Monday, March 06, 2006

Labeling McLuhan

McLuhan is often labeled "postmodern" or "proto-postmodern," or more accurately, I suspect, a modernist in reverse, but I think I want to label him "anti-modernists," not because the label is important but because working through and with McLuhan means working on or through a particular kind of response to "the modern," which also needs to be clearly defined as the mechanical, the objective, the fragmented. McLuhan preferred the organic, and saw organicisim in the electronic, although didn't celebrate the electronic just because he saw echoes of the organic. McLuhan never took the distanced, objective, scientific stance, until he adopted Popper's definition of science as that which can be disproved. His science was the Science of Bacon and the Science of Vico: a human science. Pomo is often used a label to describe someone or some movement that celebrates the fragmentation of modernism (although Modernism is often wrongly associated with wholeness and integration, it seems to me), but McLuhan understood that in the electric age, people seem primarily interested in seeking integration.

This labeling of McLuhan, explaining where he is coming from, will likely come early in the book.

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