Friday, October 23, 2009

to Craig Baldwin's TechnoCultural Class uc daivs

Hello Craig Baldwin and Colleagues, #1 from Gerry Fialka, Oct 2009

I so appreciate all your feedback. Please keep it coming. My question is - Why have video games not been used by political activists effectively and widestream? All tools are capable of both - enlightening and not enlightening (and when they do not enlighten - that can be flipped into breakdown as breakthrough). When I asked George Clinton if anger can be a productive emotion, he said "Anger can be both productive and non-productive, it depends how you use it."

In the book "Understanding Me," Marshall McLuhan explored the car as an example of a "medium" in I974: "When I say the medium is the message, I'm saying that the motor car is not a medium. The medium is the highway, the factories and the oil companies. That is the medium. In other words, the medium of the car is the effects of the car. When you pull the effects away, the meaning of the car is gone. The car as an engineering object has nothing to do with these effects. The car is a figure in a ground of services. It's when you change the ground that you change the car. The car does not operate as the medium, but rather as one of the major effects of the medium. So "the medium is the message" is not a simple remark, and I've always hesitated to explain it. It really means a hidden environment of services created by an innovation, and the hidden environment of services is the thing that changes people. It is the environment that changes people, not the technology."

The other important reading is Bob Dobbs' essay in the book "The Legacy of Marshall McLuhan," which is also available uncut at

I can address every one of your entries, and will, if you let me know you'll read'em. MM said he was not starting the fire (meaning he would say I am not for or against video games), he was turning on the alarm (meaning it is very important that we study the effects of video games.) I asked the PBS director who filmed me this morning if video games have been used by political activists, and he said yes. But has it reached big audiences, he said, "No, it's too early." Why is it too early?

Inventing new questions and new metaphors is a miracle, but not impossible.

Hello Craig and Colleagues, #2 from Gerry Fialka

I remembered to forget to mention on the GAN (Great American Novel), McLuhan realized that the GAN was ACTUALLY the front page of the newspaper, not a book that someone could write. So his books are often like the front page, and not like a normal book. Again, just read the titles of his books. This link is a simple quick-read list and will tell you who he was putting-on in each book.

I also remembered to forget to mention Second Life. I am glad it came up in your feedback entries. CHRIS MARKER is an important filmmaker who will not be photographed, and he is active on Second Life. That should tell you something, Mr Baldwin. With his film SANS SOLEIL, he practically invented a new genre - "the essay film." Essential viewing. It is meta-cognition, thinking about thinking, reinventing inventions.