Friday, January 4, 2019

Mailer meets McLuhan, 1968

This is a fine discussion, I think, between two of the most interesting public intellectuals of the 1960s/70s. Different approaches toward making the dire situation better, though I think both find common ground in the way each has diagnosed what's killing society and culture. McLuhan has the temperament, I think, of a social engineer, suggesting that once we appreciate the way media and technology change the perception of the environment or creates the environment in fact, the world would then evolve into his global village. Mailer is more the artist sort, a thinking man's Hemingway, Paul Tillich with a good right hook; he has scant hope in technology, which is controlled by corporations,to improve the lot of humanity over any any amount of time, and sees the necessity of individuals saving themselves by radically breaking with the enforced mediocrity set upon then and placing themselves in situations that would challenge them, cause them to grow, wake up, evolve . I would say, as well, that Mailer flounders a bit, grasping at straws, not fully grasping McLuhan's theories on how the accelerated advances and implementation of digital technology into our everyday lives profoundly changes the way humanity comes to comprehend reality.


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