Tuesday, January 18, 2022


Graham Majin at Quillette makes a case that Marshall McLuhan's influence here is much like Foucault's. McLuhan championed the idea that the medium has an impact on the effect of a work of art (or history or)--which seems straightforwardly clear. He took it farther to say that the effect of the medium dominates, especially in aggregate, and a radical change in media changes the culture--never mind what people seem to be saying.

I read Understanding Media back in high school, and my impression was: well, ok, but ... Majin's article accuses him of helping normalize the idea that journalism makes the news and that truth isn't literal. I don't remember that, though I only read one part of his works--maybe I just forgot. (I thought The Medium is the Massage was self-indugent and silly.)

If he were alive today, he'd look at the isolated phone-veneraters riding the bus and say "I told you so:" Although our disembodied culture was certainly not what he hoped for.

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