McLuhan on roles, media and satire
In the aftermath of l'affaire Givewell, Gifthub and MetaTalk have been engaged in a lively chat re online interaction and philanthropy.
This morning Phil posted a provocative on how satire and parable keep the wayward self in check. This discussion reminds me of Marshall McLuhan's observations on roles and humor in the contemporary media economy.
As McLuhan noted, jobs and goals have morphed into roles, as we now assume an array of diverse identities adapted to various media environments. The roles of artist and clown are similar in they each stand perpendicular to the environments in which they're immersed. Humor in particular plays a valuable role in exposing hidden assumptions and providing a forum for otherwise unaccepted thoughts. It's public relations not in the sense of craven advertising but providing a medium for multiple roles to relate--outsiders can express grievance without penalty and insiders can learn what they're doing wrong.
The picture above contains one of McLuhan's favorite aphorisms in this regard, taken from the Marshall McLuhan Distant Early Warning card deck. The full set is available for viewing here.
Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: McLuhan on roles, media and satire.
TrackBack URL for this entry: