1999

  • Arnason, David. “McLuhan and Baudrillard [review].” Border Crossings 18.3 (1999): 72-4.

“The McLuhan revealed in the pages of this book, however, is pretty unattractive. He burst on the scene as a proponent of the youth culture of the ’60s and as a leader in the counter-cultural revolution against traditional academic values. He was read as radical and revolutionary, but as Genosko points out, ‘Ultimately, however, MacLuhan’s own corporatist assumptions, homophobia, and ‘right-to-life’ politics were read as the signs of a deeply conservative Catholic thinker.’ (Note: McLuhan is deliberately spelled MacLuhan as part of Genosko’s rhetorical strategy.) Dozens of intellectuals, both at home and abroad, were dismayed by the very unscientific method of his thought. He sallied on, not the slightest bit unwilling to talk about writers and theorists he knew of only through secondary sources. His originality and his fame were sufficient anchors for his thought.

Genosko’s writing moves to a sort of cranky lyricism when he contemplates McLuhan’s relationship to Marx. He points out that McLuhan felt that ‘Marx’s categories were too deeply embedded in political economy and therefore inadequate for describing contemporary capitalist societies. McLuhan quickly undermined his not particularly well-formed criticisms with a social and political blindness staggering in its implications.’ He goes on, a little later, to suggest that, ‘Reading the McLuhan on Marx is a little like reading Ronald Reagan on Marx. In both cases the discussions employ a few guy-ropes based on borrowed concepts but remain, for the most part, content to float wherever their own currents take them.'”

 

  • Baldwin, Charles Alexander. “Vanishing Aesthetics: Mediality and Literature after Merleau-Ponty, Virilio, and McLuhan.” Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: The Humanities and Social Sciences (DAIA) 60.5 (1999): 1554.

 

•        Browne, Ray and Marshall Fishwick, eds.. The Global    

         Village: Dead or Alive? Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green    

          U Popular P, 1999.

 

  • Carey, James W. “Interpreting McLuhan.” Journal of Communication 49.3 (1999): 187-93.

187: “Marshall McLuhan’s career was not untypical of literary critics. Criticism is a craft, unlike many other of the intellectual disciplines, in which fame lasts but for a lifetime. The work of prominent critics and their influence is profound while alive, but, once gone, they are quickly forgotten, reduced to a footnote and largely left unread. McLuhan’s fame was unusual only in its brevity. He had but a brief, though intense and incandescent, time in the intellectual sun, perhaps 7 years, at most a decade between the publication of Understanding Media and his 1976 appearance in Annie Hall . He pretty much went into eclipse in the early 1970s, died on the last day of 1980, and his work remained largely unread and without influence, except among a few North American and French scholars, until a revival began early in this decade. His fame obeyed the law of celebrity: The rate of ascent is strictly mirrored in the rate of descent.”

 

  • Cavell, Richard. “Material Querelle: The Case of Frye and McLuhan.” Essays on Canadian Writing (ECW) 68 (Summer 1999): 242-65.

257: “Frye’s theories, in contrast to McLuhan’s analogical position, are unidirectional, moving constantly away from the local and particular toward the anagogy of transcendence. As Kizuk states, ‘In McLuhan’s thinking, there is no single pattern of otherness – neither essence’ in Smith’s sense, nor `presence’ in Frye’s – whose objective reality dwells beyond the actual, living, and breathing, participating individual’ ( 118 ). The implications of this theoretical positioning are crucial to McLuhan’s understanding that media are material and that their materiality impinges on what an earlier paradigm (that of print) referred to as content. In a sense, this is a rhetorical notion, which argues that the shaping of a message is crucial to the understanding of that message. The implications of this rhetoric in an era of mass culture, however, are much vaster than they were in the era of the ‘public,’ whose ambit was much more restricted and much less invasive – invasive because electronic media are extensions of our selves. (One of McLuhan’s most profound formulations about technology was that it has become an organism that we fecundate with ever greater inventiveness (Understanding 46].)”

 

  • Richard Cavell, “McLuhan and Spatial Communication.” Western Journal of Communication 63.3 (1999): 348-63.

 

  • Clark, Timothy. “Technology Inside: Enlightenment and Romantic Assumptions of the Orality / Literacy School.” Oxford Literary Review 21 (1999): 57- 72.

 

  • Gerrie, James. “Innis, McLuhan and Grant and the Challenge of Technological Dependence. Arachne: An Interdisciplinary Journal of the Humanities 6.2 (1999): 87-100.

 

  • Geisler, Michael. “From Building Blocks to Radical Construction: West German Media Theory Since 1984.” New German Critique 78 (Autumn 1999): 75- 108.

91-92: “Communication . seen as an operative concept rather than an epistemological one, depends on the simultaneous processing of stimuli from a vast (potentially infinite) number of heterogeneous sources. This process itself hinges on a large number of individuals performing the same operations in analogous ways, operations which are organized by ‘media.’ By ‘media’ Luhmann means not the electronic devices usually referred to by that name, but rather such social constructions as ‘power,’ ‘money,’ ‘love,’ ‘art,’ or ‘religion.’ This is where the affinities to McLuhan’s concept of the ‘end of the Gutenberg galaxy,’ i.e., the end of the print paradigm come into play. The printed word, through its most distinctive storage medium, the book, has created a paradigm of sequential, hierarchical information processing that has dominated western epistemology ever since Gutenberg invented the printing press. It has enabled the rise of western culture, but it has become increasingly restrictive. Hidden underneath this paradigm of sequential information processing, however, there has always been a desire for plenitude, for the more contingent, recursive, simultaneous mode of communication provided by sensory perception before its complexity is reduced and organized by language.”

 

  • Genosko, Gary. McLuhan and Baudrillard: The Masters of Implosion . New York: Routledge, 1999.

40: “McLuhan’s oral society is . marked by an ‘acoustic orientation’ that is also tactile or auditive-tactile. What this means is that orality is irreducible to speech as such because tactility is for McLuhan a sign of the interplay of the senses, itself irreducible to haptic sensation.”

 

  • N. Katherine Hayles, How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics (Chicago: U Chicago P, 1999)

34: “By the 1960s, Marshall McLuhan was speculating about the transformation that media, understood as technological prostheses, were effecting on human beings. He argued that humans react to stress in their environments by withdrawing the locus of selfhood inward, in a numbing withdrawal from the world he called (following Hans Selye and Adolphe Jonas) ‘autoamputation.’ This withdrawal in turn facilitates and requires compensating technological extensions that project the body-as-prosthesis back out into the world. … McLuhan clearly sees that electronic media are capable of bringing about a reconfiguration so extensive as to change the nature of ‘man.’”

 

  • Jofre, Manuel. ” McLuhan, el sensorium y la historia de la comunicacion.”Atena: Revista de Ciencia, Arte y Literatura de la Unversidad de Concepcion . 480 (1999): 75-83.

 

  • Krull, Kathleen. “Revisiting Eleanor, Marshall, and Roald; or, Having a Sense of Humor in the Millenium.” The Horn Book 75.5 (1999): 564-71.

569-570: “In the main, I think, [McLuhan] was stunningly accurate about the direction media were going to take and what the effect was going to be. Eliza Dresang, in Radical Change: Books for Youth in a Digital Age (H. W. Wilson, 1999), calls him an ‘accurate prophet’ for foreseeing so much of the way children’s books have been developing. What McLuhan said about TV did turn out to make sense, and the changes he predicted are speeding up. But his observations became even truer for computers. For example, everyone was supposed to become his or her own publisher. McLuhan meant by way of copy machines, but these are nothing compared to today’s personalized websites.”

 

  • Lamberti, Elena. ” Vivisecting Society: Joycean Heuristic in Marshall McLuhan’sThe Mechanical Bride.” Prospero: Rivista di culture anglo germaniche 6 (1999): 87-104.

 

  • Levinson, Paul. Digital McLuhan: A Guide to the Information Millenium . New York: Routledge, 1999.

 

  • Paul Levinson, “Millennial McLuhan: Clues for Deciphering the Digital Age.” The Chronicle of Higher Education 46.8 (1999): B10-11.

 

“References to the past — such as stained-glass windows — are an inevitable part of our attempts to understand the media of the present; we first make sense of the new by seeing how it relates to what we already know. But McLuhan warned against looking too long into what he termed the “rear-view mirror.” Its linguistic reflections are everywhere. The telephone was first called the talking telegraph, the automobile the horseless carriage, the radio the wireless. But each of those technologies was much more. The telephone breached the privacy of our home; the automobile empowered countries that had oil; radio became the first nationwide, simultaneous mass medium; and since none of those consequences were highlighted in the initial retro-labels, those rear-view mirrors distracted us from crucial developments and implications.”

 

  • Lum, Ken. “Canadian Cultural Policy: A Problem of Metaphysics.” Canadian Art 16.3 (1999) 76-83.

“McLuhan’s thoughts about a future Global Village of electronically rendered synchronic relations and the degree to which reality is shaped by the effects of media have proven brilliantly prescient. While cautious about the possible dangers posed by changing technologies, McLuhan was generally positive in his outlook of its applications. He said in 1961 that: “The compressional, implosive nature of the new electric technology is retrogressing Western man back from the open plateaus of literate values and into the heart of tribal darkness, into what Joseph Conrad termed ‘the Africa within.'” Such an idea was taken as a directive by Canadian policymakers to ensure that Canada maintained a position of mediation between an increasingly communications-based modernity that signaled the advent of what has come to be known as globalization and fundamentalist reactions which could lead to the return of ultra-nationalist sentiments. Presaging such a role for Canada and the implementation of multiculturalism as a policy of state, McLuhan said: Individual talents and perspectives don’t have to shrivel within a retribalized society; they merely interact within a group consciousness that has the potential for releasing far more creativity than the old atomized culture. Literate man is alienated, impoverished man; retribalized man can lead a far richer and more fulfilling life-not the life of a mindless drone but of the participant in a seamless web of interdependence and harmony.” Also in 1961, McLuhan predicted during an address to the Humanities Association of Canada that the arts and sciences in Canada would experience an era of unprecedented accomplishment. Many Canadians, including the burgeoning numbers of separatist nationalists in Quebec, shared McLuhan’s optimism, albeit with different objectives in mind.”

 

  • McKenzie, D. F.. Bibliography and the Sociology of Texts .. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1999.

 

17: “[T]he particular inquiry I wish to pursue is whether or not the material form of books, the non-verbal elements of typographic notations within them, the very disposition of space itself, have an expressive function in conveying meaning, and whether or not it is, properly, a bibliographical task to discuss it. Again, I sense that theory limps behind practice. At one end of the spectrum, we must of course recognize that Erwin Panofsky on perspective as symbolic form has long since made the theme familiar; at the other end, we find that Marshall McLuhan’sUnderstanding Media has made it basic to media studies.”

 

  • Roth, Nancy. “Digital McLuhan : A Guide to the Information Millennium [review].” Afterimage 27.2 (1999): 6-8.

“Much of McLuhan’s recent reception is concerned to repair, restore, revalue and ultimately to redeem a figure that suffered a kind of media martyrdom in the 1970s and early 1980s. No academic before or since has become as famous as McLuhan was in the 1960s. An English professor consulted by CEOs of major corporations on a regular basis, dispensing advice to the Prime Minister of Canada and turning up in a cameo role in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall (1977) is literally unimaginable today, when ‘academic celebrity’ approaches the status of an oxymoron. Academic work is designed for print. Compared to either speech or electronic communication, it is slow. To read a substantial piece of research takes days or weeks–to write one, often years. ‘Stars’ are created almost instantaneously. McLuhan made the two look compatible, at least for a time. Some of his books, as well as his television and print interviews, reached a very large and diverse audience. Whether or not they were actually read is another question. Most current writers agree that in his lifetime McLuhan was scarcely understood at all. There is a general agreement, too, that McLuhan’s texts are easier to understand today, in part because his readers are now quite familiar with some of the technologies that seemed rather improbable at the time.”

 

  • Schreiber, Rachel. “Cyborgs, Avatars, Laa-Laa and Po: The Work of Mariko Mori.” Afterimage 26.5 (1999): 10-12.

“Allucquere Rosanne (Sandy) Stone, a disciple of [Donna] Haraway’s, has written of technology as her prosthesis, that is, as an extension of herself. This language is reminiscent of Marshall McLuhan’s ideas about media, put forth in his books Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (1964) and The Medium is the Massage (1967). McLuhan’s writing shares the manifesto-like qualities of Haraway’s essay, and although his books were extremely popular at the time they were published, they were subsequently tossed aside for a number of years as being too pop in their approach to sociology. However, McLuhan’s prophetic sense of emerging innovations in virtual technologies is evidenced by the fact that recently Understanding Media has been reissued as a staple for new media and communications studies.”

 

  • Smith, Bruce R.. The Acoustic World of Early Modern England: Attending to the O-Factor. Chicago: U Chicago P, 1999.

16: “[I]n the work of Marshall McLuhan, Walter Ong, and Elizabeth Eisenstein, different modes of media are endowed with a power over psyches and societies that implicitly turns those media into self-generating, self-reproducing systems of meanings.”

 

  • Tremblay, Tony. “Internet Censorship as ‘Cybriety’: Freud, McLuhan, and Media Pleasures. Mosaic 32.1 (1999): 167-82.

180-181: “As McLuhan counseled, ‘the essence of education’ should provide civil defense against media fallout (i.e., against “the subliminal operation of our own technologies”)’ (Gutenberg Galaxy 246). Will we forever ignore history, will we be led in deference again, looking to television and other politically motivated interests to form our opinions? If we allow ourselves to become embroiled in a cleverly orchestrated debate that speaks to gender and other ideologically charged ‘blind spots,’ as Walter Kendrick calls them, then the answer is surely YES. The lesson offered by McLuhan lies in his own reversion to history and narrative to seek that which recurs in human behavior when humans embrace new media and technologies. That lesson imparts a simple but demanding humanism: that we must not release anyone from the responsibility of clear statement, historical precedent, and vital particulars. The Internet can be as complex as its current industrial ‘discourse,’ or as simple as a recurring historical moment, one which again extends human desire into the expressive realms of the autoerotic. Given the evidence thus far, I hold for the latter. Internet censorship, or cybriety, is not new; it is a re-run of our favorite drama, the psychoanalytic morality play that teeters between our desires and our fear of their fulfillment.”

 

  • Winthrop-Young, Geoffrey and Michael Wutz. “Translators’ Introduction.”Gramophone, Film, Typewriter . By Friedrich Kittler. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1999: xi-xxxvii.

xii: “[Mcluhan was rejected by the Left (at least in Germany)] because his focus on bodies and media, extensions, narcosis and self-amputation was more materialist than Marxism had ever been.”

 

  • Wyatt, Roger. “The Emergence of A Digital Cinema.” Computers and the Humanities 33.4 (1999): 365-81.

367: “Marshall McLuhan has observed, ‘that when information brushes against information, the results are startling and effective.’ Magritte, Dali, and other surrealists were masters of this. The startling and surprising juxtapositions of their work reflect deep structural shifts in humanity’s views of interior and exterior reality. On one level the melted clocks of Dali’s The Persistence of Memory (1931) proclaim the decline of the industrial Victorian era and the ascent of the quantum information era. New paradigms have always been accompanied by new aesthetics. Digital Cinema represents an emerging aspect of the aesthetics of an information age. As with earlier aesthetics, digital cinema brushes visual information against visual information to achieve its effects.”