“I met McLuhan only once…”

“I met McLuhan only once, on a Toronto radio panel in the 60′s, and I managed to make him sulk visibly for a brief moment before I hastened to smooth things over out of my genuine respect for him as a scholar. He had been trotting out his absurdist litany of ‘the plays of Beckett, Pinter and Ionesco.’ When he repeated the litany, I complained — specialist that I am — that there were vast differences between the playwrights, as well as striking similarities. Looking back over this very trivial incident, I wonder if I’m as much of a specialist as I think I am. From the beginning of my career, I have been yearning for a unified-field theory of all the arts, with the cinema serving, perhaps, as the emotional fulcrum. The point is that I may always have been closer to McLuhan than I imagined. Curiously, I began my seminal essay on the auteur theory with a quote from Kierkegaard, and McLuhan’s Wake ends with McLuhan quoting Kierkegaard: ‘We can only understand our life backward, but we can only live our life forward.'”
Andrew Sarris, “McLuhan’s Media Maelstrom Sucks in Mad Dog Moore,” New York Observer, April 7, 2003

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