Digital McLuhan: A Guide to the Information Millennium

Digital McLuhan: A Guide to the Information Millennium

Digital McLuhan: A Guide to the Information Millennium

Digital McLuhan: A Guide to the Information Millennium

Synopsis

Marshall McLuhan died on the last day of 1980, on the doorstep of the personal computer revolution. Yet McLuhan's ideas anticipated a world of media in motion, and its impact on our lives on the dawn of the new millennium.Paul Levinson examines why McLuhan's theories about media are more important to us today than when they were first written, and why the Wired generation is now turning to McLuhan's work to understand the global village in the digital age.

Excerpt

Digital McLuhan is actually two intertwining books: one presents McLuhan’s ideas about media and their impact upon our lives, the other presents my ideas about how McLuhan’s ideas can help us make sense of our new digital age. I likely would have written a book like this in any case. But McLuhan could not, because he died on the last day of 1980, almost literally on the doorstep of the personal computer revolution that would change so much of our world, yet be so explicable via insights and comparisons McLuhan had earlier made.

Those insights showed us a world of media in motion, in which television was triumphing over books, newspapers, radio, and motion pictures for crucial segments of our attention, and consequently was exerting profound influence on politics, business, entertainment, education, and the general conduct of our lives. This Bayeux Tapestry of media in competition for our patronage—for our souls, according to some—quite naturally led McLuhan to consider the ways that media differed in their engagement of our mentalities. How and why, for example, does seeing a movie on television differ from seeing it in a motion picture theater, how is reading the news different from hearing it on radio, and how is that in turn different from watching it on TV? In raising and attempting to answer such questions, McLuhan in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s developed an intricate

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