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Arin6903 presentation - The medium is the massage

John Band's EDC class presentation on McLuhan's The Medium Is The Massage

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Arin6903 presentation - The medium is the massage

  1. 1. The medium is the massage<br />McLuhan, M., Fiore, Q., and AGEL, J. (1967). “The Medium Is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects”. New York: Bantam, 1967<br />ARIN6903 EXPLORING DIGITAL CULTURES - week 8 presentation by John Band<br />1<br />
  2. 2. agenda<br />1) Marshall McLuhan<br />2) What is The Medium Is The Massage?<br />3) You<br />4) Extensions<br />5) Implications and effects<br />6) Discussion<br />2<br />
  3. 3. Marshall mcluhan<br />Pioneering media theorist<br />The Mechanical Bride (1951) is one of the first academic studies of popular culture<br />The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962) pioneers the concept that communication technology shapes cognitive behaviour<br />Understanding Media (1964) invents the phrase ‘The Medium Is The Message’<br />A medium is ‘an extension of ourselves’<br />The change that a new technology brings in people’s lives is its real meaning – ‘content’ is irrelevant<br />3<br />Stamp featuring McLuhan. Canada Post, 2000<br />
  4. 4. What is The medium is the massage?<br />An attempt to popularise, develop, and detail the impact of the theories set out in Understanding Media<br />“There are possible four readings for the last word of the title, all of them accurate: ‘Message’ and ‘Mess Age’, ‘Massage’ and ‘Mass Age’” – Eric McLuhan<br />“All media work us over completely. They are so pervasive in their personal, political, economic, aesthetic, psychological, moral, ethical, and social consequences that they leave no part of us untouched, unaffected, unaltered”<br />4<br />30-million toy trucks were bought in the U.S. in 1966.<br />Detail from McLuhan (1967)<br />
  5. 5. Drop this jiggery pokery and talk straight turkey<br /><br />(0:40 to 1:22)<br />5<br />Detail from McLuhan (1967)<br />
  6. 6. You & YOURS<br /><ul><li>You: “No erasure of early mistakes”.
  7. 7. Your family: “All the world’s a sage”
  8. 8. Your education: “Today’s child is growing up absurd”
  9. 9. Your job: “When this circuit learns your job, what are you going to do?”
  10. 10. Your government: “The living room will become a voting booth”
  11. 11. The others: “minority groups can no longer be contained”</li></ul>6<br />Detail from McLuhan (1967)<br />
  12. 12. Extensions<br />“All media are extensions of some human faculty – psychic or physical”<br />The wheel is an extension of the foot<br />The book is an extension of the eye<br />Clothing is an extension of the skin<br />Electric circuitry is an extension of the CNS<br />“The extension of any one sense alters the way we perceive the world”<br />The change currently hitting society is the extension of the CNS through electric circuitry<br />“Purely visual means of apprehending the world are no longer possible”<br />7<br />
  13. 13. Are we all third world?<br /><br />8<br />
  14. 14. Implications & effects<br />McLuhan’s technologically determinist narrative is still echoed by ‘optimistic’ new media commentators:<br />“We live, for the first time in history, in a world where being part of a globally interconnected group is the normal case for most citizens” – Shirky, C. (2010)<br />It is often criticised by ‘pessimistic’ commentators, both for determinism and naiveté:<br />(but) “[McLuhan] viewed the media effects on and tribal arousal of what today is associated with 'globalization' as potentially terrifying” – Robinson, W. (2005)<br />9<br />
  15. 15. Questions<br />To what extent has society changed in the ways that McLuhan predicted? <br />What’s the difference between the areas where this has happened and where it hasn’t?<br />Does the internet fit into McLuhan’s conception of an electronic medium?<br />10<br />
  16. 16. References<br />Canada Post (2000), Marshal McLuhan Millennium Stamp<br />‘Common Questions’ on official Marshall McLuhan website at[accessed April 20, 2011]<br />Marshall McLuhan Speaks website at [accessed April 21, 2011]<br />McLuhan, M. (1962) The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1962<br />McLuhan, M. (1964) Understanding Media. New York: McGraw-Hill 1964<br />McLuhan, M., Fiore, Q., and Agel, J. (1967). The Medium Is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects. New York: Bantam, 1967<br />Mitchell, W.J.T., What Do Pictures Want?: The Lives and Loves of Images. Chicago: U Chicago P, 2005<br />Robinson, W. (2005) Marshall McLuhan Reconsidered: Review of Reprinted Editions, Previously Unpublished Work, and Two Tributes. New Media and Society 7.2 (2005): pp271-280<br />Shirky, C. (2010) Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age. New York: Penguin, 2010<br />11<br />