Sharpening the Knives

From a review that appeared in Books in Canada Volume 28, Number 6.

The book in question: The Medium and the Light: Reflection on Religion, Marshall McLuhan.

Surely, McLuhan's editors would grant that rhetoric, especially when allied with dialectic, does concern itself with rules of evidence. Dialectic is the art of asking questions. McLuhan's aphorisms and provocative statements function like questions. McLuhan himself says he provides probes. Pierre Babin, interviewing McLuhan, most felicitously characterizes the probes as "interpretative keys". Surely, it is also the role of editors to parse the questions and situate the probes in their historical context, lest the reader be left with a clanging bunch of keys and no lock to pick.

Without dialectic, McLuhan's grammar loses its critical edge. It does not matter if the sage of Wychwood denies the validity of dialectic. There is no doubt that McLuhan's probes functioned as questions, trenchant questions, and it is up to his editors to strop the text.
I do take to editors to task. But I do like the final image of the barber-editor sharpening the razor. Supporting the text with an adequate critical apparatus.

And so for day 1987