McLuhan on moral indignation


marshall mcluhan


Serious public discourse is regularly contaminated, interrupted or entirely prevented by people who insist on dictating to their fellow citizens about how to live based on their own biases or prejudices. Extreme conservatives and religious fundamentalists are chronic abusers here. A frequently used tactic, noted  by an acute critic of effect and nuance in speech, actions and media:

Moral indignation is a technique used to endow the idiot with dignity.” ––Marshall McLuhan

Think Fox TV, Newt Gingrich, Tea Party, the Koran-burning minister, homophobes, etc. Interestingly, McLuhan always insisted that TV wasn’t primarily a visual media, but an aural and  tactile media, an observation that helps to explain the power of simplified moral indignation (which disrupts the non-emotional routine), so easily misused by charlatans and know-nothings at the expense of thought and complexity.

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