Norman Mailer & Marshall McLuhan Debate the Electronic Age

There’s nothing new about it. Major periods of technological change have always engendered dislocation and debate. Some resist the changes wrought by new technology, and others embrace them. 1968 brings us back to one such moment, when the American novelist Norman Mailer and communication theorist Marshall McLuhan appeared on the CBC program, The Summer Way, to debate the relative merits of our Electronic/Information Age. Are we alienating ourselves as we push the electronic envelope? Or have we entered a value neutral state (if not something better)? The two big thinkers hash out the question for 28 minutes. You can watch the conversation in its entirety (28 minutes) on YouTube.

via Rough Type

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  • Victoria says:

    McLuhan accurately predicts Jihadism and the Taliban with “violence as a search for identity”, but poor Mailer, the obsessive Victorian materialist, labours, his own identity rapidly eroding by the minute as though on acid, and a contact high from the point of McLuhan’s early reference to “psychedelic”. Intimidated by McLuhan, he appears to have little appreciation of metaphor (for a writer) and unable to make such leaps to philosophize. An ersatz Hemmingway in juxaposition. But then, even Hemmingway was no Hemmingway…propelled by primal fear.

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