Friday, July 21, 2017

A Quote For Our Time

Or perhaps for all time. Today's Google Doodle honors Marshall McLuhan (whom I had never heard of before) "a Canadian professor, philosopher, and public intellectual." What a job title! Can I be a public intellectual? I think I would be good at it. How much does it pay?

Anyway... There are several quotes listed. This one seems particularly relevant.

A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding.

I'm sure Mr. McLuhan had a point of view also but I suppose he was qualified. After all he was a public intellectual.

Don't know why I'm being so snarky this morning. I really don't know anything about the man. (I think the words "public intellectual" set me off.) Anyway, I like the quote. It seems like an awful lot of people these days are substituting viewpoints for understanding. I think most people don't know the difference.


  1. And McLuhan appears in one of the great movie scenes, ever, early in Woody Allen's Annie Hall:

    Alvy Singer: [the man behind him in line is talking loudly] What I wouldn't give for a large sock with horse manure in it!

    Alvy Singer: [to audience] Whaddya do when you get stuck in a movie line with a guy like this behind you?

    Man in Theatre Line: Wait a minute, why can't I give my opinion? It's a free country!

    Alvy Singer: He can give it... do you have to give it so loud? I mean, aren't you ashamed to pontificate like that? And the funny part of it is, Marshall McLuhan, you don't know anything about Marshall McLuhan!

    Man in Theatre Line: Oh, really? Well, it just so happens I teach a class at Columbia called "TV, Media and Culture." So I think my insights into Mr. McLuhan, well, have a great deal of validity!

    Alvy Singer: Oh, do ya? Well, that's funny, because I happen to have Mr. McLuhan right here, so, so, yeah, just let me...

    [pulls McLuhan out from behind a nearby poster]

    Alvy Singer: come over here for a second... tell him!

    Marshall McLuhan: I heard what you were saying! You know nothing of my work! You mean my whole fallacy is wrong. How you got to teach a course in anything is totally amazing!

    Alvy Singer: Boy, if life were only like this!

    1. Thanks for this. Indeed, life should be like that.