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

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

Secondary Orality and Electric Rhetoric: the ground of sound

In Orality and Literacy, Walter Ong introduces the term secondary orality to characterize the recapitulation of oral communication characteristics in electronic media; thus, the introduction of secondary orality necessitates a definition of primary orality in order to function as a meaningful concept. Ong distinguishes between two categories of cultures: oral cultures existing prior to or … Continue reading Secondary Orality and Electric Rhetoric: the ground of sound