Writing and Media -The Medium is the Message

- Marshall McLuhan (1964) … utopic…. believed all the little messages would make us better

-Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man … Little messages come out of nowhere; we absorb little bits of trivia

- Medium is not just “mass media” … it's anything that communicates a message

-Ira Shor (1987) Critical Teaching and Everyday Life. Your Chair … chair is a medium. The message of a desk chair is “sit down” “Face forward” “sit up straight” “pay attention and be productive” … vs lazy boy “sit down” “relax”

-The message can distract us from the truth of what the medium does... McLuhan likens it to a burglar who gives a dog a piece of meat so that the dog doesn’t pay attention to what the burglar is doing.

-Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities. (1983)

-Nationality is an ideology that emerged to reinforce the power structures as empire religious structures began to splinter in the early 1800s

-Print Capitalism is the “simultaneity of past and future in an instantaneous present”

-The written technology of the novel and the newspaper provided the technical means for representing the kind of imagined community that is the nation

-By writing about events that happened in the same “community at the same time in the newspaper it allowed for “goods, persons, and institutions to be linked.”

-Printing was a medium that allowed for people to miss the fact that: “the members of the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion”

-Neil Postman

-1984-1985, Amusing ourselves to Death

-Age of Show Business and Peek-a-boo Cultures

-“Every technology has an inherent bias”

-George Bernard Shaw… "the lights at 42nd and Broadway must look beautiful if you cannot read."

-“There is nothing wrong with entertainment... the problem comes when we try to live in it”

-The medium constrains the message in terms of scope, privileges visual over textual.

-The medium is the soma that keeps us from understanding what the message is doing.

-“Big Brother does not watch us, by his choice. We watch him, by ours”

-Texts … “New Media” … how does the medium affect the message?

e.g. Network News “special broadcasts”, a Text Message, Documentaries like Food, Inc. or Inconvenient Truth New York Timis, the Facebook News Feed, Cosmopolin, a Tweet...

-When we read or write a text that relies on cyberspace…

-What is happening (knowns)?

-What is happening that we don’t understand (known unknowns)?

-What is happening that we know is happening but we choose to forget (unknown knowns)?

-What is happening that people might be completely unaware of (unknowns)?