Hot and Cool have to do with perception.
A consistent thread in McLuhan's work since his thesis
on Thomas Nash and the breakdown of medieval education
is the effect of media on perception.

Some media present a complete perceptual package.
Others present key pointers and leave the reader
to fill in the rest, much as digital video does today.

The total package is HOT because it's all there.
The key pointer package is cool because of all the
  spaces for the receiver to fill in. Jazz syncopation
  is an example.

The dominant media have social effects partially through
the perceptual conditioning they effect.

Mac saw radio in WWII as hot, esp. Hitler's use of it
  (he had a lot of rhetorical training). It presented
  the reader with a perceptual package which was so
  full that it overloaded perception and created hysteria.

Mac saw TV as cool because the TV screen conditoned visual
  perception to be linear (the way the ear takes in sound)
  and interpretive (ie. filling in all the spaces between
  the dots on the screen to create the full internal percept).
  That high brain activity had a soporific and cooling down effect.
  It absorbed energy, rather than radiating it.

There are at least two schools of McLuhan interest:
   those who try to continue his work, and
   those who think he wouldn't want such continuation
      but rather would encourage new creative understandings.
The former are called McLuhanists by the latter, and the latter
are ignored by the former (so let us call the latter anti-McLuhanists).
The latest book would seem to emmenate from the anti-McLuhanists.

-----Original Message-----
From: Tom Gray [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Wednesday, October 08, 2003 5:52 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Is TWM a 'cool' poem in the sense of Mcluhan?

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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