McLuhan

Miscellany: Medium and Marshall

The Eudemon Medium.com publication is getting closer to full take-off. We have four writers. A logo has been ordered.

If you want to write for the publication, or if you know someone who is already writing at Medium.com, please past along the information to join the stable.

Ah, attentive reader: You caught me. I ditched “The Roman Rambler.” Every time I saw it, I cringed a little bit more. I finally just yanked it off. It was a bad idea.

I decided to go “all in” with Eudemon:

The Eudemon is the “Medium arm” of The Daily Eudemon, a blog that has been in continuous operation since 2004. If your article is published at The Eudemon, it will also be referenced or featured at The Daily Eudemon.

The publishing efforts at Medium are going well. I am now “net black” in net profits . . . by a few dollars. My most recent “curated” piece is doing very well: Cell Phones, Radio, and the Philosophy of Marshall McLuhan. Excerpt below. I’ll plan on running the whole thing here later this week.

A household name in the 1960s, Marshall McLuhan has been largely forgotten today. His central theory is that human modes of thinking are altered by media. Media are “extensions” of ourselves, things that add themselves on to what we already are, and when we use them, they change us in some way, often psychologically. The simplest example is the saying, “To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

His most famous saying is, “the medium is the message,” by which he means the important part of a medium is the medium itself. The important thing about books isn’t their content (their “message”). The important thing is their “bookness”: how does the act of reading from a book, or the fact that we have books instead of scrolls, affect how we think, live, and behave?

It’s too bad he’s been forgotten. I think he would’ve diagnosed the cell phone/driving issue quickly.
In his magnum opus, Understanding Media (1964), McLuhan wrote: “The telephone demands complete participation.” He pointed out that some people could scarcely talk to their best friends on the phone without becoming angry, precisely because it’s such a demanding medium.

Basically, McLuhan said, the telephone is a jealous taskmaster.

McLuhan, if you didn’t know, was a convert, daily communicant, and huge Chesterton fan. He wrote the introduction to one of the finest Chesterton studies of all time: Paradox in Chesterton, by the brilliant Hugh Kenner.

Good luck, if you try to find the book. It’s not at Amazon.

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