Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Medium is the Message

Is your medium your message? Hummm. Don’t know whether or not I really understand the concept. But I did meet Marshall McLuhan once (sort of).
I was taking a Religion and Film course while I was at university, and this particular day, Winter’s Light—yet another depressing Bergman film—was on the agenda. My boyfriend at the time and I showed up late as usual and squeezed in beside an elderly man at the back. I say “elderly” but I have to laugh because he was probably the age I am now.
It didn’t take long before I was snuffling into my Kleenex. I cried through most of the movies on the course because they were full of despair and provided me with the perfect opportunity to vent about everything real or imagined that was bothering me at the time…mainly the boyfriend. (We saw Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow Up fourteen times, so that should give you some idea of what kind of relationship we had).
Anyhow, about halfway through the movie, my boyfriend leaned over and nudged me. “You’re sitting beside Marshall McLuhan,” he whispered loudly. Wow! Really? I didn’t want to be rude and rubberneck, so I rolled my eyes around as far as I could to the left without turning my head. And there was Marshall McLuhan…eyes rolled around as far as they would go to his right looking back at me. Then he winked and we both burst out laughing.
I was too intimated to speak to him, but if this happened now I’d ask him a few questions, such as, “How does despair relate to spirituality?” or “What does your book really mean anyway?” One good thing about getting older (at least in my case) is that I’m more interested in finding out answers to my questions than worrying about whether or not I sound like an idiot when I’m asking them.


Ronna said...

Pretty cool, Susan. I studied Marshall McLuhan in university so am envious of your brush with greatness!

Mary Ambrose said...

I would have loved to have met Marshall McLuhan too. I dropped out of his course way back in university but I took a writing course from his son a number of years ago.