Marshall McLuhan

  • Understanding Me

    Understanding Me

    Lectures and Interviews

    Marshall McLuhan, Stephanie McLuhan, and David Staines

    Previously unpublished lectures and interviews by the modern age's preeminent media seer—informal, accessible, provocative.

    In the last twenty years of his life, Marshall McLuhan published a series of books that established his reputation as a world-renowned communications theorist and the pre-eminent seer of the modern age. It was McLuhan who made the distinction between "hot" and "cool" media. And it was he who coined the phrases "the medium is the message" and "the global village" and popularized other memorable terms including "feedback" and "iconic."

    McLuhan was far more than a pithy phrasemaker, however. He foresaw the development of personal computers at a time when computers were huge, unwieldy machines available only to institutions. He anticipated the wide-ranging effects of the Internet. And he understood, better than any of his contemporaries, the transformations that would be wrought by digital technology—in particular, the globalization of communications and the instantaneous-simultaneous nature of the new, electric world. In many ways, we're still catching up to him—forty years after the publication of Understanding Media.

    In Understanding Me, Stephanie McLuhan and David Staines have brought together nineteen previously unpublished lectures and interviews either by or with Marshall McLuhan. They have in common the informality and accessibility of the spoken word. In every case, the text has been transcribed from the original audio, film, or videotape of McLuhan's actual appearances. This is not what McLuhan wrote but what he said—the spoken words of a surprisingly accessible public man. He comes across as outrageous, funny, perplexing, stimulating, and provocative. McLuhan will never seem quite the same again.

    The foreword by Tom Wolfe provides a twenty-first century perspective on McLuhan's life and work, and co-editor David Staines's insightful afterword offers a personal account of McLuhan as teacher and friend.

    Lectures and Interviews Electronic Revolution: Revolutionary Effects of New Media (1959) •Popular/Mass Culture: American Perspectives (1960) • Technology, the Media, and Culture • The Communications Revolution • Cybernetics and Human Culture (1964) • The Future of Man in the Electric Age (1965) • The Medium Is the Massage (1966) • Predicting Communication via the Internet (1966) • The Marfleet Lectures (1967) • Canada, the Borderline Case • Towards an Inclusive Consciousness • Fordham University: First Lecture (1967) • Open-Mind Surgery (1967) • TV News as a New Mythic Form (1970) • The Future of the Book (1972) • The End of the Work Ethic (1972) • Art as Survival in the Electric Age (1973) • Living at the Speed of Light (1974) • What TV Does Best (1976) • TV as a Debating Medium (1976) • Violence as a Quest for Identity (1977) • Man and Media (1979)

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  • Understanding Media

    Understanding Media

    The Extensions of Man

    Marshall McLuhan

    Terms and phrases such as "the global village" and "the medium is the message" are now part of the lexicon, and McLuhan's theories continue to challenge our sensibilities and our assumptions about how and what we communicate.

    This reissue of Understanding Media marks the thirtieth anniversary (1964-1994) of Marshall McLuhan's classic expose on the state of the then emerging phenomenon of mass media. Terms and phrases such as "the global village" and "the medium is the message" are now part of the lexicon, and McLuhan's theories continue to challenge our sensibilities and our assumptions about how and what we communicate.

    There has been a notable resurgence of interest in McLuhan's work in the last few years, fueled by the recent and continuing conjunctions between the cable companies and the regional phone companies, the appearance of magazines such as WiRed, and the development of new media models and information ecologies, many of which were spawned from MIT's Media Lab. In effect, media now begs to be redefined. In a new introduction to this edition of Understanding Media, Harper's editor Lewis Lapham reevaluates McLuhan's work in the light of the technological as well as the political and social changes that have occurred in the last part of this century.

Contributor

  • Whole Earth Field Guide

    Whole Earth Field Guide

    Caroline Maniaque-Benton

    A source book for American culture in the 1960s and 1970s: “suggested reading” from the Last Whole Earth Catalog, from Thoreau to James Baldwin.

    The Whole Earth Catalog was a cultural touchstone of the 1960s and 1970s. The iconic cover image of the Earth viewed from space made it one of the most recognizable books on bookstore shelves. Between 1968 and 1971, almost two million copies of its various editions were sold, and not just to commune-dwellers and hippies. Millions of mainstream readers turned to the Whole Earth Catalog for practical advice and intellectual stimulation, finding everything from a review of Buckminster Fuller to recommendations for juicers. This book offers selections from eighty texts from the nearly 1,000 items of “suggested reading” in the Last Whole Earth Catalog.

    After an introduction that provides background information on the catalog and its founder, Stewart Brand (interesting fact: Brand got his organizational skills from a stint in the Army), the book presents the texts arranged in nine sections that echo the sections of the Whole Earth Catalog itself. Enlightening juxtapositions abound. For example, “Understanding Whole Systems” maps the holistic terrain with writings by authors from Aldo Leopold to Herbert Simon; “Land Use” features selections from Thoreau's Walden and a report from the United Nations on new energy sources; “Craft” offers excerpts from The Book of Tea and The Illustrated Hassle-Free Make Your Own Clothes Book; “Community” includes Margaret Mead and James Baldwin's odd-couple collaboration, A Rap on Race. Together, these texts offer a sourcebook for the Whole Earth culture of the 1960s and 1970s in all its infinite variety.