Menippean satire

The importance of menippean satire in McLuhan’s work is overrated. While he did have a great (typically western Canadian) sense of humor and certainly did not disdain satire, including menippean, reading his work from this vantage brings with it a series of problems. Most importantly, menippean satire all too easily suggests that some passage is not understood because it is not intended to be understood. Instead, it is supposed, the passage is intended to ‘jar the reader’ (as the saying goes) with its absurdity or its opacity. So one understands all of McLuhan by understanding the understandable parts and not understanding the not understandable parts.  End of story. The history of the world can be grasped in short order following this recipe.


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