I Don't Necessarily Agree With Everything I Say
I don't necessarily agree
with everything I say.
but wish you wouldn't to copy me,
and change your 'nay' to 'yea.'
Do you always with yourself concur?
How boring, if that's so!
All the same, I'm sure that I'd prefer
a 'yes' from you, not 'no.'
I don't care if you don't agree with 'yes, '
but just want you to leave
behind you 'no's, although you may confess
that it's in fact what you believe.
Though you do not agree with what I think,
I feel quite sure you may
pretend to do, not giving any wink
implying 'yea' means 'nay.'
gershon hepner's Other Poems
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Poet's Notes about The Poem
McLuhan's prose was nearly always as unreadable as that sentence, impossibly dense, yet weirdly clairvoyant; and his readiness to produce the very quippy slogans he saw as prefiguring a future in which the medium would be the message ensured that he would win fame and opposition in equal measure. In his own mind, he was more diagnostician than celebrant, essentially sending up flares to warn of the split-screen, sedated, and unreal post-literate world he saw coming. But his inability to resist a bad pun or an easy paradox (money, he proclaimed, was the poor man's credit card) and his knotty and self-enclosed readings left him sounding like a proto-text-messager or a pioneer of the sound byte (as well as one of its earliest critics) . It is easy to see him today as a kind of Dr. Frankenstein of media theory, who set into motion precisely the monster that would first throw its arms around him and then gobble him up.
Still, it's startling to turn back to his writing now and realize how much more durable he is than just a figure who appears on the masthead of Wired magazine as 'Patron Saint' or the old guy who showed up in Woody Allen's Annie Hall. 'For tribal man, space was the uncontrollable mystery. For technological man it is time that occupies the same role, ' he wrote (in an essay, characteristically, on jukeboxes) , anticipating the way that we feel less and less bounded by geography, yet more and more hostage to the moment. 'To high speed change no adjustment is possible, ' he proclaimed, in 1960. 'We become spectators only and must escape into understanding.' It's possible, in those words, to hear not just the neutrality of a man who would much rather have been with his books, rereading Finnegans Wake, but also precisely the bland fatalism that his detractors always misread. Then, as if to remind us that his essays were often Emersonian 'probes, ' a throwing off of possibilities, he also tells us, 'I don't necessarily agree with everything I say.'
You are so self-aware! This is funny! Delightful.
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