daily notes #3: The Medium is the Massage by Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore (book review)

This book is a “highlight reel” of Marshall McLuhan’s major works and a good introduction to his thought. Quentin Fiore’s photo layouts and graphic design hold up well.

Some content and summary: “All media work us over completely.” The conflict between electronic and linear print mediums is generational and has particular implications for education. The printing press created a new era of book authorship which “Xerography” is bringing to a close. “Visual space is uniform, continuous and connected,” creating fragmentation and specialism. Gone are “jobs,” the kids want “roles” in the context of simultaneous audio. We are now -as of 1967- in “a global village.” Electronic communication “profoundly involves men with one another.” “Print technology created the public. Electronic technology created the mass.”

I’m personally very conflicted about McLuhan and whether or not to pursue him. There was a McLuhan revival in the 90’s and many attempts to do “Digital McLuhan” since. Media discourse is oversaturated and becoming banal as the social media era drags on. Much of it is preoccupied with “content” as opposed to social environment, scale and the medium itself. In that context McLuhan’s major insights are still extremely important. There you have it.

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