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

Urban Communication: media ecology & infrastructure, neighborhood narratives, rhetoric & rebranding, and more

In Urban Media Ecology news, several recent studies reported correlations between characteristics of the built environment and human health. A study from the University of Kansas (in my birthplace of Lawrence) found that "neighborhoods that motivate walking can stave off cognitive decline in older adults": The researcher judged walkability using geographic information systems — essentially … Continue reading Urban Communication: media ecology & infrastructure, neighborhood narratives, rhetoric & rebranding, and more

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

Urban Media Ecology: light pollution, gender mainstreaming, urban marginality

When I first read Jerry Mander's Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television several years ago I was inclined to agree with the bulk of the thesis presented: the dangers posed by the inherent biases of the television medium, such as the centralization of control and "the walling of awareness". One of Mander's arguments that … Continue reading Urban Media Ecology: light pollution, gender mainstreaming, urban marginality

Your brain on Kindle; 21st Century media literacy; how Disney shapes youth identity

Radio program New Tech City from WNYC interviewed Mike Rosenwald on his research into the effects of reading from a screen as opposed to print. Article and audio from the interview available here: Neuroscience, in fact, has revealed that humans use different parts of the brain when reading from a piece of paper or from … Continue reading Your brain on Kindle; 21st Century media literacy; how Disney shapes youth identity

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”

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

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

Zimmerman media coverage, remediation in Game of Thrones, Scorcese on reading cinema, and much more

William Saletan at Slate shows how media coverage has misrepresented Juror B29's comments on the Zimmerman trial verdict:The reports are based on an ABC News interview with Juror B29, the sole nonwhite juror. She has identified herself only by her first name, Maddy. She’s been framed as the woman who was bullied out of voting … Continue reading Zimmerman media coverage, remediation in Game of Thrones, Scorcese on reading cinema, and much more