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Invitation to Book Launch: B.W. Powe’s Marshall McLuhan & Northrop Frye: Apocalypse & Alchemy , York University, Toronto

McLuhan Galaxy - Thu, 09/04/2014 - 12:53pm

Book Launch event sept 18  -- opens pdf

The Place:

Room 305 (Senior Common Room), Founder’s College, York University, Toronto

(see York U map here http://www.yorku.ca/web/maps/KEELE_Map.pdf )

The Date & Time:

Thursday, September 18, 2014 – 3:00 to 5:00 PM

Everyone welcome! Refreshments will be served.

Marshall McLuhan and Northrop Frye, by B.W. Powe

B.W. Powe

B.W. Powe


Categories: Blog

Our World – The World’s First Ever Live Satellite TV Broadcast (1967) Included The Beatles & Marshall McLuhan

McLuhan Galaxy - Sat, 08/30/2014 - 9:25am

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“Our World” Satellite TV Broadcast, June 25, 1967

25th June 1967 is a monumental date in the history of television, both for Europe and the world. The Eurovision programme “Our World” was the first live international television production, and it was a two-hour broadcast, around the globe, between 9pm and 11pm CET on a warm Sunday evening, 47 years ago. 

It was an undertaking of incredible complexity, involving control rooms around the world, three geostationary communication satellites (Intelsat I, Intelsat II and ATS-1), over 1.5 million km of cable and ten thousand technicians and programme staff. The programme concept was to link up the world, to demonstrate that we are all part of “our world” – all brothers and sisters. The ground rules for the show included that everything had to be live, and that no politicians or heads of state must be seen.

Four days before the broadcast, five of the participating countries dropped out. The Eastern block countries were protesting at the West’s response to the “Six day War” in the Middle East. But the show went on, with an offer to do it again with them – if ever the Eastern block countries could agree to take part. (Source: http://tinyurl.com/qffhb4z )

*****

The show began with the Vienna Boys Choir singing its theme song in 22 different languages, then switched to Canada for a live interview with media pundit Marshall McLuhan. The program moved to the U.S. and Glassboro, New Jersey, where American and Soviet leaders were meeting, then back to Canada for a rancher and his cattle, followed by segments from a subway construction project in Tokyo, Japan, and a tram station in Melbourne, Australia.

Then the show returned to London for its final segment: Seated on stools were The Beatles, surrounded by a small orchestra and a group of friends and acquaintances sitting on the floor (including Mick Jagger and The Who’s Keith Moon). They sang All You Need Is Love to a prerecorded instrumental and percussion track. After some studio work thereafter — Lennon was never happy with his voice and re-recorded his verses while Ringo Starr overdubbed drums — the song was released as a single on July 7 and was number one on the UK charts for three weeks. It appeared on the albums Magical Mystery Tour and Yellow Submarine. Regular international satellite commercial TV broadcasts would become common in the 1970s. No subsequent special programs were conceived, let alone performed. But for two and a half hours one evening in 1967, it was a big deal. (Source: http://tinyurl.com/p3vx726 )

 *****

Rolling Stone has just published a detailed article about The Beatles’ remarkable performance on that first-ever live satellite broadcast:-

The Beatles agreed to perform a new song as the representatives of the United Kingdom. “It was the first worldwide satellite broadcast ever,” Ringo Starr said years later. “It’s a standard thing that people do now, but then, when we did it, it was a first. That was exciting – we were doing a lot of firsts.

“Engineer Geoff Emerick remembered, “I don’t know if they had prepared any ideas, but they left it very late to write the song. John said, ‘Oh God, is it that close? I suppose we’d better write something.'” Paul McCartney proposed his composition Hello, Goodbye, which got released as a single five months later, but the group opted instead for John Lennon’s All You Need Is Love. They started recording the song on June 14th, with Lennon on harpsichord, McCartney on double bass with a bow, George Harrison on violin (for the first time in his life!) and Starr on drums.

The Beatles did 33 takes on June 14th, picked take 10 as the best, and in the following days, overdubbed vocals, piano (played by producer George Martin) and banjo (Lennon), plus guitar and some orchestral passages. Only on June 24th, the day before the broadcast, did they decide that they would release “All You Need Is Love” as a single – meaning that the world would be watching them cut their next record. Read the entire article here: http://tinyurl.com/mzb59tc . Here are The Beatles performing All You Need is Love for the first time ever on that historic occasion:-

 See over 1.5 hours of the full Our World program here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0H9IhSJ6ZjA

Here is Part 1 of Marshall McLuhan being interviewed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), giving his take on the significance of this historic TV transmission,  prior to the event:-

 And here is Part 2 of that CBC interview:-


Categories: Blog

The Global Village Redux: From Metaphor to Meme

McLuhan Galaxy - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 1:55pm

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A recent online article provides a short history of metaphors for the Internet ( http://tinyurl.com/pnofxro ) and offers an incomplete list of Net metaphors, which includes: information superhighway, infobahn, cyberspace, web, cloud and yes – global village. Metaphors are figures of speech that are especially useful to help us understand new phenomena, especially new technologies, but their usefulness often wanes over time, as familiarity either confirms or disproves their applicability. The Internet is not at all like a superhighway, and so that metaphor has lost its usefulness.

In The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962) Marshall McLuhan provided this definition of global village“The new electronic interdependence recreates the world in the image of a global village” (p. 31). And Marshall McLuhan’s “global village” metaphor has been used with increasing frequency since the arrival of the Internet and especially its social media like virtual communities, Facebook and Twitter. Indeed, arguably the phrase global village has transcended its metaphoric status and has become a meme, which, as applied to the Internet, the OED defines as “an image, video, piece of text, etc., typically humorous in nature, that is copied and spread rapidly by Internet users, often with slight variations” ( http://tinyurl.com/ndthm2x ).

 The following article by Dr. Adam Earnheardt is republished here by permission:-

Realizing the global village

Published Sun, August 24, 2014

It’s difficult for me to imagine life without the Internet and social media. While it’s not the same as looking someone in the eye and having a conversation, in a broader way, I feel more connected to people from all over the world.

After all, we live in a global village.

At some point in your life, you’ve probably heard or used that phrase “global village.” You may have heard it used in reference to the Internet.

The first email you sent must have been exciting. You didn’t have to wait days for someone to get a letter in the mail. And more importantly, the response was usually a lot quicker.

More recently, you may hear “global village” used at the launch of a new social-media app, or in reference to being able to have real-time video chats with people in different countries.

What might surprise you, however, is that the person who is credited with coining “global village” did so in the 1960s — decades before the Internet and social media.

How could he have possibly known about a global village in the 1960s?

Marshall McLuhan, a Canadian philosopher who became a bit of a social icon in the mid-20th century (he had a cameo in the movie “Annie Hall”), predicted this brave new world of email, websites and social media long before the first computers were linked.

“Global village” was a way to explain the extensions we have to other people all over the world through various channels and technologies. In 1962, he said: “The new electronic interdependence recreates the world in the image of a global village.”

OK, I know this sounds like something some old, boring, stodgy professor-type would say. But underneath all of this is a prediction. In a sense, he predicted the Internet and, more specifically, social media.

The thought was that all the different technologies and mediums we use to connect with others and learn about the world would eventually exist in one place. He saw the telephone, television, radio, books, newspapers, and primitive versions of the computer as the heart of the global village.

McLuhan knew what was coming next. We’re used to hearing predictions of doom and gloom (see Nostradamus), but McLuhan’s predictions were (and are), for the most part, hopeful and exciting.

For example, he once said, “The next medium … will transform television into an art form.”

Now think about the way television has evolved in the past five years. Think of the volumes of videos we now access on Facebook, Twitter, Vine and other social-media apps that serve entertain and educate us.

Think of binge-watching and streaming TV shows that features rich characters and complex stories. This is yet another of his predictions in the process of being realized through the creation of new technologies.

Of course, we’re still witnessing McLuhan’s predictions. And although he died in 1980, I wish he were here to tell us what was next.

Maybe he has.

If you’re brave enough and have the time to wade through his dense yet artful prose — it took me five weeks to read McLuhan’s “Understanding Media” — maybe you’ll find the next great prediction. And maybe that prediction will lead you to create the next great invention, and create stronger connections for the global village.

Dr. Adam Earnheardt is chairman of the department of communication at Youngstown State University. (Source: http://tinyurl.com/q8ar3dj )

The Internet is the town square for the global village of tomorrow.


Categories: Blog
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