Wolfe’s revealing McLuhan connection
Congratulations to José Teodoro for his appreciative review of The Message (NOW, November 22-28). He catches the main points of the play, and its many allusions to Joyce and Beckett.
I will just add some information about the cigarette girl. This scene was taken from an essay about McLuhan written by Thomas Wolfe in 1965 entitled What If He’s Right?”
In this essay, Wolfe describes a lunch at a topless bar with McLuhan and some San Francisco media types. McLuhan keeps theorizing over his salad while the two media types ogle a topless waitress who leans over the table. McLuhan is so engrossed in his ideas that he hardly notices. McLuhan would say, “She is wearing us,” meaning “She is putting us on.” Jason Sherman takes this further in his play by having the waitress perfectly explain all of McLuhan’s abstractions. It is a very funny scene, and a tribute to Sherman, who changed it around. Cathy Brown