Response to McLuhan’s the Medium is the Message

November 5, 2007

I highlighted the parts of the reading that struck me in my subsequent entry. The discussion of inherent “good” and “bad” types of media is a central part of modern society, and it extends beyond things that are traditionally labeled as being “media.” Objects, people and countries are often categorized as being inherently “good” or “bad”. McLuhan doesn’t state that there are such things as good and bad types of media, he keeps the door open, as it should be, for nuance and connections. However, the argument that a gun, designed to specifically kill people, is not inherently “bad” is flawed as well. What were are lacking is vocabulary. The gun is a channel for killing, but the user with the gun actually does kill. The gun itself is machinery. It is an enabler. It is a medium, through which other media are conveyed. McLuhan’s idea that media always contain other media is a great one. Media work together and combine in various ways. I agree with him, that our general lack of unstanding of their intrinsic properties does us, as a people, great harm. We are implicitly ceding control to the designers and broadcasters of the media through our passive ignorance.

That being said, what is there to learn?


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