Guy Debord: On McLuhan’s Global Village as Malicious Gossip

The Dark Fantastic: Literature, Philosophy, and Digital Arts


Guy Debord in his last book Comments on the Society of the Spectacle would mention McLuhan’s acknowledgement that his notions of the Global Village were erroneous and that the ‘pressure of the mass media leads to irrationality’ rather than true democratic and participatory alliances as he once conceived.1 Commenting on this Debord would say,

The sage of Toronto had formerly spent several decades marveling at the numerous freedoms created by the ‘global village’ instantly and effortlessly accessible to all. Villages, unlike towns, have always been ruled by conformism, isolation, petty surveillance, boredom and repetitive malicious gossip about the same families. Which is a precise enough description of the global spectacle’s present vulgarity… (pp. 33-34).

Reading the above I’ve often wondered what Debord’s reaction would have been to Twitter and Facebook. The gossip vines that inhabit these new media-frenzied sink holes are so full of bored and petty conformists that they haunt…

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About dmf

alienist @ large, mostly on foot
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