City as Classroom: authentic McLuhan inscription?

Encountering Marshall McLuhan’s media theories during college was a significant influence in my decision to pursue graduate studies in communication (there were, of course, many other influencing factors...I wouldn’t want to posit a “hard determinism”). My first scholarly conference papers and academic journal publication were rooted in McLuhan and the Media Ecology tradition. When I … Continue reading City as Classroom: authentic McLuhan inscription?

TENET Redux: 22 Theses on Nolan

Some responses to my previous TENET post have complained that the essay is bloated, confusing, and pretentious. Ironically, these are also some of the most common criticisms of the film itself. In acknowledgment of this feedback (and as an exercise in padding my post count with repurposed content), I have prepared the following “Twitter thread” … Continue reading TENET Redux: 22 Theses on Nolan

TENET: Christopher Nolan vs. Entropy

TENET is a preposterous film. The central conceit of the plot, the rapid-fire delivery of exposition through muffled dialogue, and the mixed-chronology action set pieces are all jaw-droppingly confounding. The fact that it functions as a movie at all is a testament to something, though I’m unsure how much that something has to do with … Continue reading TENET: Christopher Nolan vs. Entropy

McLuhan birthday gets doodle

Today's Google doodle honors Marshall McLuhan's 106th birthday. Traditionally these commemorative doodles use images and designs based on a historic event or person's life to "spell" out a version of the Google logo. This animated doodle consists of scenes depicting the successive eras of communication media as outlined by McLuhan. Beginning with oral culture in … Continue reading McLuhan birthday gets doodle

Defining Media Ecology

This essay was originally written as part of my PhD comprehensive exams. It was written in response to the prompt: "Define Media Ecology." Introduction             The meaning of the phrase “media ecology” will likely depend on the context in which it is used. When the phrase appears in popular discourse, it is often used in a … Continue reading Defining Media Ecology

The Toronto School: Then, Now, Next conference

Five years ago I wrote a paper about an ongoing revival of interest in Marshall McLuhan and a recovery of his media theory following decades of mainstream academic misunderstanding and  dismissal of his work. The paper was well-received and eventually published in the Media Ecology Association journal. In the time since I went on to … Continue reading The Toronto School: Then, Now, Next conference

Video: Marshall Arts – McLuhan and media scholars

The Institute of General Semantics has recently posted videos of presentations given at the 2011 General Semantics Symposium. Included is my presentation: "Marshall Arts: Retrieving McLuhan for Communication Scholars". This was my first conference presentation, and the paper eventually became my first academic publication. The focus of my work has shifted considerably in the time since, but … Continue reading Video: Marshall Arts – McLuhan and media scholars

McLuhan and Mad Men

The final episode of acclaimed TV series Mad Men aired this week. I've not seen any of the show (though now that the series is complete it is ripe for binge-watching), but I did appreciate this piece from Stephen Marche at Esquire, analyzing Mad Men through Marshall McLuhan's media theory (spoilers if, like me, you're not … Continue reading McLuhan and Mad Men

Resistance is Feudal: A descent into McLuhan’s media maelstrom

McLuhan’s approach to media studies is almost always characterized as deterministic. The entry for McLuhan in the Penguin Dictionary of Critical Theory states in part: “McLuhan’s version of technological determinism is extreme […] the most striking feature of his studies of the media is their total failure to discuss the ownership and control of means … Continue reading Resistance is Feudal: A descent into McLuhan’s media maelstrom