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That seems to be both exemplified and proven wrong in this scene.On the one hand, the argument reaches through the screen and asks the viewer to take part in the argument; but on the other it is interested in being absolutely, certainly right, in a way that Mc Luhan suggests film is doomed to do.
He does that twice over, since the demolishing of the argument is actually a kind of fantasy, and it takes a particular kind of arrogance to believe that you know about a writer with such certainty that you'd know what they were thinking.But just as he is praised for his predictions of the transformative power of the internet, he should be heeded in his terrifying warnings about what it could be used for.Professor Mc Luhan is remembered for the phrase "the medium is the message", signifying his belief that it was the way someone receives information that mattered as much as or more than the actual information itself.Marshall Mc Luhan is being celebrated by a Google doodle, which claims him as the man who predicted the internet and the impact it would have.But he was also the man who foresaw the many dangers that it now poses to us."A computer as a research and communication instrument could enhance retrieval, obsolesce mass library organisation, retrieve the individual's encyclopedic function and flip it into a private line to speedily tailored data of a saleable kind." What Professor Mc Luhan is talking about sounds a lot like the internet, but his predictions actually came decades before the web arrived.
The internet itself has proven Professor Mc Luhan more right than he might ever have imagined, allowing him to emerge from the occasional mockery to which he has been subjected.
It seems a prescient warning about the ways that the most powerful things about the internet – its ability to bring people together in communities and alter the ways we see the world – would be harnessed by private companies, who would be able to change our world just as profoundly.
Today much of Professor Mc Luhan's global village takes part in private spaces: the main town square is Facebook, which is run for commercial profit, limiting the things that can be discussed and hoovering up data on what people talk about to sell it to advertisers.
That would have the effect of creating a "global village" – one of many catchy, influential phrases that he coined – one which could transform the way that people understand and interact with each other in the most profound ways.
And Professor Mc Luhan didn't only seem to predict the internet in broad, philosophical terms.
That in turn demonstrated both the power of and the problems with the way the media can shape our understanding.