kagablog

November 17, 2012

marshal mcluhan on literacy and killing

Filed under: new media politics (k3) — ABRAXAS @ 3:58 pm

If the arrow is an extension of the hand and the arm, the rifle is an extension of the eye and teeth. It may be to the point to remark that it was the literate American colonists who were first to insist on a rifled barrel and improved gunsights. They improved the old muskets, creating the Kentucky rifle. It was the highly literate Bostonians who outshot the British regulars. Marksmanship is not the gift of the native or the woodsman, but of the literate colonist. So runs this argument that links gunfire itself with the rise of perspective, and with the extension of the visual power in literacy. In the Marine Corps it has been found that there is a definite correlation between education and marksmanship. Not for the nonliterate is our easy selection of a separate, isolated target in space, with the rifle as an extension of the eye.

marshall mcluhan
understanding media – the extensions of man
1964

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