, spontaneous, and easily understood.
From the Hardcover edition.