I. Writing and Media

a. The Medium is the Message—McLuhan ‘64

b. Medium is not just ‘mass media’—it’s what communicates a message

i. Ira Shor (’87)—Critical Teaching and Everyday Life

ii. Classroom example of a chair—this medium gives us a message, it can tell us the mood and about the task at hand

c. The message can distract from the truth of what the medium does

i. McLuhan likens this to a burglar who gives a dog a piece of meat—message is the meat. So, we worry about the media message rather than our own lives—listening to Oz and not looking behind the curtain.

1. He is old school—thought messages would make us smarter and different types make us ‘hot’ or ‘cold’.

d. This isn’t new to new media

i. Benedict Anderson’s imagined communities (’83)

ii. Nationality is an ideology—reinforced the power structures as empire and religious structures began to break—1800s

1. Print capitalism: simultaneous past and future in the present

a. Technical means for re-presenting imagined community—the nation

b. This linked goods, people, and institutions by writing about events that happened in the same community at the same time in the newspaper

c. Print was the medium that let people miss the fact that members of the smallest nations will never know most of their fellow community members but their minds united them

e. Medium controls message—Neil Postman (Postman>McLuhan-RR)

i. ’84: Amusing ourselves to death


ii. Age of show business, peek-a-boo culture

1. Something is there, then it’s not—just getting a snapshot of the whole story, only a piece of the puzzle

2. This is media

3. Everyday technology has an inherent bias—the Broadway lights are beautiful if you can’t read

4. No problem with entertainment, problem with when we try to live it

5. Medium constrains the message in terms of scope, privileges visual over textual.

6. The medium is the soma (pleasure drug from Brave New World) that keeps us from understanding what the message is doing

a. We watch big brother by choice, he doesn’t watch us by choice

f. Texts

i. Network new, documentaries, FB news feed, Tweets, NY Times, Cosmo/Maxim, etc.

g. How are we distracted from what media is doing

i. What we read/write a text that relies on cyberspace

1. What’s happening (known knowns)

2. What’s happening that we don’t understand (known unknown)

3. What is happening that we know is happening but we choose to forget (unknown known)—Postman’s main concern

4. What’s happening that people might be totally unaware of (unknown unknowns)

ii. How are messages made more appealing/entertaining

iii. How are we doped by new media

iv. What’s happening that people may be unaware of