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Jamison analysis of The Medium Is the Massage: an Inventory of Effects

Marshall McLuhan Presentation

 Brief Outline of Presentation:

  •  Brief Biography of McLuhan from several different sources
  • Some Thoughts on McLuhan (From Essential McLuhan):
  • Highlights from McLuhan’s 1966 lecture from the book, Understanding Me: Lectures and Interviews
  • A combination of my analysis and reaction to the book The Medium is the Massage, as well as what others have written about it.
  • Discussion questions are interspersed with the analysis of the text, so please feel free to join in whenever you want.
    • Brief Discussion of several books and essays about McLuhan or written by McLuhan.
  • A look at some of the scholars who influenced or were associated with McLuhan
  • A few annotations from journal essays about McLuhan
  • Bibliography

Technological Determinism:  “A branch of media theory that holds that communication media shape our consciousness of the world, and that the dissemination of new media through society can bring about new forms of consciousness and culture” (Sloan 132).

** Disappointing Fact: At the END of doing this presentation I just read something that I figured I would tell you first. The Medium is the Massage wasn’t composed by McLuhan, but “by Jerome Agel, who had written a profile of McLuhan in 1965, and Quentin Fiore, a first-class book designer. The two selected or commissioned photographs to accompany excerpts they culled and reshaped from various writings and statements of McLuhan’s. McLuhan himself contributed the punning title and approved the text and layouts” (Marchand 203).

1)      Herbert Marshall McLuhan Life in a Nutshell

a)      Born: July 21, 1911 in Edmonton, Alberta (Canada).

b)      Became internationally famous during the 1960s and 70s for his studies on the effects of mass media in thought and social behavior.

c)      His dissertation: “The Place of Thomas Nashe in the Learning of his Time” examined the modern biases in logic and science that culminated in the triumph of the Newtonian Worldview.

d)     Started teaching at the University of Wisconsin in 1936 and St. Louis University in 1937.

e)      Married Corinne Keller Lewis of Fort Worth, TX in 1939

f)       Taught at Assumption University (Windsor, Ontario): 1944-1946

g)      Taught at St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto: 1946-1979, became a full professor in 1952 . He tried to expand the “Catholic way of thinking” while he was there, much to the consternation of many of his colleagues.

h)     Chairman of Ford Foundation Seminar on Culture and Communication, 1953-1955

i)        Co-Editor of Explorations magazine, 1954-1959

j)        Director of Project in Understanding New Media for National Association of Educational Broadcasters and U.S. Office of Education, 1959-1960

k)      Appointed in 1963 by the President of the University of Toronto to create a new Centre for Culture and Technology to study the psychic and social consequences of technologies and media

l)        Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, 1964

m)   Companion of the Order of Canada, 1970

n)     Died in his sleep on December 31, 1980

2)      McLuhan Studied With…:

a)      FR Leavis, Sir Arther Quiller-Couch, EMW Tillyard, HJ Chaytor, and IA Richards.

3)      Intellectual acquaintances:

a)      Communications pioneer Harold Innis, who had noticed McLuhan’s work and was using Mechanical Bride in his classes.

b)      Edmund Carpenter, Edward Hall, Walter Ong, and others.  

“Who Was Marshall McLuhan? – MMXI – Marshall McLuhan.” MMXI – Celebrating 100 Years of McLuhan – Marshall McLuhan. Web. 30 Mar. 2011. <http://marshallmcluhan.com/biography/&gt;.

“McLuhan was still a twenty-year old undergraduate at the University of Manitoba, in western Canada, in the dirty thirties, when he wrote in his diary that he would never become an academic. He was learning in spite of his professors, but he would become a professor of English in spite of himself. After Manitoba, graduate work at Cambridge University planted the seed for McLuhan’s eventual move toward media analysis. Looking back on both his own Cambridge years and the longer history of the institution, he reflected that a principal aim of the faculty could be summarized as the training of perception, a phrase that aptly summarizes his own aim throughout his career.

The shock that McLuhan experienced in his first teaching post propelled him toward media analysis. Though his students at the University of Wisconsin were his juniors by only five to eight years, he felt removed from them by a generation. He suspected that this had to do with ways of learning and set out to investigate it. The investigation led him back to lessons on the training of perception from his Cambridge professors, such as I.A. Richards (The Meaning of Meaning, Practical Criticism), and forward to discoveries from James Joyce, the symbolist poets, Ezra Pound.

One of his most popular books, Understanding Media, first published in 1964, focuses on the media effects that permeate society and culture, but McLuhan’s starting point is always the individual, because he defines media as technological extensions of the body. As a result, McLuhan often puts his inquiry and his conclusions in terms of the ratio between the physical senses (the extent to which we depend on them relative to each other) and the consequences of modifications to that ratio. This invariably entails a psychological dimension. Thus, the invention of the alphabet and the resulting intensification of the visual sense in the communication process gave sight priority over hearing, but the effect was so powerful that it went beyond communication through language to reshape literate society’s conception and use of space.

 

Thoughts on McLuhan (From Essential McLuhan):

McLuhan seemed “futuristic to some and an enemy of print and literacy to others” (2).

Many people were “alienated by the tight, imploded aphoristic style that defeated the narrative bias required for argument. McLuhan disliked argument and the protection of intellectual turf. Rather, he saw himself as an explorer probing the psychosocial complex powerfully changed by the new electric conditions” (2).

“The form of each medium is associated with a different arrangement, or ratio, among the senses, which creates new forms of awareness. These perceptual transformations, the new ways of experiencing that each medium creates, occur in the user regardless of the program content. This is what the paradox, ‘the medium is the message,’ means” (3).

“Considering the radical changes brought about by new media, McLuhan set out to discover what the medium actually does to change the mindscape of the user. That is, media affect us physically. Sitting for hours in front of the tv set produces a unique and characteristic mental state. It is a state that actually reverses the evolutionary alertness by which we have so far survived extinction” (Essential McLuhan 8)

 

 

Before I start with my notes on the actual text, I want to mention some highlights from McLuhan’s 1966 public lecture concerning “The Medium is the Message”. I think if you are going to study McLuhan, it is very helpful to read his lectures, because he actually explains himself more than in his books.

McLuhan, Marshall, Stephanie McLuhan, and David Staines. Understanding Me: Lectures and Interviews. Toronto, Ont.: McClelland & Stewart, 2003. Print.

Quotes:

  • McLuhan titled his lectures, “The Medium is the MASSAGE” and embraced the word. He said that massage made more sense because “it really works us over, it really takes hold and massages the population in a savage way.”
  • Hot and Cool media mean, for McLuhan, meant that either one is participating and involved (cool/television) or not involved at all (hot/movies). He describes the slang word “cool” in his lecture, talking about how his 13 year old child used the word to describe something he thought was neat. He was really interested, and was engaged. McLuhan says he drew the word “cool” from “the world of slang in which it means involved and detached at the same time, like a surgeon operating” (77).
  • On identity: McLuhan discusses how children today work harder than any other previous generation. He also says that as we become more involved with the world (in his eyes through tv and electronics but of course now through the Internet) people lose their private sense of identity because identity used to be connected with simple classification and fragmentation and non-involvement.
  • Discovery: He talks about older people being able to “discover” better, because they are already experts in their field. He also says that with the retrieval system becoming possible with computers, the hope for discovery is so much greater. We will be able to “reveal knowledge in all sorts of new patterns.”
  • His gives a brief explanation of how we interact with the writing of James Joyce: He says we “tend to make changes in the pattern of the things we know. Finnegans Wake is a book built entirely on that system: Casting her perils before swains” Or “though he might have been humble there’s no police like Holmes.” Joyce puns on words so the reader has to be active in interpretation. The reader can see several different meanings.
  • On art: “Anything becomes a work of art as soon as it is surrounded by a new environment.” We appreciate it if it is housed in the unusual.
  • On Printing and The Book: “It was with the coming of the printed book that people suddenly felt the need to reflect, to bounce their image off this public as a form of self-expression, self-portraiture” (83).
  • Internet Foreshadowing: “With circuitry, the reader, the audience becomes involved in itself and in the process of publishing.
  • TV vs. Movies: “In the movie, the audience is the camera; the audience looks out at the environment. With TV, the audience is the environment, is the screen, is the vanishing point” (84).  

 

 

McLuhan, Marshall, Quentin Fiore, and Jerome Agel. The Medium Is the Massage: an Inventory of Effects. Corte Madera, CA: Gingko, 2001. Print.

McLuhan begins with an “Innis-inspired philosophy and history of technology as a mediation of human will, extending and amplifying physical or mental capacities and creating specific sense ratios and patterns of perception. Any new extension reorganizes the whole psychic and social complex. Hence “The Medium is the Message” (Merrin 372).

“McLuhan develops a tripartite history of our extension, from oral-acoustic tribal world, to the phonetic-literate, mechanical world, to the contemporary electronic world” (Merrin 372).

On the Arrangement of the text: According to McLuhan’s son, “McLuhan arranges his materials in broad patterns of interplaying parts, thus engaging us in larger thought patterns – almost the difference between prose and poetry – which enable us to encounter our own conceptual shortcomings in attempting to expand our perceptual awareness. To move beyond simple facts requires deep involvement in the process of communication; content takes care of itself” (McLuhan and Zingrone 8).

I agree with the statement above. As I read The Medium is the Massage I had to take my time and was really engaged in the sections. I noticed that every few pages would thematically belong together. It was certainly not a linear reading experience.

On the Title:

The Medium is the Massage:

When asked why McLuhan left the title Massage instead of Message, Eric McLuhan replied, “Actually, the title was a mistake. When the book came back from the typesetter’s, it had on the cover “Massage” as it still does. The title was supposed to have read “The Medium is the Message” but the typesetter had made an error. When Marshall saw the typo he exclaimed, “Leave it alone! It’s great, and right on target!”

Now there are several possible readings for the last word of the title, all of them accurate: “Message” and “Mess Age,” “Massage” and “Mass Age.”

An Invento-ry of Effects: The placement of the words affect the meaning, and the breaking of the word inventory makes it possible to see several possible words in the one: invent, invention, inventory.

Jermone Agel: “Jerome Agel’s more than forty major books include collaborations with Marshall McLuhan, Carl Sagan, Stanley Kubrick, Herman Kahn, and Issac Asimov. His most recent works include the nonfiction novel Deliverance in Shanghai and The U.S. Constitution for Everyone” (HarperCollinsPublishers).

McLuhan’s Hypothesis from a pretty interesting website called “Media: McLuhan.” E=±mc²=  I doubt it is peer reviewed, but the hypothesis fits with everything else I have read so I kept it in here.  

McLuhan is especially insistent that an analysis of media content is meaningless—misses the point—since it is the medium which carries the lion’s share of the communication. Simply put, the medium affects the body and the psyche in relatively unconscious ways; thus it is more powerful than the message, which largely appeals to the conscious mind.

By placing all the stress on content and practically none on the medium, we lose all chance of perceiving and influencing the impact of new technologies on man, and thus we are always dumbfounded by—and unprepared for—the revolutionary environmental transformations induced by new media” (http://deoxy.org/media/McLuhan).

In the beginning of the book, there is a picture of an egg yolk with words that were printed on it. In the back of the book, there is a special explanation given: “A trademark is printed on a raw egg yolk by a no-contact, no-pressure printing technique. Imagine the possibilities to which this device will give birth” (158).

Also interesting to note that when we look at the picture, we see the egg and think about it – – why did he choose an egg? What does the egg have to do with technology? We hardly read the words on the egg.

The next few pages offer brief commentary, or at least an acknowledgement, of the strange title. When people read the title, they automatically wonder if it was a mistake. They question if they read it correctly. The picture with the man holding a hand to his ear seems to be saying, “Did I hear you correctly? Did you mean to say “massage”?

I think it is interesting that in a highly visual book, McLuhan chooses a picture of an ear, thus suggesting a different sense that is also contradictory. We don’t hear the book; we read the letters and look at the page. But he is also referring back to the times before print when we relied on hearing and speech and memory.

On the next page, McLuhan uses a quote from Alfred North Whitehead, a philosopher and mathematician who “thought all language, as grounded in the discernment and projection of analogies, had metaphysical claims” (Sloan 669). Whitehead’s philosophies were grounded in process metaphysics and were a “major response to logical positivism.”

Logical positivism held that philosophy should aspire to the same sort of rigor as science. Philosophy should provide strict criteria for judging sentences true, false and meaningless, and this judgment should be made by the use of formal logic coupled with empirical experience.

Examples of logical positivists include Moritz Schlick, Rudolf Carnap, Otto Neurath, Friedrich Waismann, Bertrand Russell, and A.J. Ayer. Karl Popper is also often associated with the Vienna Circle, although he was never a member, and he went on to become a main critic of positivism’s “verification” with his own “falsification” approach. (New World Encyclopedia).

Whitehead’s Quote: “The major advances in civilization are processes that all but wreck the societies in which they occur.”

Discussion Question:

McLuhan states, on page 8, that “the alphabet and print technology fostered and encouraged a fragmenting process, a process of specialism and of detachment. Electric technology fosters and encourages unification and involvement.” He juxtaposes this quote with the page before and Whitehead’s claim that “the major advances in civilization are processes that all but wreck the societies in which they occur.”

McLuhan addresses Whitehead’s claim in a less accusatory tone; but nonetheless, accurately foreshadows the emotional response of people during intense change: “Innumerable confusions and a profound feeling of despair invariably emerge in periods of great technological and cultural transitions” and that “anxiety is, in great part, the result of trying to do today’s job with yesterday’s tools- with yesterday’s concepts” (8).

Question:  McLuhan wrote Medium in 1967. How much does his theory about feelings of despair and anxiety (because of changing technology) apply today? Technology continues to change at higher and higher rates. Are we still trying to do “today’s job” with “yesterday’s concepts?” or are we trying to do today’s job with tomorrow’s concepts? Do you agree with Whitehead’s fatalistic approach?

The Purpose of Medium: McLuhan claims that his book is there in order to take a look at what is around. He says that sometimes a “perceptive or incisive joke can be more meaningful than platitudes lying between two covers” (10). The way I see this is as a critical response to the formulaic methodology of education that had developed. McLuhan was warning against taking education too seriously – serious learning could still take place in an informal or nontraditional way.

We see a picture of a woman’s hand with the caption below it: “30-million toy trucks were bought in the U.S. in 1966” (9). In advertising, women are often portrayed in submissive positions, and the hands are made to look fragile, beautiful – like they need protection. Also, the “women’s work” is to take care of the kids, and thus the caption. The picture speaks to people in that one can picture the ideal American woman just by seeing the painted, perfectly rounded fingernails, the perfect little diamond, and the graceful fingers.

One of the most prescient images that McLuhan uses in the book is the fingerprint on page 12. On the next page, he claims that, “the older, traditional ideas of private, isolated thoughts and action are very seriously threatened by new methods of instantaneous electric information retrieval, by the electrically computerized dossier bank – that one big gossip column that is unforgiving…”

Discussion Question:

Back in the 1960’s, society could not have imagined social networking like Facebook or Twitter. McLuhan somehow realized that we were moving in the social networking direction, but he was, at the time, mostly talking about television. How do you think he made this inferential leap?

On page 14, McLuhan brings up Telstar and claims that television technology is more influential than “mom or dad” could ever be.

Telstar is the name of various communications satellites, including the first such satellite to relay television signals.

The first two Telstar satellites were experimental and nearly identical. Telstar 1 was launched on top of a Thor-Delta rocket on July 10, 1962. It successfully relayed through space the first television pictures, telephone calls, fax images and provided the first live transatlantic television feed. Telstar 2 was launched May 7, 1963.  (Wikipedia…I know. This is not a totally credible source, but it was informational).

Also interesting is McLuhan’s trademark changing of words to make an argument. He changes “Whirlpool” to “Worldpool,” and he change the last words of a Shakespeare quote from Stage to Sage: “All the world’s a sage.” So now, the world is in an uncontrollable spinning of information, and we all know too much. Also very similar to James Joyces’ style.

In order to talk about this concept, McLuhan chooses a picture that to me looks like one big target. He calls it the “family circle” but I think the underlying connotation here is that the family circle that we are becoming can be dangerous. My question is still: How in the world did he know?

Brief background of 1960’s technology:


1960

  • The halogen lamp invented.

1961

  • Valium invented.
  • The nondairy creamer invented.

1962

  • The audio cassette invented.
  • The fiber-tip pen invented by Yukio Horie.
  • Spacewar, the first computer video game invented.
  • Dow Corp invents silicone breast implants.

1963

  • The video disk invented.

1964

  • Acrylic paint invented.
  • Permanent-press fabric invented.
  • BASIC (an early computer language) is invented by John George Kemeny and Tom Kurtz.

1965

  • Astroturf invented.
  • Soft contact lenses invented.
  • NutraSweet invented.
  • The compact disk invented by James Russell.
  • Kevlar invented by Stephanie Louise Kwolek.

1966

  • Electronic Fuel injection for cars invented.

1967

  • The first handheld calculator invented.

1968

  • The computer mouse invented by Douglas Engelbart.
  • The first computer with integrated circuits made.
  • Robert Dennard invented RAM (random access memory).

1969

  • The arpanet (first internet) invented.
  • The artificial heart invented.
  • The ATM invented.
  • The bar-code scanner is invented.

 

Bellis, Mary. “60s – Timeline and Inventions of the 60s.” Inventors. Web. 03 Apr. 2011.

 

On page 15, 16, and 17, McLuhan juxtaposes two pictures (one of a coat rack and the other of a not-too-happy looking little boy) with his major claim that electronic circuitry is changing everything. We will no longer be able to limit our thinking to just our “neighborhood” because we will all be connected. Thus the “ending of psychic, social, economic, and political parochialism.” The coat rack symbolizes that “place for everything and everything in its place” – the way of thinking that is, according to McLuhan, obsolete because of technology. He thought it was narrow-minded to feel that everything had to have a job, a place, a specific function.

Page 26-41, in which McLuhan’s primary claim that “all media are extensions of some human faculty” relates to page 98 in Ogden and Richards, “But language, though often spoken of as a medium of communication, is best regarded as an instrument; and all instruments; and all instruments are extensions, or refinements, of our sense-organs.

Central Idea: This idea of the media altering our environment by evoking “in us unique ratios of sense perceptions. The extension of any one sense alters the way we think and act – the way we perceive the world” (41).

McLuhan believed that we unconsciously respond differently to different media. Since we aren’t making logical choices but instead reacting in a way we cannot control, the medium is so much more important than the content (which we would have to read and think about first in order to then make meaning from it).

On page 42-3, McLuhan includes an allusion to Alice in Wonderland, for possibly several reasons.

The product of the bricoleur’s labor is a bricolage, a complex, dense, reflexive collage-like creation that represents the researcher’s images, understandings, and interpretations of the world or phenomenon under analysis. This bricoleur will . . . connect the parts to the whole, stressing the meaningful relationships that operate in the situations and social worlds studied. (p. 3)

Some scholars called McLuhan a bricoleur, because his work often seems so disjointed and dense. Also, he created his books out of so many different materials, just like a bricoleur would.

McLuhan then begins talking about visual space and how we are no longer a “visual” society. He claims that “visual space is uniform, continuous, and connected” and that the visual is also the rational. He says that we have a habit of “thinking in bits and parts – “specialism” – reflected the step-by-step linear departmentalizing process inherent in the technology of the alphabet.

Discussion Question: Is visual space online uniform, continuous, and connected? Was McLuhan correct when he says that to be visual is to be rational? Do you think of the Internet as visual or as text-based? Is the Internet a Media or a Content?

Picture of Airplanes: represent printing, and assembly lines.

McLuhan shows us the example of Renaissance art, and how the observer has nothing to do with the art. The observer is detached. He compares this with electronic media, saying, “The instantaneous world of electric information media involves all of us, all at once. No detachment or frame is possible” (52-53). With the television, he believed that subconsciously, people filled in the blank spaces between the dots. People participated in the creation of the end result.

On page 54-55, McLuhan includes a quote from John Dewey: “Compartmentalization of occupations and interests bring about a separation of that mode of activity commonly called practice from insight, of imagination from executive doing. Each of these activities is then assigned its own place in which it must abide. Those who write the anatomy of experience then suppose that these divisions inhere in the very constitution of human nature” – John Dewey.

The interesting thing about the way in which McLuhan presents this quote is that his readers must place the book up to the mirror in order to read the words. I think that McLuhan was saying that these division aren’t natural. When we force upon us these divisions, we lose our sense of creativity. In his lectures, McLuhan talks about taking a role instead of have one job. He says that a mother has 60 roles, etc. So if we limit the definition of ourselves to one job, one thing, then we really limit what it is possible for us to do in life.

On the next pages, (56-7) the reader must turn the book upside down in order to read the words on the page. In this way, McLuhan makes his readers work for the meaning. As I am making my own meaning of this, I have to believe that as I turn the book and actually try to figure out what other meaning the upside-down words might have, I have participating in the book (much like James Joyce’s pun…as I figure out the double meaning I am an active participant and I now create new meaning).

This page, and McLuhan’s claim that since the Renaissance the western artist has had to have some kind of visual order to everything. Everything had to fit, to flow in perfect lines. Now, as I read upside down (the text is also slanted so it doesn’t seem quite “right” I see how “stuck” most of us are in the norms.

Something about this reminded me of Burke. On page 39 of Rhetoric of Motives, he says, “Such considerations make us alert to the ingredient of rhetoric in all socialization, considered as a moralizing process. The individual person, striving to form himself in accordance with the communicative norms that match the cooperative ways of his society, is by the same token concerned with the rhetoric of identification.”

Just as in print, in art, in society, individuals need to feel like they belong. They conform to the norms of society. McLuhan notices this in every aspect of print and fights against conforming. He even feels like traditional education is more harmful than helpful.

In this next quote, McLuhan foreshadows the world of reality TV, internet tabloids, and the lack of global privacy:

“The whole concept of enclosure as a means of constraint and as a means of classifying doesn’t work as well in our electronic world…This feeling is an aspect of the new mass culture we are moving into – a world of total involvement in which everybody is so profoundly involved with everybody else and in which nobody can really imagine what private guilt can be anymore” (61).

On page 63, McLuhan calls our world an “allatonceness” which is a phrase he coined. It means a cultural condition that leads to the Global Village. The Global Village is a “simultaneous happening” and a means of everyone being connected.

I like Merrin’s definition of Global (as far as McLuhan saw it):

“As an extension of the electrical central nervous system and consciousness, these electrical media allow a direct sensory experience to replace a mechanical mediation, operating and electric speed to negate and implode the world’s temporal and spatial dimensions into a global village. Thus, they also instantly create a field of simultaneous events, to produce a total field of interacting events in which all men participate” (372).

One of McLuhan’s primary claims is that because of print and structured education, people have lost that sense of intuitive creativity that helped them to survive. The example he uses to illustrate this is the analogy of the astronomer telling his assistant that it was going to rain. The assistant wonders what kind of mathematical equation the astronomer used, but the astronomer gives his aching corns the credit. He knows that when his corns ache, that means rain. He is still aware of his environment and, although an expert at equations, is not dependant on them for common-sense kinds of logic.

On page 92, McLuhan uses Michael Faraday as an example of when lack of education may actually help creativity. Faraday, “who had little mathematics and no formal schooling beyond the primary grades, is celebrated as an experimenter who discovered the induction of electricity.” McLuhan states that Faraday’s ignorance in math helped contribute to his creativity and inspiration. He developed a simple solution (some might say common sense) when others would try to do it the hard way.

Drop/Out vs. Teach in:

Teach-in: An attempt to shift education from instruction to discovery, from brainwashing students to brainwashing instructors.

Drop-Out: Rejection of 19th century technology and onward as it is represented in our classrooms (101).

McLuhan then suggests that traditional education is not working. He uses several pictures (students walking out of a graduation speech, the Bob Dylan quote that suggests that students have no idea why they are sitting in that classroom, the older people commenting in frustration how much the younger generation matters to the economy, the waste of time by learning things through “rote” memory.

McLuhan uses quotes from Phaedrus that discuss the dangers of relying on the alphabet which causes people to forget how to use their memory. He also uses the term “Zeit” which means in the spirit of the times, or characteristic of a certain age. I think his claim is we have got to move forward.

Discussion Question:

On page 125, McLuhan states that “Television demands participation and involvement in depth of the whole being. It will not work as a background. It engages you”. What about sports? J Do you agree with this statement?

In his biography on McLuhan, Marchand explains the “proof” that McLuhan used to back up his assertion that “television viewers participated profoundly in what they watched.” McLuhan’s research assistant noted that “a class watching a television broadcast inviting them to join in a sing-along responded to instructions automatically – – something the class would never have done with a film” (153).

Before I discuss some of the other sources on McLuhan, does anyone want to bring up any of the other pictures or pages? I haven’t mentioned them all in this presentation.

Brief Discussion of several books and essays about McLuhan or written by McLuhan.

McLuhan, Marshall, Eric McLuhan, and Frank Zingrone. Essential McLuhan. New York, NY: Basic, 1995. Print.

This book is a must-have for anyone interested in further McLuhan studies. The book is broken up into five major sections. I will not be able to cover all these sections, but will highlight certain parts in my presentation:

  1. Introduction: Biographical information about McLuhan, including his influences and colleagues. This section also introduces key terms, such as global village, that McLuhan uses in his works.
  2. Culture as Business: Discussion American advertising and McLuhan’s book, The Mechanical Bride; McLuhan’s interest in the writing of James Joyce, and his letter to Harold Innis.
  3. Print and the Electric Revolution:
    1. The Gutenberg Galaxy
    2. Understanding Media
    3. Oral McLuhan:
      1. Playboy Interview
      2. Culture and Art

This was a very helpful book. I am going to briefly discuss some of McLuhan’s other books, as well as some criticism.

The Mechanical Bride:

Introduction from the following biography, further explanation from Essential McLuhan:

Marchand, Philip. Marshall McLuhan: the Medium and the Messenger: a Biography. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1998. Print

The culmination of McLuhan’s own examination of advertising occurred in 1951 with the publication of his first book, The Mechanical Bride. For years prior to that publication, McLuhan had been lecturing to students about advertising, and used slides of advertisements as examples. He characterized the present era as “The Age of the Mechanical Bride.”

            The theme in the book was basically the same as the theme of all McLuhan’s social criticism in the 1940s .He restated that theme in an essay on John Dos Passos in 1951, in which he observed that our technological society vitiated family life and the free, human expression of thought and feelings. In the collection of criticisms title “Interior Landscape,” McLuhan “cross-read works from Joyce, Passos, Pound, Eliot, and Lewis in order to better understand the psycho-dynamic effects of new media” (Ástráður, Eysteinsson, and Vivian Liska 435).

The plan of Mechanical Bride was to “reproduce an ad or comic strip as an exhibit and then attach a short essay analyzing it”. This was exactly like his lectures had been.

In the preface of Mechanical Bride:

McLuhan discusses the purpose of ads: “to get inside in order to manipulate, exploit, control…” He has a solution for this victimization, which is in his book: “Since so many minds are engaged in bringing about this condition f public helplessness, and since these programs of commercial education are so much more expensive and influential than the relatively puny offerings sponsored by schools and colleges, it seemed fitting to devise a method for reversing the process. Why not use the new commercial education as a means to enlightening its intended prey?

McLuhan uses Edgar A. Poe’s “A Descent Into the Maelstrom” as an example of taking control in a seemingly uncontrollable situation. Poe’s “sailor saved himself by studying the action of the whirlpool and by co-operating with it.” In his book The Medium is the Massage, McLuhan has a picture of himself, smiling and riding a wave on a surfboard. He seems in control in the middle of the chaos.

The ads and pictures that McLuhan chose for Mechanical Bride were all familiar to the general public and “represent a world of social myths or forms and speak a language we both know and do not know.”

 

On James Joyce:

“Bosh! Stephen said rudely. A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery. – James Joyce, Ulysses (quote from Marchand’s biography). In Finnegans Wake, Joyce “use[s] the media themselves as art forms” and “the interior tale of a tub is linked both to the cabbalistic significance of the letters of the alphabet and to the psychological effect of literacy in creating a general “abcedmindedness” in human society” (McLuhan and Zingrone 62). McLuhan said in his 1966 lecture that we “tend to make changes in the pattern of the thing we know. Finnegans Wake is a book built entirely system: Casting her perils before swains” Or “though he might have been humble there’s no police like Holmes.” Joyce puns on words so the reader has to be active in interpretation. The reader can see several different meanings.

McLuhan claims that the ten thunders in Wake represent different stages in the history of man.

  • Thunder 1: Paleolithic to Neolithic. Speech. Split of East/West. From herding to harnessing animals.
  • Thunder 2: Clothing as weaponry. Enclosure of private parts. First social aggression.
  • Thunder 3: Specialism. Centralism via wheel, transport, cities: civil life.
  • Thunder 4: Markets and truck gardens. Patterns of nature submitted to greed and power.
  • Thunder 5: Printing. Distortion and translation of human patterns and postures and pastors.
  • Thunder 6: Industrial Revolution. Extreme development of print process and individualism.
  • Thunder 7: Tribal man again. All choractors end up separate, private man. Return of choric.
  • Thunder 8: Movies. Pop art, pop Kulch via tribal radio. Wedding of sight and sound.
  • Thunder 9: Car and Plane. Both centralizing and decentralizing at once create cities in crisis. Speed and death.
  • Thunder 10: Television. Back to tribal involvement in tribal mood-mud. The last thunder is a turbulent, muddy wake, and murk of non-visual, tactile man.

For more information on Joyce’s influence on McLuhan, I have posted an essay in Ulearn.

Letter to Innis:

After McLuhan’s first book, he came into contact with the works of Harold Innis, who was an economic historian. “It was from two books published by Innis in 1950 and 1951, Empire and Communications and The Bias of Communication that he drew the central concept of McLuhanism: namely, that any great new medium of communication alters the entire outlook of the people who use it” (Essential McLuhan).

As H.A. Innis has shown in The Bias of Communication, the printed word has been a major cause of international disturbance and misunderstanding since the sixteenth century. But pictorial communication is relatively international and hard to manipulate for purposes of national rivalry. Innis has been the great pioneer in opening up the study of the economic and social consequences of the various media of communication” (62).

Toronto, 14th March 1951

Dear Innis,

Thanks for the lecture re-print. This makes an opportunity for me to mention my interest in the work you are doing in communication study in general. I think there are lines appearing in Empire and Communications, for example, which suggest the possibility of organizing an entire school of studies. Many of the ancient language theories of the Logos type which you cite for their bearings on government and society have recurred and amalgamated themselves today under the auspices of anthropology and social psychology. Working concepts of “collective consciousness” in advertising agencies have in turn given salience and practical effectiveness to these “magical” notions of language.

But it was most of all the esthetic discoveries of the symbolists since Rimbaud and Mallarmé (developed in English by Joyce, Eliot, Pound, Lewis and Yeats) which have served to recreate in contemporary consciousness an awareness of the potencies of language such as the Western world has not experienced in 1800 years..

Mallarmé saw the modern press as a magical institution born of technology. The discontinuous juxtaposition of unrelated items made necessary by the influx of news stories from every quarter of the world, created, he saw, a symbolic landscape of great power and importance. (He used the word “symbol” in the strict Greek sense sym-ballein, to pitch together, physically and musically). He saw at once that the modern press was not a rational form but a magical one so far as communication was concerned. Its very technological form was bound to be efficacious far beyond any informative purpose. Politics were becoming musical, jazzy, magical.

The same symbolist perception applied to cinema showed that the montage of images was basically a return via technology to age-old picture language. S. Eisenstein’s Film Forum and Film Technique explore the relations between modern developments in the arts and Chinese ideogram, pointing to the common basis of ideogram in modern art, science and technology.

One major discovery of the symbolists which had the greatest importance for subsequent investigation was their notion of the learning process as a labyrinth of the senses and faculties whose retracing provided the key to all arts and sciences (basis of myth of Daedalus, basic for the dreams and schemes of Francis Bacon, and, when transferred by Vico to philology and history of culture, it also forms the basis of modern historiography, archaeology, psychology and artistic procedures alike.) Retracing becomes in modern historical scholarship the technique of reconstruction. The technique which Edgar Poe first put to work in his detective stories. In the arts this discovery has had all those astonishing results which have seemed to separate the ordinary public from what it regards as esoteric magic. From the point of view of the artist however the business of art is no longer the communication of thoughts or feelings which are to be conceptually ordered, but a direct participation in an experience. The whole tendency of modern communication whether in the press, in advertizing, or in the high arts is toward participation in a process, rather than apprehension of concepts. And this major revolution, intimately linked to technology, is one whose consequences have not begun to be studied although they have begun to be felt.

One immediate consequence, it seems to me, has been the decline of literature. The hyper-trophy of letter-press, at once the cause and effect of universal literacy, has produced a spectacular decline of attention to the printed or written word. As you have shown in Empire and Communications, ages of literature have been few and brief in human history. The present literary epoch has been of exceptional duration — 400 years. There are many symptoms that it is at an end. The comic book for example has been seen as a degenerate literary form instead of as a nascent pictorial and dramatic form which has sprung from the new stress on visual-auditory communication in the magazines, the radio and television. The young today cannot follow narrative but they are alert to drama. They cannot bear description but they love landscape and action.

If literature is to survive as a scholastic discipline except for a very few people, it must be by a transfer of its techniques of perception and judgement to these new media. The new media, which are already much more constitutive educationally than those of the class-room, must be inspected and discussed in the class-room if the class-room is to continue at all except as a place of detention. As a teacher of literature it has long seemed to me that the functions of literature cannot be maintained in present circumstances without radical alteration of the procedures of teaching. Failure in this respect relegated Latin and Greek to the specialist; and English literature has already become a category rather than an interest in school and college.

As mechanical media have popularized and enforced the presence of the arts on all people it becomes more and more necessary to make studies of the function and effect of communication on society. Present ideas of such effects are almost entirely in terms of mounting or sagging sales curves resulting from special campaigns of commercial education. Neither the agencies nor the consumers know anything about the social or cutural effects of this education.

Deutsch’s interesting pamphlet on communication is thoroughly divorced from any sense of the social functions performed by communication. He is typical of a school likewise in his failure to study the matter in the particular. He is the technician interested in power but uncritical and unconcerned with social effect. The diagnosis of his type is best found, so far as I know, in Wyndham Lewis’s The Art of Being Ruled. That pamphlet is probably the most radical political document since Machiavelli’s Prince. But whereas Machiavelli was concerned with the use of society as raw material for the arts of power, Lewis reverses the perspective and tries to discern the human shape once more in a vast technological landscape which has been ordered on Machiavellian lines.

The fallacy in the Deutsch-Wiener approach is its failure to understand the techniques and functions of the traditional arts as the essential type of all human communication. It is instead a dialectical approach born of technology and quite unable of itself to see beyond or around technology. The Medieval schoolmen ultimately ended up on the same dialectical reef.

As Easterbrook may have told you I have been considering an experiment in communication which is to follow the lines of this letter in suggesting means of linking a variety of specialized fields by what may be called a method of esthetic analysis of their common features. This method has been used by my friend Siegfried Giedion in Space, Time and Architecture and in Mechanization Takes Command. What I have been considering is a single mimeographed sheet to be sent out weekly or fortnightly to a few dozen people in different fields, at first illustrating the underlying unities of form which exist where diversity is all that meets the eye. Then it is hoped there will be a feedback of related perception from various readers which will establish a continuous flow.

It seems obvious to me that Bloor St. is the one point in this University where one might establish a focus of the arts and sciences. And the organizing concept would naturally be “Communication Theory and practice.” A simultaneous focus of current and historic forms. Relevance to be given to selection of areas of study by dominant artistic and scientific modes of the particular period. Arts here used as providing criteria, techniques of observation, and bodies of recorded, achieved, experience. Points of departure but also return.

For example the actual techniques of common study today seem to me to be of genuine relevance to anybody who wishes to grasp the best in current poetry and music. And vice versa. There is a real, living unity in our time, as in any other, but it lies submerged under a superficial hubbub of sensation. Using Frequency Modulation techniques one can slice accurately through such interference, whereas Amplitude Modulation leaves you bouncing on all the currents.

Marshall McLuhan

 

Letter to Ezra Pound

Toronto, 21st December 1948

Dear Pound,

Much delighted with the Trieste newspapers. The job on Hemingway most amusing. And the Joyce item a gem. Very significant too the Cicero review. My Italian not too adequate even for newspapers though.

The post has just brought The Great Trade Route (1). So I now have the only copy in Toronto. Am keen to get at it. Giovanelli and I are talking Ford up into a small boom. The time is ripe. And it is the best strategy for preparing the ground for a more adequate approach to your own achievement. Intellectually at least, the obfuscators via Marx are pulling rocks over themselves.

Seon Givens of Vanguard Press, the editor in charge of my book on Industrial Folklore (2) is a Mary Butts collector. Has everything. She (Seon Givens) plans to visit you soon.

As Giovanelli and I work up the W. Lewis cause we discover any number of Lewis fans who have warmed themselves secretly at his fires these 25 years!

The American mind is not even close to being amenable to the ideogram principle as yet. The reason is simply this. America is 100% 18th Century. The 18th century had chucked out the principle of metaphor and analogy — the basic fact that as A is to B so is C to D. AB:CD. It can see AB relations. But relations in four terms are still verboten. This amounts to deep occultation of nearly all human thought for the U.S.A.

I am trying to devise a way of stating this difficulty as it exists. Until stated and publicly recognized for what it is, poetry and the arts can’t exist in America. Mere exposure to the arts does nothing for a mentality which is incorrigibly dialectical. The vital tensions and nutritive action of ideogram remain inaccessible to this state of mind.

With most cordial seasonable wishes for you and Mrs. Pound.

Marshall McLuhan

 

Highlights from the Playboy Interview: (I have put this for you on ULearn but include here a few of the statements that struck me).

PLAYBOY: To borrow Henry Gibson’s oft-repeated one-line poem on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In — “Marshall McLuhan, what are you doin’?”

McLUHAN: Sometimes I wonder. I’m making explorations. I don’t know where they’re going to take me. My work is designed for the pragmatic purpose of trying to understand our technological environment and its psychic and social consequences. But my books constitute the process rather than the completed product of discovery; my purpose is to employ facts as tentative probes, as means of insight, of pattern recognition, rather than to use them in the traditional and sterile sense of classified data, categories, containers. I want to map new terrain rather than chart old landmarks.

But I’ve never presented such explorations as revealed truth. As an investigator, I have no fixed point of view, no commitment to any theory — my own or anyone else’s. As a matter of fact, I’m completely ready to junk any statement I’ve ever made about any subject if events don’t bear me out, or if I discover it isn’t contributing to an understanding of the problem. The better part of my work on media is actually somewhat like a safe-cracker’s. I don’t know what’s inside; maybe it’s nothing. I just sit down and start to work. I grope, I listen, I test, I accept and discard; I try out different sequences — until the tumblers fall and the doors spring open.

 

Figure 1 The Gutenberg Printing Press

The Gutenberg Galaxy:

The format of this book is very interesting and easy to read. McLuhan places his trademark aphoristic claims in big, bold letters and then explains using many literary and real-world allusions. Some of his primary claims are as follows:

  • The anguish of the third dimension is given its first verbal manifestation in poetic history in King Lear.
  • The interiorization of the technology of the phonetic alphabet translates man from the magical world of the ear to the neutral visual world.  
  • Why non-literate societies cannot see films or photos without much training.
  • A theory of cultural change is impossible without knowledge of the changing sense ratios effected b various externalizations of our senses.
  • Applied knowledge in the Renaissance had to take the form of translation of the auditory into visual terms, of the plastic into retinal form.
  • Until more than two centuries after printing nobody discovered how to maintain a single tone or attitude throughout a prose composition.
  • Print altered not only the spelling and grammar but the accentuation and inflection of languages, and made bad grammar possible.

The “Conversation” about The Medium is the Massage

Related/Influenced by McLuhan:

Walter Ong, Orality and Literacy:

Ong, Walter J. “McLuhan as Teacher: The Future Is a Thing of the Past.” Journal of Communication 31.3 (1981): 129-35. Print.

“Above all and in all and through all, Marshall McLuhan was a teacher. All a teacher can ever do is get other people to think. . . . The teacher sets things up, whether by enlivening familiar matter or by providing new things for the learners to think about. But even with the most brilliant teacher, if the learners are to do any learning, they are the ones who have to do it. . . . A good teacher is one who can encourage others to think actively. A superior teacher can make the thinking pleasant for learners. A superb teacher can make the thinking an overpowering activity, delightful even when it is disturbing and exhausting. By these criteria, Marshall McLuhan was a superb teacher who could stir people’s minds” (page 129).

Ong first knew McLuhan as a teacher when they were both at Saint Louis University from 1938 to 1941. At that time Ong was willing to listen to McLuhan, who was known even then for delivering monologues outside the classroom. Of course when McLuhan catapulted to extraordinary fame in the 1960s and 1970s, most people who read his books or heard him speak had not had the experience of McLuhan as a teacher in a classroom. Nor had they had the experience of listening to him attentively outside the classroom. McLuhan had a well-stocked mind, and his monologic observations could be stimulating to listen to and think about, provided that you could understand them well enough to follow them. But if you don’t understand his observations well enough to follow them, you will probably write him off as a charlatan. (Ong 1981)

H. Innis:

Harold Adams Innis, a political economist, is widely credited with initiating an important discourse on media from a distinctly Canadian perspective. He directly influenced Marshall McLuhan and continues to be a central figure in communications theory.

From the end of WWII until his death in 1952, Innis worked steadily on an investigation of the social history of communication, studying the communication media of the last 4000 years. From the thousand page manuscript which he left at his death came his two pioneering communications works: Empire and Communications (1950), and The Bias of Communication (1951).

In his Introduction to The Bias of Commmunication, Marshall McLuhan suggests that reading Innis shows us a new way to read history:

Most writers are occupied in providing accounts of the content of philosophy, science, libraries, empires, and religions. Innis invites us instead to consider the formalities of power exerted by these structures in their mutual interaction. He approaches each of these forms of organized power as exercising a particular kind of force upon each of the other components in the complex. (ix)

These organized forms of power are in process, and defined by their interactions. “They explain themselves by their behaviour in a historic action.” In this, Innis’ method anticipates the historical archeology and documentation of Michel Foucault.

McLuhan appreciated the way Innis used the technological events of history to test the accuracy of both that history and the lessons we have learned from it. Readers discover that “Innis never repeats himself, but that he never ceases to test the action of oral forms of knowledge and social organization in different social contexts. Innis tests the oral form as it reacts in many different written cultures, just as he tests the effects of time-structured institutions in their varieties of contact with space-oriented societies” (x). Innis would, for example, be fascinated by the Nisga’a treaty negotiations in British Columbia, where a time-biased, marginalized and predominantly oral culture is attempting to communicate with a space-biased culture transfixed by the rule of written law.   (http://www.media-studies.ca/articles/innis.htm).

Pierre Teilhard (tay-ar) de Chardin:

Wolfe, Tom. “McLuhan’s New World.” The Wilson Quarterly 28.2 (2004): 18-25. Research Library. Web. 4 Apr. 2011.

“Teilhard was a French geologist and paleontologist who first made a name for himself through Fossil hunting expeditions in China and Central Asia. In 1930  he became a Jesuit priest and taught geology at the Catholic Institute in Paris. His mission in life was to take Darwin’s theory of biological evolution and show that it was merely the first step in God’s grander design for the evolution of man…[Television] technology was creating a nervous system for humanity, a single, organized, unbroken membrane over the earth…” Tilhard claimed that those “technologies were part of the natural profound evolution of our nervous system” (22).

 

Essays about McLuhan (There are more in the bibliography):

Levinson, Paul. “Millennial McLuhan: Clues for Deciphering the Digital Age.” The Chronicle of Higher Education 46.8 (1999). ProQuest International Academic Research Library. Web. 30 Mar. 2011.

Rothstein, Edward. “McLuhan Preferred Form to Content. So Does the Internet – – to Its Sorrow.” New York Times 9 June 1997, Late Edition ed. ABI/INFORM. Web. 30 Mar. 2011

This brief article highlights one of the major issues that critics have with McLuhan’s “The Medium is the Massage.” Many critics interpret McLuhan’s claim to be that the medium is all important and the content doesn’t mean anything, but Levinson shows why this doesn’t make any logical sense: “[Because] there is no such thing as a medium without content, for if it had no content what would it be a medium of? A television with no programs could have no influence on us as a medium, and moreover, a computer, devoid of its programs, would be anything other than a piece of junk” (Levinson).

In a New York Times article from 1997, Edward Rothstein discussed the importance of content: “The flaws in McLuhanesque interpretations are also the flaws in the new media. Everything is seen through a single lens; all social activity is its reflection and all culture is in its service. McLuhan once described as “idiotic” anybody who thought that the content of a communication was more relevant that its medium. For him, it really didn’t matter what was on television or in the newspaper or on the Web. Their impact as Media was far more profound than anything they contain. This is a strangely cold and almost nihilistic picture of the world. This message has no middle ground, no medium. Media are powerful but so are what they contain. Without content, Media become a mere distraction – sonic or optical wallpaper” (2). 

Merrin, William. “Implosion, Simulation and the Pseudo-event: a Critique of McLuhan.” Economy and Society 31.3 (2002): 369-90. Print.

This article is interesting because the author’s primary claim is that “despite the common identification of Jean Baudrillard as one fo the most important McLuhanists…Baudrillard’s words constitutes instead a radical critique of McLuhan’s conclusions” (369). Also interesting to note that whereas McLuhan lost his popularity in the 70s and 80s, many more people are reading him now simply because of the Internet.

Some common complaints of McLuhan’s work: “his claimed technological determinism, optimism, absent or inadequate economic or political analysis and his exasperating methodological procedures” (371).

Baudrillard claims, according to Merrin, that “the electronic media do not merely rearrange or massage perception, consciousness and experience, they replace them with their simulacra (a representation or image of something, but not the real thing), consumed in the comfort and distance of the sign. So we live sheltered by signs in the denial of the real” This is “a clear and complete reversal of McLuhan, rejecting his claim of an electrically extended, organic participation in the real…” (Merrin 375). 

Wolfe, Tom. “McLuhan’s New World.” The Wilson Quarterly 28.2 (2004): 18-25. Research Library. Web. 4 Apr. 2011.

This is an interesting article, in the narrative style of Wolfe, that sets up the excitement of the new Internet era (1990s) and puts all the credit on it to McLuhan. He also offers an interesting biographical section about McLuhan, which some may find useful. He also talks about Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s role in influencing McLuhan.

 

Discussion Questions:

  1. McLuhan states, on page 8, that “the alphabet and print technology fostered and encouraged a fragmenting process, a process of specialism and of detachment. Electric technology fosters and encourages unification and involvement.” He juxtaposes this quote with the page before and Whitehead’s claim that “the major advances in civilization are processes that all but wreck the societies in which they occur.”

McLuhan addresses Whitehead’s claim in a less accusatory tone; but nonetheless, accurately foreshadows the emotional response of people during intense change: “Innumerable confusions and a profound feeling of despair invariably emerge in periods of great technological and cultural transitions” and that “anxiety is, in great part, the result of trying to do today’s job with yesterday’s tools- with yesterday’s concepts” (8).

Question:  McLuhan wrote Medium in 1967. How much does his theory about feelings of despair and anxiety (because of changing technology) apply today? Technology continues to change at higher and higher rates. Are we still trying to do “today’s job” with “yesterday’s concepts?” or are we trying to do today’s job with tomorrow’s concepts? Do you agree with Whitehead’s fatalistic approach?

  1. Back in the 1960’s, society could not have imagined social networking like Facebook or Twitter. McLuhan somehow realized that we were moving in the social networking direction, but he was, at the time, mostly talking about television. How do you think he made this inferential leap?
  2. Is visual space online uniform, continuous, and connected? Was McLuhan correct when he says that to be visual is to be rational? Do you think of the Internet as visual or as text-based?
  3. The writers of Essential McLuhan discuss H.A. Issis: “As H.A. Innis has shown in The Bias of Communication, the printed word has been a major cause of international disturbance and misunderstanding since the sixteenth century. But pictorial communication is relatively international and hard to manipulate for purposes of national rivalry. Do you agree with this assessment? Essential McLuhan was written in 1995. Do you think Eric McLuhan and Frank Zingrone understand how graphics would be altered in most media?
  4. McLuhan describes Hot and Cool media: Hot – low participation. Cool = high participation. He describes TV as being a cool media, but I have trouble seeing it that way. Even though television in the 1960’s was a lot of dots with space in the middle, I still see it as a transmitter, not a transceiver. McLuhan uses Kennedy’s assignation as a prime example of how everyone got involved through the television. In McLuhan’s terms, today’s high def. televisions would certainly have to be hot media, right? Do you see TV as cool media?
  5. Baudrillard claims, according to Merrin, that “the electronic media do not merely rearrange or massage perception, consciousness and experience, they replace them with their simulacra (a representation or image of something, but not the real thing), consumed in the comfort and distance of the sign. So we live sheltered by signs in the denial of the real” This is “a clear and complete reversal of McLuhan, rejecting his claim of an electrically extended, organic participation in the real…” (Merrin 375).  What do you make of these two opposing claims?
  6. On page 125, McLuhan states that “Television demands participation and involvement in depth of the whole being. It will not work as a background. It engages you”. What about sports? J Do you agree with this statement?

 


 

Bibliography

 

Ástráður, Eysteinsson, and Vivian Liska. Modernism. Amsterdam: J. Benjamins Pub., 2007. Print.

Bellis, Mary. “60s – Timeline and Inventions of the 60s.” Inventors. Web. 03 Apr. 2011. <http://inventors.about.com/od/timelines/a/modern_2.htm&gt;.

Connor, John. “The Medium Is the Massage by Marshall McLuhan: An Analysis.” Associated Content from Yahoo! – Associatedcontent.com. Web. 02 Apr. 2011. <http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/

(I found this helpful for basic info, but do not think the article is peer reviewed)

Driedger, Leo. “Testing the Innis and McLuhan Theses: Mennonite Media Access and TV Use.” The Canadian Review of Soliology and Anthropology 35.N1 (1998). Print.

Elkind, David. The Hurried Child: Growing up Too Fast Too Soon. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Pub., 2001. Print.

(This source is interesting in that it takes the visual from McLuhan’s book (page 17) and discusses the change in our societal expectations for children. Very interesting.)

Gordon, W. Terrence. Marshall McLuhan: Escape into Understanding. Toronto: Stoddart, 1997. Print.

Fishman, Donald A. “Rethinking Marshall McLuhan: Reflections on a Media Theorist.” Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 50.3 (2006): 567-74. Print.

Fitzgerald, Judith. Marshall McLuhan: Wise Guy. Montréal: XYZ Pub., 2001. Print.

Levinson, Paul. “Digital McLuhan: A Guide to the Information Millennium.” Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly 77.1 (2000): 195-97. ABI/INFORM. Web. 26 Feb. 2011.

Levinson, Paul. “Millennial McLuhan: Clues for Deciphering the Digital Age.” The Chronicle of Higher Education 46.8 (1999). ProQuest International Academic Research Library. Web. 30 Mar. 2011.

Lukinbeal, Chris, and Jim Craine. “Geographic Media Literacy: an Introduction.” GeoJournal 74.3 (2009): 175-82. Print.

“Logical Positivism – New World Encyclopedia.” Info:Main Page – New World Encyclopedia. Web. 02 Apr. 2011. <http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Logical_positivism&gt;.

Marchand, Philip. Marshall McLuhan: the Medium and the Messenger: a Biography. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1998. Print

MacDonald, M. “Empire and Communication: the Media Wars of Marshall McLuhan.” Media, Culture & Society 28.4 (2006): 505-20. Print

McLuhan, Marshall. The Gutenberg Galaxy: the Making of Typographic Man. Toronto: University of Toronto, 2008. Print.

McLuhan, Marshall. The Mechanical Bride Folklore of Industrial Man. Corte Madera (CA): Gingko, 2001. Print.

McLuhan, Marshall, Eric McLuhan, and Frank Zingrone. Essential McLuhan. New York, NY: Basic, 1995. Print.

McLuhan, Marshall, and Eric McLuhan. Laws of Media: the New Science. Toronto: University of Toronto, 1988. Print.

McLuhan, Marshall, and Quentin Fiore. “Books, Publications and Other Writing by Marshall McLuhan – MMXI – Marshall McLuhan.” MMXI – Celebrating 100 Years of McLuhan – Marshall McLuhan. Web. 28 Mar. 2011. <http://marshallmcluhan.com/bibliography/&gt;.

McLuhan, Marshall, Quentin Fiore, and Jerome Agel. The Medium Is the Massage: an Inventory of Effects. Corte Madera, CA: Gingko, 2001. Print.

McLuhan, Marshall, Stephanie McLuhan, and David Staines. Understanding Me: Lectures and Interviews. Toronto, Ont.: McClelland & Stewart, 2003. Print.

“Media: McLuhan.” E=±mc²=Thé Ðëòxÿríßøñµçlëìç HÿÞêrdïmèñsîøñ. Web. 05 Apr. 2011. <http://deoxy.org/media/McLuhan&gt;.

Merrin, William. “Implosion, Simulation and the Pseudo-event: a Critique of McLuhan.” Economy and Society 31.3 (2002): 369-90. Print.

Ong, Walter J. “McLuhan as Teacher: The Future Is a Thing of the Past.” Journal of Communication 31.3 (1981): 129-35. Print.

Pohn, Karen. “Bricolage Method 1.” Cosmic Play Frames. Web. 03 Apr. 2011. <http://www.cosmicplay.net/Method/Bricolage/brico1.html&gt;.

Rothstein, Edward. “McLuhan Preferred Form to Content. So Does the Internet – – to Its Sorrow.” New York Times 9 June 1997, Late Edition ed. ABI/INFORM. Web. 30 Mar. 2011

Shafer, Ingrid H. “A Global Ethic for the Global Village.” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 42.3 (2007): 440-53. Print.

Sloan, Thomas O., and Robert T. Craig. “Communication.” Encyclopedia of Rhetoric. New York: Oxford UP, 2001. 1-837. Print.

“Telstar.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 02 Apr. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telstar&gt;.

“The Playboy Interview: Marshall McLuhan « NextNature.net.” NextNature.net – Exploring the Nature Caused by People. Web. 04 Apr. 2011. <http://www.nextnature.net/2009/12/the-playboy-interview-marshall-mcluhan/&gt;.

Whitehead Research Project: Home Page. Whitehead Research Project, 2008. Web. 02 Apr. 2011. <http://whiteheadresearch.org/&gt;.

Wolfe, Tom. “McLuhan’s New World.” The Wilson Quarterly 28.2 (2004): 18-25. Research Library. Web. 4 Apr. 2011.

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