Posts Tagged: Marshall McLuhan
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The Autobiography Of Luis Buñuel

How to sum up a Surrealist's autobiography? I haven’t the slightest idea. Luis Buñuel's just-republished My Last Sigh contains, as you might expect, few concrete explanations of anything, but countless provisional manifestoes, an index of cinematic inspirations of bewildering range, more anecdotes than any human has a right to own (he narrowly missed that orgy organized by Charlie Chaplin, but did dismantle a Christmas tree at another party attended by Chaplin—other guests were not amused), and a surprisingly elegiac tone of melancholy. This provides a partial overview, but what else? There’s the family’s pet, an "enormous rat" that accompanied them on trips in a birdcage. This was presumably toted [...]

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Wikipedia And The Death Of The Expert

"Learners are doers, not recipients."—Walter J. Ong, "McLuhan as Teacher: The Future Is a Thing of the Past"

It's high time people stopped kvetching about Wikipedia, which has long been the best encyclopedia available in English, and started figuring out what it portends instead. For one thing, Wikipedia is forcing us to confront the paradox inherent in the idea of learners as "doers, not recipients." If learners are indeed doers and not recipients, from whom are they learning? From one another, it appears; same as it ever was.

It's been over five years since the landmark study in Nature that showed "few differences in accuracy" between Wikipedia and the [...]

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The Mystery Of The 1969 Naked Esquire Photo Shoot

It sounds preposterous, and it is. But the story of Esquire's grand plan to shoot a bevy of distinguished men and women in the altogether is, so far as I know, true. Here's the first paragraph of the unbylined, unheadlined story from the February 1970 edition of The Los Angeles Advocate:

Amazing! But how is it possible there is no record of these scandalous plans, save for a microfilm'd squib in a West Coast gay rag? (Go ahead and look. You will find nothing.) Before consigning this to the realm of the urban legend—albeit a legend that no one seems to know—I ran it by Gerald Clarke, Capote's [...]

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Scholar Finds The Fact That Mitt Romney Somehow Got To Be A Presidential Candidate Totally Amazing

"It is not true that my book Guns, Germs and Steel, as Mr. Romney described it in a speech in Jerusalem, 'basically says the physical characteristics of the land account for the differences in the success of the people that live there. There is iron ore on the land and so forth.' That is so different from what my book actually says that I have to doubt whether Mr. Romney read it. My focus was mostly on biological features, like plant and animal species, and among physical characteristics, the ones I mentioned were continents’ sizes and shapes and relative isolation. I said nothing about iron ore, which is so [...]