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General News    H4'ed 1/19/22

Graham Majin on Marshall McLuhan (REVIEW ESSAY)

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Duluth, Minnesota (OpEdNews) January 19, 2022: The New York Times op-ed columnist Thomas B. Edsall just published a piece titled "Why Millions Think It Is Trump Who Cannot Tell a Lie" (dated January 19, 2022):

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I mention Edsall's somewhat lengthy piece to say that, apart from its length, the young and brash conservative British journalist Graham Majin's much lengthier piece "Bitter Fruit: Marshall McLuhan and the Rise of Fake News" in Quillette (dated January 18, 2022) could probably have been published somewhere in the New York Times (which regularly publishes pieces by highbrow conservative columnists such as David Brooks).

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For my most recent critique of David Brooks, see my OEN article "Is America Falling Apart at the Seams?" (dated January 14, 2022):

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In any event, I am writing here primarily to call attention to something I have called attention to before about Marshall McLuhan. In the posthumously published 1987 book Letters of Marshall McLuhan, selected and edited by Matie Molinaro, Corinne McLuhan [Marshall McLuhan's widow], and William Toye (Oxford University Press), we find Marshall McLuhan's letter to his former student and lifelong friend the American Jesuit Renaissance specialist and cultural historian Walter J. Ong (1912-2003; Ph.D. in English, Harvard University, 1955) dated September 21, 1957. In it, McLuhan says, in the postscript, "Find much sense in Bern. Lonergan's Insight" (page 251).

Because Majin discusses McLuhan's 1962 pioneering book about the print culture that emerged in Western culture after the Gutenberg printing press emerged in the 1450s in Europe titled The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (University of Toronto Press), I want to note here that in it McLuhan references Ong's 1958 pioneering book about print culture titled Ramus, Method, and the Decay of Dialogue: From the Art of Discourse to the Art of Reason (Harvard University Press). For Ong, the "Art of Reason" in his subtitle refers to the Age of Reason (also known as the Enlightenment).

Now, the Canadian Jesuit philosopher and theologian Bernard Lonergan's philosophical masterpiece Insight: A Study of Human Understanding was published in 1957.

Perhaps I should also mention here that Lonergan's philosophical masterpiece Insight: A Study of Human Understanding, 5th edition edited by Frederick E. Crowe and Robert M. Doran has been reprinted, with a suitable editorial apparatus, as volume three of the Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan (University of Toronto Press, 1992).

In 2006, the Institute of Jesuit Sources in St. Louis published the 500-page book titled The Dynamism of Desire: Bernard J. F. Lonergan, S.J., on The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola by the American Jesuit James L. Connor and Fellows of the Woodstock Theological Center. It is basically a commentary on Spiritual Exercises, informed by Lonergan's thought.

Among other things, Connor works with the four levels (or moments) of consciousness that Lonergan first delineates in his philosophical masterpiece Insight: A Study of Human Understanding (1957):

(1) "the empirical level on which we sense, perceive, imagine, feel, speak, move";

(2) "the intellectual level on which we inquire, come to understand, express what we have understood, work out the presuppositions and implications of our expression";

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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

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