A little info about Marshall Mcluhan

He was a Canadian English professor in the mid 1900s who specialized in the study of media theory. His famous quote is, "The medium is the message." He's also credited with predicting the world wide web. His scholarly focus was on how people interact with media. His book, "The Mechanical Bride" is a compilation of essay. Each essay begins with a section from a newspaper or magazine and is followed by Mcluhan's musings. For this class, we read a chapter called, "Front Page."

What it was like to read "Front Page" in print

Disorienting. I wasn't sure what to make of the newspaper layout on the beginning. Was I supposed to search these ads and stories? Was there some kind of puzzle to solve?
I also found the second page disorienting. The fonts were strange for the opening questions. Were these questions put here by the author or by my instructor? I wasn't even sure what these questions were asking - although I was intrigued by each of them.
As I read the brief article, I found myself pretty in tune or focused - making annotations and comments and connections.

Thoughts about the essay

I thought it was interesting that even half a century ago, he saw media as a way of bringing humans closer together. He said that when people see news from around the world - no matter how ridiculous- it drives home a feeling of brotherhood or "solidarity" among us.

I don't know that I understand all of this essay, but I think he is also saying that because imagery is becoming so prolific due to advances in technology, we've lost the ability to see the message or the art or the symbolic way these images represent us as humans. He likens us to a turtle who is unaware of the beauty of his own shell. He talks about an insider point of view as the "unconscious consumer of industrial folklore." I think he's saying we are consuming it blindly and recreating it unwittingly. He then goes on to illustrate what he means by including a news story of two men on death row that were able to view the news story about themselves before death. He says, "Participating in their own audience participation, they were able to share the thrill of the a of the audience that was being thrilled by their imminent death." He then goes on to claim that modern society "contributes mindlessly" but they never take the time to consider or examine what it all means.

"Participating in their own audience participation" I thought this was a very interesting connection to social media and modern technology. My kids love to record themselves and watch the video over and over again with each new friend or family member they can corner. They also love to watch videos we've recorded of them - school plays, concerts, etc...

In the broader media, I thought about the popular vloggers we've mentioned in class, and other social media outlets. When friends post a video of their kids on Facebook or Instagram, they get to see and participate with the audience through the comment section.

But what are we missing when we see a post, comment and quickly scroll to the next thing that catches our eye? What details are there that are symbolic of our humanity? How are these social media outlets symbolist landscapes?
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