Uncle Fred is here! "
Forest and the telephone
Marshall MAC LUHAN (January
To present the experiences
that Fred Forest achieved with the telephone since 1972, using
the urban and interurban networks, as well as of the automatic
answering machines, Marshall Mac Luhan wrote for Fred Forest
the following text:
"The uncle Fred is here
(American cliché used by the children to indicate to
their parents that one calls them on the phone) or the telephone
and the spying."
I am delighted with
the tentative of Fred Forest to reveal the mysteries of the
telephone: mysteries too often indebted to the pure and simple
inefficiency of the system. It is only of a dynamic talent
as his to get round this involuntary conspiracy of the silence.
The telephone is the most ignored of the media: only the "
teenagers " understand it, them that wrap themselves to pleasure
in the flex to chat endlessly the feet on the wall. It is
exactly to what invites you this instrument of the most exacting.
This medium challenges you to visualize your interlocutor
while requiring expressly that you make it. It is the instrument
the more kissing and the more kissable. It also has the power
to send you entire where you call: the addressee is destined!
The American children
donít say "uncle Fred is calling" but "uncle Fred is here"
or even "uncle Fred is one the phone", that is to say the
uncle Fred is on the telephone.
The highly literary
minds have horror of the telephone because it makes intrusion
in their private lives, their intimacies: to the children,
that is the same to them because they don't have or no more
private life. To the United States, the only way to escape
the invasion of the telephone is either to take refuge in
car in the embarrassments of the circulation, either to hurry
in meetings of advice, where for the whole administrative
rumination time, we are safe from the telephone calls.
With their installations
at the Eskimos, the technicians of the Bell Telephone Company
of Canada saw to be born again the oldest use of the beginnings
of the telephone: all Eskimos want to participate in all telephone
conversations of the whole community; it was necessary to
put back in service the oldest known telephonic systems: "The
party-line"*. This method is not foreign to the techniques
of most recent spying of the C.I.A.
* Game of words untranslatable
on the "specific politics of a party" and "the mutual telephone
line, several subscribers for a same line".