Yes, I know what you are thinking already, ” And with a blog post heading like that you are not helping your cause any. In post-post-modern blogospheric representation a heading like that it will definitely cost you points.”
Yes, yes, yes, – of course – we know – but, the REASON for the extended headings occasionally to be found here is that it is in itself an obscure literary reference, and bridgehead into a possible new conversation; which, cognoscenti maybe to be able to pick up on from a couple of different angles, [and you are allowed to congratulate yourself if you succeed] or maybe you will simply enjoy the display of linguistic eccentricity.
There WILL be a cost no doubt, it will probably cost us points with some readers, web aggregators, and search engine indexers – what will Google think?
So, to begin.
At one level the lengthiness of the heading – a mere sixteen words – is a rather deliberate reference to Marshal McLuhan and his entire intellectual output, because in his major writings such as The Gutenberg Galaxy, a chapter heading might read something like:
Pope’s Dunciad indicates the printed book as the agent of a primitivistic and romantic revival, sheer visual quantity evokes the magical resonance of the tribal horde, the box office looms as a return to the echo chamber of bardic incantation.
Forty words and three well put together clauses – well done – a goal – something to shoot for anyway.
Marshal McLuhan started out as a medievalist, and cut his teeth as a thinker as a Joyce scholar, so if you detect a certain joycishness in McLuhan’s literary excesses, you would not be mistaken. Most people, however, have forgotten McLuhan as a thinker entirely. Rarely has a major intellectual fallen so completely through the cracks in a single generation, but every time you see “the medium is the message” emblazoned [a medieval concept itself by the way] on a tee-shirt, or hear some politico spout off about our “global village”, you are of course encountering a novel intellectual achievement of McLuhan’s hollowed out to its rind.
McLuhan as an intellectual can be pretty tough going, he cuts you absolutely no slack at all, he assumes you have a read EVERTHING, and have understood it, that you have a complete knowledge of literary criticism, modern film, popular print journalism, and popular culture. Petty intellectuals that we are around here, we are unable to rise quite to that level of scholarship; which is why we are writing a blog, rather than say, lecturing at a private university or establishing whole new fields of research.
This is not a post about Marshal McLuhan, [though there might be one at some future date after I have caught up some more on my reading] it is more an introduction to the way we think around here, and about noticing the virus like strains of language that inhabit our minds and personalities, because our reference doesn’t end with McLuhan or begin with Joyce either, this whole stream of consciousness traces back to me, and thus forward possibly to you, originally through my uncle Terrence [McKenna] who put me onto both McLuhan and Joyce in the first place.
It is by this back-channel evolutionary succession that I have inherited this extragenetic contagion of irishness in turn from Joyce, to McLuhan, to McKenna, to Wygart, the only non-Irishman in the lot. Go figure. It is for this reason that I have adopted all three as intellectual uncles of mine – my pseudo-Irish roots if you will – it’s not easy, if you can imagine, trying to stage manage this civil war between the irish side of the brain and the scottish side of the brain, or the english side of the brain and the french side of the brain.
So how many sides of the brain do YOU have?
So what you are really supposed to notice, pay attention to, and comment upon is how many different strains of intellectual voices you have successfully internalized in your own thinking – can you hear them in action? do you know who they are and where they came from?
Do you know your extragenetic roots?*
So, how’s THAT? for a topic? a deep idea encapsulated in the tastelessness of a prolonged post heading, not even in its sense or its linguistic coding, in exactly the same way that much of the functioning of the biochemistry of life is carried in the physical structure of the proteins, DNA & etc which is determined as much by the quantum electrodynamics of atomic valance structure as it is by the information carried in the genetic code. Information embedded in structure not just in code – an idea worth talking about?
Something to think about.
* I will prefer ‘extragenetic’ here because [if you are paying attention to these things] the word ‘exogenetic’ is starting to take on the connotation of genetics of life existing outside of Earth’s biosphere.