The thing to remember is that McLuhan was interested in
how media shape perceptions -- the whole perceptual process.
That has far more power in shaping society than what
is perceived. On one occasion, a TV interview I think,
McLuhan said the power of the medium vs the power of the
message is about in the same ratio as the power of an
H Bomb vs the power of the label on the H-bomb.
McLuhan very much liked Poe's Maelstrom story.
He liked how the central character saved himself from the
vortex through pattern recognition. Mac saw himself
in a similar position, his vortex being the transforming
electronic environment. He was looking for patterns to hang
onto. He like TWL because it is a carefully choreographed
set of perceptual patterns which reflect the modern world.
It is a tool for survival. There are hints of the ARTS as
Saviour ala Arnold here.
From: Carrol Cox [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Thursday, October 09, 2003 6:05 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Is TWM a 'cool' poem in the sense of Mcluhan?
Tom Gray wrote:
> --- Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > The print medium in itself is hot, as I remember.
> > You can't fudge around with the letters.
> TWL always appears to me to be a collection of written
> images. It is almost like a written movie or a book of [CLIP]
I was never too impressed with McLuhan's hot & cool media, but IF you
are going to make use of that distinction, you _MUST_ not bring content
into the discussion. You may or may not be correct about The Waste Land,
but you merely confuse your discussion by trying to wrench a discussion
of content into a framework which claims that The Medium (NOT the images
or the word-meanings) is the Message.
If you want to talk about any poem in McLuhan's terms you have to
pretend that you don't know the language. But then again, as Peter
points out, McLuhan never developed this much, so I guess you can do
anything with you like.
There was a real feeling in _The Medium is the Message_ that wht the
writer (or the radio speaker) is saying doesn't really make much
difference. A reading of The Waste Land over the radio would carry the
same message as the commercial that followed the reading and the
newscast that followed that, while the text of The Waste Land that you
have before you would carry the same message as any romance off the drug