I pointlessly went down to school today. I couldn’t find some files I thought I had on a computer there so I dragged my sorry body to King’s Cross on a packed Saturday afternoon. While on the bus I was thinking about what to write for my weekly blog post. Then I suddenly smelled boozy BO and realised that the person who’d just sat two rows behind me had been out since last night, at least. In London it seems that people avoid interacting with strangers like the plague; this practice is reserved for outcasts and the out-there mad. Going back to the junkie… he started talking to a guy that looked like a garden gnome coming to town in plain clothes by saying, “Where are we heading to? Nothing makes sense anymore. Look at the cartoons: once there was Looney Toons, Bugs Bunny, Tom and Jerry. Now cartoons all look the same. They say we are all the same, but this is bullshit! We are not the same, we are different! Look at me, I am not the same as a smart guy, we are different!” I don’t know why but I imagined what Marshall McLuhan would have made of the man’s talk. The father of modern media theory, whose most famous quote is “the medium is the message” had other lesser known expressions. One was “the man from the street”. I remember thinking it was hilarious; that it had something patronising and brutal about it at the same time. Was the junkie on the bus the 2019, London-version of the “the man from the street”? McLuhan would probably have reminded him that the content of the media is not what matters but the media itself. Materials for a blog post can be found in the most unexpected places; even from a junkie on the bus. The man was right though, cartoons have changed a lot since the Looney Toons, along with society.
Going back to the blog’s subject, that is animation, I found these amazing shorts commissioned by Al Jazeera and created by Daniel Savage about Marshall McLuhan.
The series is part of the Listening Post’s project: Media Theorised and I recommend it to anyone who may feel like the junkie on the bus.