- Carey, James. “History and Communications [review].” Canadian Historical Review 74 (September 1993): 437-42.
441: “McLuhan … came to communications from literary criticism. He was the first of the postmodernists, at least in the sense that he supported the imperial claims of literary criticism to take on the whole of culture and technology and attempted, in his own inimitable way, to theorize the post-literate, post-industrial phase of culture. His work was much closer to Lewis Mumford, whose influence is all over The Mechanical Bride, than it is to Innis. The focal point of McLuhan’s work was the direct alteration of persons in their inner natures via technology: the changes wrought by communications technology in sensory ratios and sensibilities. He was concerned, to use Susan Sontag’s phrase, with the infra-didactic consequences of art. It does not diminish McLuhan one whit that he was on the hunt of his own unique game with his own literary weapons. Of course, he hooked his own work to that of Harold Innis; we all seek legitimacy for controversial work by linking it to respected figures safely deceased.”
- Goodman, Walter. “Marshall McLuhan, what’re ya doin? – The Five Myths of Television Power, or, Why the Medium is Not the Message [review].”Columbia Journalism Review 32 (March / April 1993): 59-61.
“Like most polemicists, [Douglas] Davis just won’t give his devils their due. It is always a pleasure to have someone trash Marshall McLuhan, but today’s theory mongers are not as thoroughly wrong-headed as contended here. Dealing with political campaigns — his best subject — Davis does a service by drawing attention to the fact that many candidates lose even though they out-spend their opponents in television advertising. But to say that television is not the absolute power some medianiks proclaim tells us only that every campaign is made up of many elements.”
- Heim, Michael. “Heidegger and McLuhan: The Computer as Component.” The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality . New York: Oxford UP, 1993.
- Jay, Martin. Downcast Eyes: The Denigration of Vision in Twentieth-Century Thought . Berkeley: U of California P, 1993.
- Lupton, Ellen. Mechanical Brides: Women and Machines from Home to Office . New York and Princeton: Cooper-Hewitt / Princeton Architectural P, 1993.
- McConnell, Frank. “Seeing Through the Tube.” The Wilson Quarterly 17.4 (1993): 56-65.
“And yet, in ways McLuhan could not have predicted, we have become, thanks to TV, a global–or at least a continental–village. To take two obvious instances, it was indisputably TV coverage of the war in Vietnam that generated a massive public revulsion against that particular adventure, and it was obviously Ronald Reagan’s superbly telegenic presence, more so than his policies, that made him the first two-term president in 30 years. More recently, in the 1992 presidential campaign, Bill Clinton and H. Ross Perot simultaneously contrived the “TV town meeting,” an electronic question-and-answer session that gives the illusion, at least, of coast-to-coast intimacy with the candidate. This phenomenon, certain to be a feature of all future campaigns, is itself modeled on a genre that didn’t even exist when McLuhan wrote: the “talk show,” in which Phil Donohue, Oprah Winfrey, or Geraldo Rivera, guests, and audience all share a conversational space at once glaringly public and deeply private, one part group therapy to two parts tribal council. To give a final example, it is now a very real challenge in heavily covered court cases (the Rodney King beating trial, the William Kennedy Smith rape trial, the Amy Fisher assault trial) to find jurors fit to serve. If they have seen the TV coverage of the alleged crimes, how impartial can they be? But given the ubiquitousness of TV in our lives, if they haven’t seen any coverage, how awake can they be? The global village, in other words, turns out to be a reality. The question is whether the secret name of the village is Salem.”
- Plunka, Gene A.. “McLuhan, Perfect People, and the Media Plays of Jean-Claude van Itallie.” American Drama 3.1 (1993): 67-86.
- Tiessen, Paul. “From Literary Modernism to the Tantramar Marshes: Anticipating McLuhan in British and Canadian Media Theory and Practice.”Canadian Journal of Communication 18.4 (1993): 451-67.
“That Wyndham Lewis anticipated the McLuhan whose media theories we know comes as no surprise, for McLuhan developed a close knowledge of Lewis’s work when he was in England. By 1935 – 1936, when he was at Cambridge, McLuhan had read Lewis’s Time and Western Man , and by 1938, several other of Lewis’s works (Toye in Molinaro, et al., 1987, pp. 6, 94) . His interest in Lewis’s twentieth – century program of analysis was reinforced also during many conversations between Lewis and McLuhan in Canada and the US between mid – 1943 and early 1945 when Lewis (like the other emblematic figures in this essay: Spry, Grierson , Noxon) found himself taking up residency in Canada after earlier work in England. Notwithstanding McLuhan’s apparent insistence on the corrective or reformative power of television as a mechanism for the provision of new harmonies and accommodations in the individual and the mass, it is worthy of note that Lewis comprehensively anticipated McLuhan’s emphasis on the social aspects of technological culture in all its complexity.”
- Walker, Don. “Media Literacy: The Vatican Echoes McLuhan.” America 168 (March 6 1993): 4-5.
“A year ago this month, the Vatican’s Council for Social Communications published an important statement on media and values, Aetatis Novae (‘At the Dawn of a New Era’), described as a ‘Pastoral Instruction on Social Communications.’ The document acknowledges that in the past the church has neglected and underestimated mass media and their powerful influence on society and culture. What it attempts to provide is a rationale or, perhaps better, the beginnings of a ‘theology of communications,’ and a pastoral plan for media literacy that it says must be given a high priority.
“The council was led to this decision to publish a pastoral on mass media because of what it sees as a revolution in human communication. The rapid development in communication technology has several serious implications for society. In a paragraph reminiscent of the late media philosopher Marshall McLuhan, the document states: ‘Much that men and women know and think about life is conditioned by the media; to a considerable extent, human experience is an experience of media.’ Indeed, recent surveys indicate that North Americans are averaging four hours per day consuming electronic media products. People are gleaning more information about their world from radio and television than they are from newspapers and other print media. If this is the case, the document asserts, ‘reality, for many, is what media recognize as real; what media do not acknowledge seems of little importance.'”
- Wollen, Peter. Raiding the Icebox: Reflections on Twentieth-Century Culture . London: Verso, 1993.
64-65: “The extraordinary achievement of McLuhan was to break out of the terms of the polemics for and against technology (Benjamin versus Huxley or Heidegger) by fusing romantic reaction with futurist technolatry. With McLuhan you get aspects of both Benjamin and Heidegger. Like Benjamin he privileges the tactile over the visual and dreams of the creation, through technology, of a radically new kind of human being. But like Heidegger he sees the new human being in a quasi-mystical way as a return to origins (back beyond mass production, beyond printing, even further, beyond the alphabet), to a world without separation, a world of perpetual now-ness.”