Friday, June 16, 2006

Chesterton and Marshall McLuhan

John Peterson (whom incidentally, I noted Dale Ahlquist dedicated his newest book, Common Sense 101 to) gave the second talk last night. I didn't know a thing about Marshall McLuhan, didn't even recognize his name (now my ignorance is showing). And he did not recommend that we actually read McLuhan, he only showed how his work was/is influential in our culture. It was a very good talk.


  1. Yes, McLuhan is something of a prickly pear for Chesterton fans. While he undoubtedly found something to admire in Gilbert (or at least his thought), he was also of the type that looked down on people for being so vulgar as to find his poetry pleasing or his sentiments endearing.

    Says he, "it is always embarassing to encounter the Chesterton fan who is keen about The Ballad of the White Horse or the hyperbolic descriptive parts of Chesterton's prose."

    That jerk.

  2. It sounded like despite the fact that McLuhan had admired and read Chesterton early on in his life, his thought took some pretty wild turns later on, and he basically got derailed. Poor man.

  3. I have to say that whatever his ideas and judgments and what we think of them now, McLuhan was a deeply religious man and a staunch, devout, rosary-toting Roman Catholic to his last breath on earth.
    ~ John Peterson
    Oh, and incidentally, some may find it interesting to learn that he served as an advisor to the Second vatican Council.

  4. Yeah, he did not "get derailed." He helped draft what is probably the least known or least read document of Vatican II, its constitution on the use of the media. One of the provisions of this document, I understand (going by secondary sources here; I haven't actually read it) is a strong recommendation AGAINST using microphones and other public address systems at Mass, which seems to be to be a particularly McLuhan-esque touch. :-)

  5. OK. I did say I didn't know anything about McLuhan, and now you know I meant it.

    If you want to know more about McLuhan, read a book, or talk to John Peterson next time you see him.


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