Der kanadische Journalist Peter C. Newman hat vor einigen Jahren zufällig Tonbänder wiedergefunden, auf welchen er um 1979 Gespräche beim Mittagessen mit Marshall McLuhan aufgezeichnet hat. Einige Passagen dieser Gespräche hat Newman 2013 im Nachrichtenmagazin Maclean’s veröffentlicht. Nachfolgend finden sich ausgewählte Aussagen McLuhans daraus:
»[…] Some of my fellow academics are very hostile, but I sympathize with them. They’ve been asleep for 500 years and they don’t like anybody who comes along and stirs them up.
[…] The new human occupation of the electronic age has become surveillance. CIA-style espionage is now the total human activity. Whether you call it audience rating, consumer surveys and so on—all men are now engaged as hunters of espionage. […]
The biggest job in the world will be espionage. Around the world, people are spending more and more of their time watching the other guy. Espionage at the speed of light will become the biggest business in the world. […] The possibilities of espionage are unlimited. On the other hand, the needs of espionage become also intense. When anybody can rip off a few million by pressing a couple of buttons on a computer, the need for being watched gets bigger and bigger.
[…] I spent a whole year investigating the satisfactions of big power, and came up with just about no answers at all. It’s very difficult to find the satisfactions of power in a world in which everybody is powerless. […] It’s a game. That’s the only satisfaction in terms of power quite apart from wealth, apart from ownership or possessions—there’s no community in which to enjoy power.
[…] People tend to acquire multiple jobs. And with the computer at home, the cottage economy returns via the computer terminal at home. The idea of going out to work becomes obsolete.
[…] The public becomes the content of TV by extreme study of audience response. With increased espionage, the more you know about the public, the more they take over the show. […]
[…] The classroom is becoming obsolete. The education thing is completely up for grabs. Compulsory education will disappear. It’s meaningless. Why should people be compelled to become educated? The right-hemisphere kid, who is a classroom problem, tends to know more about the media than his teachers […].«
- Heute ist die Zukunft von gestern X: »The Assault on Privacy« (Miller 1971/1967)
- Kurz notiert: »Demokratisierung durch Social Media?« (Mediensymposium Band 13)
- Heute ist die Zukunft von gestern XX: »Pushbutton Power« (1978)
- Big Data: Informatisierung und Soziologie
- Long live the Quiet* – Schüchternheit in der Netzwerkgesellschaft (Literaturhinweis)