The premier issue of a new magazine in Canada contans
a review by Lewis Lapham of a new book on Marshall
Mcluhan (what else do you expect in Canada?)
Lapham, among other things, made the point that
Mcluhan worte his books to give people methods to
resist the developments in society being driven by
electronic technology. Mcluhan was a conservative who
wished to preserve an older way of dealing with the
world. He was a great admirer of the work of TSE.
This brings up an issue which has puzzled me and
perhaps someone in the group can provide me with some
Mcluhan distinguised between cool and hot media. Hot
media tends to indvidual study and opinion and
interpretation with direct arguments. Cool media is
holistic. Its arguments come from collective social
images and interpretation is done collectively by
communities. Its arguments are highly non-linear. At
least this is how I interpreted the terms hot and cool
from my long ago reading of Mcluhan.
By my interpretation of Mcluhan at least, TWL is a
cool poem. Its arguments are not linear but exist
holisitcally in images that repeat throughout the
poem. It is not a poem that will surrender to the
individual study that a hot medium encourages. Its
interpretation can only be a collective enterprise
with opinions being held and shaped collectively.
I suppose my question is if there is any merit in this
idea. IS TWL a 'cool' poem in the sense of Mcluhan? If
so, then why did TSE hold an attraction for someone
who objected to the creation of cool media?
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