ISBN is

978-1-888869-02-6 / 9781888869026

The Medium Is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects

by

Publisher:Hardwired

Edition:Softcover

Language:English

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About the book:

The medium used to be the message. But in the "collide-oscopic" barrage of image and text that resulted from Marshall McLuhan's 1967 collaboration with graphic designer Quentin Fiore, the medium becomes the massage. The basic premise of this playful popularization of McLuhan's theories of the electronic revolution will be familiar to readers of his other works: "Any understanding of social and cultural change is impossible without a knowledge of the way media work as environments." But more than McLuhan's other work, The Medium Is the Massage also reflects the tumultuous decade in which it was produced, the 60s. It was a time when existentialism, the theatrr of the absurd, "happenings," and Eastern religions were all the rage in academic circles. Massage adds to that mix traces of utopianism ("We have now become aware of the possibility of arranging the entire human environment as a work of art"; a hint of radicalism (of electronic circuitry McLuhan says: "Its message is Total Change, ending psychic, social, economic, and political parochialism. The old civic, state, and national groupings have become unworkable."); and a bracing pinch of paranoia ("Electrical information devices for universal, tyrannical womb-to-tomb surveillance" have brought us "to a point where remedial control, born out of knowledge of media and their total effects on all of us, must be exerted."). True to its observation that "information pours upon us, instantaneously and continuously," McLuhan and Fiore shower us with photographs, cartoons, newspaper headlines, backwards and upside-down writing, and other graphical innovations. The book is also packed with quotations from a motley collection of savants (in addition to McLuhan himself, of course): Alfred North Whitehead, James Joyce, Lao Tsu, John Dewey, John Cage, and Bob Dylan. The book's design and content aptly, and palpably, demonstrate the insights that have caused many highly stimulated readers to pronounce McLuhan a visionary, a veritable "oracle of the electronic age." --Russell Prather

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