Tango Tangle

Thanks to the great restorer at ToTango who explains that we do when we dance.

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: Re: Community, Audience, Public
From:    "Keith Elshaw"
Date:    Mon, April 2, 2001 5:40 pm
To:      "mcluhan-l"


I'm a lurker ... been watching the list for a few months, but have never
felt prompted to join in.

I'm writing to say that your email is the most interesting one to me that I
have seen. The answer to your questions in the first paragraph is, as I
assume you believe, "all of the above."

I have a passion for Argentine Tango. When we dance, it is at one and the
same time a solitary interior experience - that is only possible because you
are +sharing+ the movement and the music's evocations with another person in
your embrace; you're lost in your own world. But, you need/want to please
your partner and stimulate them to stimulate you; and you can't help but be
aware of the watchers. So, perhaps you add a little something to show what
you've got.

I always thought Marshall did this. It was for himself, in conversation with
a partner, knowing the world was forming an opinion. With a sense of humour,
he liked to throw in a little something to show what he could do.

Self plus tout le monde. More fun than isolation. Even though we feel it's
only for ourselves in the end.

We all know he wouldn't have sat there every day watching this list. He knew
it would happen - made him chuckle at the thought. He probably hopes people
have the good grace to throw in something extra for show every once in a

I hear his gales of laughter over the seriousness of the server thread.

"And that's the he and the she of it."


Keith Elshaw

From: Francois Lachance
Reply-To: “mcluhan-l”
Date: Sun, 01 Apr 2001 13:20:29
To: “mcluhan-l”
Subject: Community, Audience, Public

I wonder what Marshall McLuhan would say about how participants in online
activities construe their involvement. Do they think of acting as members
of a community? Do they describe the experience in terms of being part of
an audience or performing before an audience (what I like to call the
fishbowl dimension of the epistolary which is not limited to letter
exchange in electronic form)? Do they take up the vocabulary of civil
society and construe themselves as a public?

Community, audience, public, theses are terms that of course crop up in
McLuhan’s pronouncements. To what degree would McLuhan entertain the
hybridity of these mental spaces. We know that he was a keen observer of
what happens when people coming from different mental universes collide.

A community of scholars needs an audience. I leave you to work through the
square of oppositions in a six term relation. Can the tetrads handle

Community Community
Audience Audience
Public Public

Community:Audience:Public :: Community:Audience:Public


I wonder how such a line of thinking might nuance the historiography of
scholarly enterprises. A while ago back in 1997 (in that other century), I
wrote published this:

Every institution pays the cost of not accounting for actual
access. There is a simple question here. Of whom to whom by
whom? Academia is, in a strong sense, the site of exchanges.

There was a time when auditing courses was free. There is
nary an institution that set its counters to keep track of such a
service. The audience was not seen as a contributor to the
college life. The community was intramuros including the
invisible college of researchers and professors tied together
inter-institutionally by disciplinary lines. The dominant
mindset was that of community of scholars on the one hand
and general public on the other. CMC has allowed more
people to understand that this was never the case. That along
with public and community there was audience.


I’m not quite so sure that Computer-mediated communication (CMC) has
allowed more people (absolutely, yes but in relative per capita terms, not
so sure) to gain an even greater appreciation for “audience” and its hybridity.
The factors may have something to do with attitudes towards technology as
much as values that shape technology’s role in society. It seems that the
meanings people bring to the situations they live in and through affect
the media they choose to adopt and the messages they wish to convey. The
meaning is not the message. The meaning is not the media. The meanings
mediate what relations are formed in people’s minds between media and
messages. I fear I’m drifting away from matters McLuhan here and hope
someone in the audience can find an apt quotation from the guru.


Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large
some threads tangle in tassels, others form the weft

List Owner: George Sanderson   Moderator: Peter Montgomery
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And so for day 2650

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