Sunday, April 22, 2001

Bob’s Notes | McLuhan with Eric McLuhan at Tony’s Studio, 3 August 1969


NOTE:Timing based on Payday archives.

Dec.13/1014  1178540-3-2-2  on FINNEGANS WAKE at Tony's:

(Part 17 at 2:32 [Eric starts at 16:34])

Tony asks about his new grant

Japanese addresses are based on when the building was built not location

"the Electric Circus world"

people take inner trips (rather than outer trips) and go to Esalen to sob in bathtubs like Alice in Wonderland ("changes her personality with each tear")

New York City ("insular, auditory, nuclear, discontinuous, and unconnected space in extremis" ["street signs are useless"]) created by steamboat rather than railway

effect of the "wall of air conditioners"

crime increases in the summer because space is different from winter indoors (plus speed-up of fast-changing neighbors causes violence)

London has 38 deaths per year (1967) vs. New York City had over 600 deaths per year

sound of an old steel-rimmed wagon wheel on a cobble street (quarries obsolesced by the pneumatic tire) 8:18

clattering steel-shod horses with policemen on them are very effective for deterring violence 9:19
Tony mentions the weirdness of his low-riding Renault (danger of being pissed on by a Great Dane ["help stamp out tall dogs"])

Farley Mowat used pissing to protect himself from wolves near the North Pole (pun on "the DEW-Line") 10:48

the stages for creating and destroying big cities (the ship, railway, the destructive car, the rotting by jet plane)

airplanes now travel faster than the speed of sound (means no more cities [NYC will return to agriculture within a few decades], we now have a "global village", HCE must become an archeologist via the study of city blocks [Tony is the first])

McLuhan chuckles at his insight about Tony's "sound archeology"

today, silly commuters race downtown to use a telephone

McLuhan predicts the Internet (electricity decentralizes - see the Armed Services and the DEW-Line "grids")

Eric and Marshall start explaining FW

ALP episode: "stem or stone" (oral, gossiping washerwomen "scrubbing the unconscious RIVER [hendiadys]")
Irish alphabet (tree, Finn cycle) vs. Roman alphabet (brick, Tower of Babel [Gen.11], HCE the hod carrier and ALP [environmental forces/ear and kinetic])
"tribalbutience" (non-brick stuttering, return to oral)

eye/ear is structure of FINNEGANS WAKE ("Royal Divorce" [feudal/ear vs. Renaissance/eye])
mistaking the electric environment as the "Mystical Body"
Humpty Dumpty (Vico, technologies were "gods" as spelled out in "accurate" fables and myths, Old Testament [pro-pastoral, since Cain] anathematizes the mechanical technologies [the golden calf/money], East/ear vs. West/eye)
"the West shall shake the East..." (wakes the East out of its tribal dream)

"the orb it urbs"
two aspects of the civilized mode: Shem/Hebrew/artist and Shaun/Irish/postman riding backwards through the night pages of FW/tribal memory/bureaucrat ("stem or stone")
day is cliche (eye, tied together) vs. night/dream (scrubbing) is archetype (ear, each item creates its own condition/space, every moment is unique, no connections, depth of repetition)

Finn/ear/all the Hebrews/the whole of mankind seen as one person/the "sleeping giant"/the "people of the dream" (the "volk"/cloud) lies dormant
Shem the Penman is a "phony"/"low sham"/forger of fictions/crosses all social boundaries/restless/always changing into new forms

Shaun is a respectable and conventional oral/tribal man (unchanging, fixed, not restless, "burning would", stable but made of software/least material of substance [sound], very perceptive, art as programmed, "astoneaged"/stunned/paralyzed and can't see the new environment)
Joyce says he's the greatest engineer via the mirror/engine ("spickspookspokesman of the specturesque silentiousness...", one wheel is the square wheel/mirror of art/Perseus vs. head of Gorgon, "funferall/funeral at FW", high art/kulch merges with pop kulch [McLuhan says mockingly that the Balinese say they have no art]), Gombrich's "Art and Illusion" and Havelock's "Preface to Plato" deal with "matching vs. making" (archetypal spaces)

"the medium and the message" is a visually-biased statement, no "content" in acoustic space, baroque spirals

Joyce's "one world burrowing upon another" (tunneling interface) is acoustic space via resonance

the quest for identity (the Gnostic Grail Quest) is all through FW ("a poss of porterpease" [a mash of split peas in porridge-like form] repeated throughout FW) ("mishe" [private identity] means "I AM" in Gaelic - Shakespeare uses this in "Hamlet" ["I am a bad sound/echo of something else"] and also in other plays trying to sort out the private personage from the corporate kings [big famous monologue of "to be or not to be"] [see quote from Henry V] [see Othello's "visual proof"])

McLuhan says the entire FW is contained in the echo of one sentence ("the keys to Given" [the understanding of all the data in the world is given] [McLuhan explains what Nevitt writes later])

more on the book as a visual pun of the mirror (square wheel without "spooks", the ricorso [wheel as emanation and return] as the expurgation/purification of the old technology)

"Alice in Wonderland"

Tony's definition of the specialist (via "one degree")
the obsolescence of the university-educated doctor and engineer

education becomes "a study of the present" (encyclopedic, pattern vs. data, McLuhan says mockingly "the future of the future is the present")

McLuhan comments on Picasso's "simultaneously hand, ear, etc."

"help beautify junkyards" (created by the obsolescence of the steel wheel [the pneumatic tire] via the quarry and the reinforced concrete)

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