• 22,00 kr

Publisher Description

To begin with McLuhan is not to begin at the beginning of media ecology, but to plunge in medias res. Given that the field has no founder and inventor, making it difficult to determine just what constitutes the beginning of the media ecology intellectual tradition, it makes sense to start at the center of the field and work our way outward. Whether McLuhan firmly occupies the center, or is positioned slightly off-center, may be debated, but his importance in establishing the field is generally accepted. As Paul Levinson (2000) puts it McLuhan's first book, The Mechanical Bride: Folklore of Industrial Man, originally published in 1951, has been reissued by Gingko Press in 2002 after being out of print for many years. Although it is sometimes viewed as a "content book" in contrast to his later emphasis on media, The Mechanical Bride is in fact an analysis of how popular culture reflects and promotes the attitudes, beliefs, and values of technological society. Technological man is either a specialist-savant like Sherlock Holmes or an emasculated drone like Dagwood Bumstead, according to McLuhan. Technological woman is mass produced (from the assembly line to the chorus line) with the help of industrial products such as girdles, soaps, and domestic gadgets (or she is replaced by products such as the automobile). Technological children are given baby formula instead of being breast fed (setting up an oral fixation that will later be satisfied by Coca-Cola) and provided a technical education that will allow them to fit into the machine-like organizations of corporate America. Even in death, we are ruled by technology through the sale of coffins that are weather-resistant. In this highly accessible and concrete way, McLuhan provides a multitude of examples of what Jacques Ellul (1964) calls "la technique" and Postman (1992) "technopoly." The new edition of The Mechanical Bride is notable for its high quality reproductions of the numerous advertisements, comics, and newspaper and magazine items that are the subject of McLuhan's commentary. As these "exhibits" are over half a century old, they have gained historical value in the place of currency. The distance of time makes it easier to recognize the values, beliefs, and attitudes that they carry, as opposed to contemporary culture, and this makes McLuhan's analysis easier to follow than it might have been in the past.

22 June
Centre for the Study of Communication and Culture

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