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

MISC Monday: MLK media literacy; social media stress; the attention economy, and more

Almetria Vaba of PBS Learning Media has posted a collection of resources for exploring media literacy through the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, jr.: Examine the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement with hundreds of PBS LearningMedia resources.  Here is a sampling of resources from the … Continue reading MISC Monday: MLK media literacy; social media stress; the attention economy, and more

McLuhan Monday: Print and Islam, mobile gaming medium theory, McLuhan’s relevance, and more

In an article for Haaretz reflecting on last week's terror attacks in Paris, Michael Handelzalts invokes McLuhan's infamous aphorism in relation to the emergence of print culture in the Islamic world: So, in the Muslim world, books and literacy became generally accessible (instead of being accessible only to the educated male and the wealthy) about a … Continue reading McLuhan Monday: Print and Islam, mobile gaming medium theory, McLuhan’s relevance, and more

Political Economy in Mumford’s “Technics & Civilization”

I've written about the media ecology tradition, attended the Media Ecology Association's conferences and had an article published in their journal, but up to now Marshall McLuhan's Understanding Media and Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death are the only primary texts associated with the tradition that I've read. To broaden my knowledge of the tradition … Continue reading Political Economy in Mumford’s “Technics & Civilization”

Graeber on labor and leisure; the perils of hipster economics; and the educational value of MOOCs

Following last month's post of David Graeber's views on "bullshit jobs," this Salon interview with Graeber discusses the failed forecast of universal leisure time: Right after my original bullshit jobs piece came out, I used to think that if I wanted, I could start a whole career in job counseling – because so many people … Continue reading Graeber on labor and leisure; the perils of hipster economics; and the educational value of MOOCs

Manifesto for a Ludic Century, ludonarrative dissonance in GTA, games and mindf*cks, and more

Kotaku recently posted a "manifesto" by game designer Eric Zimmerman declaring that the 21st century will be defined by games: Systems, play, design: these are not just aspects of the Ludic Century, they are also elements of gaming literacy. Literacy is about creating and understanding meaning, which allows people to write (create) and read (understand). … Continue reading Manifesto for a Ludic Century, ludonarrative dissonance in GTA, games and mindf*cks, and more

Videodrome turns 30

David Cronenberg's Videodrome premiered in February 1983. To mark the 30th anniversary of the film's release, Cyborgology co-founder Nathan Jurgenson reflects on the New Flesh in relation to contemporary social media: Videodrome’s depiction of techno-body synthesis is, to be sure, intense; Cronenberg has the unusual talent of making violent, disgusting, and erotic things seem even … Continue reading Videodrome turns 30

Rushkoff on Manning verdict, Chomsky/Žižek on NSA leaks, looking for McLuhan in Afghanistan

In an op-ed for CNN, Douglas Rushkoff examines what lessons the Bradley Manning verdict offers in the digital age: We are just beginning to learn what makes a free people secure in a digital age. It really is different. The Cold War was an era of paper records, locked vaults and state secrets, for which … Continue reading Rushkoff on Manning verdict, Chomsky/Žižek on NSA leaks, looking for McLuhan in Afghanistan

Next-gen gaming with Oculus Rift, McLuhan on surveillance state, Rushkoff on viral media

Brian Phillips at Grantland thinks spy movies present a fantasy of tourism: The spy is the ideal tourist because he represents an inner self perfectly contained within an outer self that is adapted to any possible location or circumstance. Travel can broaden him by the width of a new sexual conquest, but for the most … Continue reading Next-gen gaming with Oculus Rift, McLuhan on surveillance state, Rushkoff on viral media

Watching (and reading) the Society of the Spectacle

Youtuber Azorek79 has a video in 2 parts based on The Society of the Spectacle, narrated with excerpts from Debord's book as well as selections from McLuhan's The Medium is the Massage and John Berger's Ways of Seeing. Also, I just stumbled across a subreddit organized for a book-club-style reading of Society of the Spectacle. … Continue reading Watching (and reading) the Society of the Spectacle