A good video to watch in memoriam: Norman Mailer and Marshall McLuhan on the CBC in 1968. What a match-up. Honestly I’d never seen Mailer on film or video before this moment, and he’s wild.
The artist, when he encounters the present, the contemporary artist, is always seeking new patterns — new pattern recognition — which is his task, for heaven’s sake! His great need… the absolute indispensability of the artist is that he alone, in the encounter with the present, can give the pattern recognition. […]
Marshall speaks of [the artist] as a man who essentially records […] I’d say the artist does that and then he goes one step further: He says whether this is good or bad. And it doesn’t matter if the artist’s finding is right or wrong, because what he does is give the people who come in contact with his art a subtler sense of good and bad — then they have a better ability to determine for themselves whether something is good or bad. The reason I keep hitting this notion is that in all of McLuhan-land, you never find the words “good” or “bad.”
(Via Russell Davies.)