City Scenes: Toronto Cinema Spaces pt. 2

Last month I made a return trip to Toronto. It was my first time getting to experience the city in Spring/Summer mode (all my previous visits have been in late October/early November). I also brought with me past impressions and unfinished business from recent trips, especially the cinema locations I wasn't able to visit last … Continue reading City Scenes: Toronto Cinema Spaces pt. 2

2022 in Video Games

I rarely have the time or energy to play video games these days. My waking life seems sufficiently suffused with challenges, tasks, and the pursuit of “achievements” that gaming often feels more like self-induced stress rather than relaxing escapism. But I’m still fascinated by the medium: games can be counted on to innovate technologically (if … Continue reading 2022 in Video Games

The Medium play at Pittsburgh’s City Theater

This past weekend City Theatre in Pittsburgh’s South Side began staging The Medium, a performance inspired by the work of Marshall McLuhan. The production was developed by New York-based SITI Company beginning in 1993 and was first presented at City Theatre in 1996. This means that The Medium was created during a unique moment in … Continue reading The Medium play at Pittsburgh’s City Theater

AOC invokes McLuhan with “Tax the Rich” Gala dress

Last week congresswoman and media-discourse-lightning-rod Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez kicked off a firestorm of hot takes by wearing a ball gown emblazoned with the message “Tax the Rich” to this year’s Met Gala. The annual super-exclusive social event and big money fundraising soiree typically attracts buzzing commentary over its dramatic displays of eye-catching haute couture. The buzz … Continue reading AOC invokes McLuhan with “Tax the Rich” Gala dress

Further thoughts on online education

This week I will be returning to an in-person classroom setting for the first time in more than a year and a half. It was evident last spring, and it remains evident now, that students are burnt out on online classes and eager to return to the classroom. My own feelings are a bit mixed. … Continue reading Further thoughts on online education

The MediuM: The home version of McLuhan’s maelstrom

Marshall McLuhan’s tetrad of media effects now has its own board game. Designed by Paolo Granata and his students at the University of Toronto, The MediuM gamifies McLuhan’s “laws of media.” From the promotional website: The Medium is played in teams of two or more players. With each round, one player, the Messenger, takes a … Continue reading The MediuM: The home version of McLuhan’s maelstrom

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?

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