McLuhan and his “think bombs”

Posted: October 27, 2009 in All and Sundry, commentary, Media Design
Tags: , ,

photo by Jean Claire Dy (2009)

Yesterday was the second best lecture I’ve ever attended in my Understanding Media Studies class. The first one was of Douglas Rushkoff who is such an engaging speaker and thinker, I didn’t catch my mind trailing off to other places like it always does in a 2-hour lecture. His ideas deserve another blog entry.

But yesterday was different. Yesterday we had Prof. Kit Laybourne, author of the book Mediapedia, which is required reading in my concepts class and which I have thoroughly read and loved. Laybourne teaches at the New School too in subjects like the Producer’s Chops and Producing and Directing the Short. What made me interested in him was that aside from being an educator, he is also an accomplished media practitioner. When he mentioned that he was one of the pioneering team for Nickelodeon (his wife created it), and that he worked making IDs for MTV, I knew I had to listen to the man.

His lecture was very practical, and yes, informed by media design. Even his powerpoint presentation was well done. And over-all his lecture was interactive so that he made us read, do, and ponder on long after it was done.

One of the things that struck from his lecture was his story about Marshall McLuhan and his “think bombs.” Prof. Laybourne mentioned that what was interesting and good about McLuhan’s thinking is that it is focused onprobes, not truisms and aphorisms,” his thoughts are “open-ended” and relies on “wordplay.” These are somewhat required characteristics of a good media thinker.

And he showed us what he meant by displaying some of McLuhan’s “think bombs,” and made us write down one that has caught our attention.

I wrote: “News, far more than art, is artifact. “

And true enough, last night, I couldn’t stop but think about this idea over and over.

There were so many good stuff that Prof. Laybourne shared to us yesterday. Each part of his three-part lecture is a take-home learning experience, something you can’t shove away for next season’s examination, because each learning confronts you like never before not because the ideas are novel, but because they are familiar and taken for granted.

If I have to summarize my emotions and realizations after the lecture, I would say that I look forward to probing some more of the media minefield in the coming days. It’s scary yes, because it might involve veering away from a study plan that took me a year to do with IFP’s assistance, but at the same time, it is exciting in that it involves me treading in unknown waters and watching how the fish learned to swim.

  1. stickslip says:

    It’s good to know you are enjoying school!

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