Media Hypotheses

I. Equivalents Of "The Medium Is The Message"

form = content

how something is communicated = what is being communicated

how you say it = what you are saying

how you look = what you are conveying

(how you are dressed = what you mean)

II. People Are Suspicious Of Their Ears

"Most people find it difficult to understand purely verbal concepts. They suspect the ear; they don't trust it. In general we feel more secure when things are visible, when we can "see for ourselves." We admonish children, for instance, to "believe only half of what they see, and nothing of what they hear." All kinds of "shorthand" systems of notation have been developed to help us see what we hear.

"We employ visual and spatial metaphors for a great many everyday expressions. We insist on employing visual metaphors even when we refer to purely psychological states, such as tendency and duration. For instance, we say thereafter when we really mean thenafter, always when we mean at all times. We are so visually biased that we call our wisest men visionaries, or seers!" 

-- Marshall McLuhan & Quentin Fiore, The Medium Is The Massage

III. Today What Matters Is "Who," Not "What"

"What President Bush says or does matters as little as how well or poorly J. Lo sings; it is the weight of the publicity -- face time in front of a camera, column inches in the magazines -- that moves the tide of emotion and alters the geography of nations. In Washington hearing rooms and Hollywood restaurants, names take precedence over things (the who, not the what), and in the same way that premodern peoples assigned trace elements of the divine to trees and words and stones (a river god sulked and the child drowned; a sky god smiled and the corn ripened); our postmodern systems of communication award magical powers to whales and presidents, movie stars and spotted owls."  -- Lewis Lapham

IV. Television Is A Video Of Another World

"Suddenly the TV reveals itself for what it really is: a video of another world, ultimately addressed to no one at all, delivering its messages indifferently, indifferent to its own messages (you can easily imagine it still functioning after humanity has disappeared)."  -- Jean Baudrillard

V. Entropy, Negation

"One must be disinterested, accept that a sound is a sound and a man is a man, give up illusions about ideas of order, expressions of sentiment, and all the rest of our inherited aesthetic claptrap."  -- John Cage

"Today what we are experiencing is the absorption of all virtual modes of expression into that of advertising. All original cultural forms, all determined languages are absorbed in advertising because it has no depth, it is instantaneous and instantaneously forgotten."

"There is no longer a stage, not even the minimal illusion that makes events capable of adopting the force of reality -- no more stage either of mental or political solidarity: what do Chile, Biafra, the boat people, Bologna, or Poland matter? All of that comes to be annihilated on the television screen. We are in the era of events without consequences..."  -- Baudrillard

 

Further Reading

Media Files. A list of scholarly articles on the media.

 

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