MM & Christgau (II)

“What makes it even more discomforting is that our former National Pastime has become square. McLuhan and his minions in the big media have almost delegitimized it, and with reason. Baseball is an old-fashioned game. Its pace is so slow that it is now chic to claim to enjoy the gossip of the game more than the contest itself.”
Robert Christgau reviews Jim Bouton’s Ball Four, 1971

MM in Understanding Media:
“The characteristic mode of the baseball game is that it features one-thing-at-a-time. It is a lineal, expansive game which, like golf, is perfectly adapted to the outlook of an individualist and inner-directed society. Timing and waiting are of the essence, with the entire field in suspense waiting upon the performance of a single player. By contrast, football, basketball, and ice hockey are games in which many events occur simultaneously, with the entire team involved at the same time.”

(Graph, based on Gallup polls, showing the relative relational popularity of football and baseball.)

Question: “McLuhan and his minions in the big media” — did such folk exist in 1971? Or is this a paranoid fantasy, similar to (see, upcoming) Pauline Kael’s positing of McLuhan (“McLuhanites,” I think she says) as the destroyer of movies, and indeed of art itself?

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