• Curtis, James. “Toward a Sociotechnological Interpretation of Popular Music in the Electronic Age.” Technology & Culture 25.1 (1984): 91-102.


93: “This paper constitutes the first detailed application of McLuhan’s hypothesis that suprapersonal laws govern the evolution of media. I am therefore downplaying the continuity which, as we all know, occurred from one period to another. Elvis Presley’s career spanned all three periods, for example, but his singing style tended to remain as it was when he first perfected it. The rise of ‘underground’ FM rock stations in the middle 1960s did not mean that people stopped listening to AM radio; rather, it meant that these new stations redefined the predominant concept of popular music. Thus, one must understand all four of McLuhan’s questions, especially the second, ‘What does it obsolesce?’ in a relative rather than an absolute sense. No one is suggesting that new media necessarily annihilate the previous ones, and obsolescent media often show great power and energy. McLuhan’s laws do not exhaustively describe technological change but, rather, define the nature of that change to explain the distinctive features of innovation.”


  • Hwa, Jol Jung. “Misreading the Ideogram: From Fenollosa to Derrida and McLuhan.” Paideuma: A Journal Devoted to Ezra Pound Scholarship 13.2 (1984): 211-27.


226: “For McLuhan as for Innis the idea of language as a medium of communication is singularly important. McLuhan single-handedly sloganized the highly charged idea that ‘the medium is the message.’ For McLuhan (as for Innis), it is the medium of communication that shapes and controls the structures of the human mind, sensorium and association. ‘For,’ McLuhan explains, ‘the “content” of a medium is like the juicy piece of meat carried by the burglar to distract the watchdog of the mind.’ Moreover, the content of any medium is always another medium. For Fenollosa the Chinese written character is a medium or vehicle for poetry, whereas in the language of McLuhan it is poetry.”


  • Kenner, Hugh. “McLuhan Redux.” Harper’s 269 (Nov 1984): 71-3.


72: “I have sometimes wondered if Marshall didn’t evolve his whole theory of media as a way to explain why there seemed to be people who tried to interrupt his monologues. What cataclysm of history had spawned them ? Why, literacy, with its first-things-first-let’s-keep-it-all-straight syndrome. Were they not the very people who kept wincing at somebody’s grammar? The word ‘grammar’ itself derives from the Greek word for a written mark. That would have been enough to get him started. Much as Saul found a kingdom while out hunting for his father’s asses, Marshall McLuhan found his skeleton key to the social psyche. Thereafter he kept it hanging on a hook labeled ‘Media,’ and never bothered to explain what Media were.”


  • Kroker, Arthur. “Processed World: Technology and Culture in the Thought of Marshall McLuhan.” Philosophy of the Social Sciences 14.4 (1984): 433- 459.


451: “It was in an equally desperate gamble at increasing popular awareness of the ‘flip’ done to us by the age of electric circuitry that McLuhan undertook an essentially medical survey of technological society. McLuhan’s ‘classification of symptoms’ took the form of an elaborate and historical description of the evolution of technology from the ‘mechanical’ extensions of man (wheels, tools, printing) to the mythic, inclusive technologies of the electric age (television, movies, computers, telephone, phonography). His ‘diagnosis’ was that the crisis induced by technological society had much to do with the ‘closures’ (numbing) effected among the sense ratios by new technical inventions. McLuhan was explicit about the technological origins of the modern stress syndrome: ‘the outering or extension of our bodies and senses in a new invention compels the whole of our bodies and senses to shift into new positions in order to maintain equilibrium.’ A new ‘closure’ is occasioned in our sensory organs and faculties, both private and public, by new technical extensions of man. And McLuhan’s ‘therapeutic’: the deployment of ‘creative imagination’ as a new way of seeing technology, and or responding, mythically and in depth, to the challenges of the age of the electric circuitry.” (451)


  • Arthur Kroker, Technology and the Canadian Mind: Innis / McLuhan / Grant. Montreal: New World Perspectives, 1984.


  • O’Neill, John. ” Bio Technology : Empire, Communications and Bio-Power.”Mcluhan e le metamorfosi dell’uomo . Ed. Derrick de Kerckhove and Amilcare Iannucci. Roma: Bulzoni, 1984. 249-63.


249-250: “Harold Innis considered empire ‘an indication of the efficiency of communication’ [EmC 9]. That is to say, he thought empire and communication to be inextricable valorizations of power. Innis and McLuhan inspire us to consider all political history as inseparable from the history of bio-communication systems. Their work subverts the dualisms in idealist and materialist historiography because they never consider human history as anything else than an embodied history inscribed upon the communis sensus [ sic ]. History is human history or bio-textual because it alters our sensory and cognitive ratios but always in concert with the history of our land, its rivers and forests, its fish, fur, and minerals. It is the material history of these things that underwrites. our mental and sensory histories told in our chronicles, monuments and laws.” (249-50)


  • Perez, Janet. “The Rhetoric of Ambiguity.” Critical Approaches to the Writings of Juan Benet . Eds. David Herzberger et al.. Hanover, NH: UP of New England for Univ. of Rhode Island, 1984. 


24-25: “Rational, says McLuhan, has for the West long meant ‘uniform, continuous, and sequential.’ Western man has confused reason, literacy, and rationalism with a single technology (a reference to printing). Thus in the electric age man seems to the conventional West to become irrational. McLuhan is concerned with the effects of technology on psychic formation, and the demand of technology that we behave in uniform and continuous patterns. In proclaiming that ‘the medium is the message,” McLuhan sees ‘message’ as equatable with the impact on human sensory perception patterns and on institutions. For him, the medium, more than the content ofcommunication, carries the societally significant message. Thus, he believes that the medium of print has done more to revolutionize society than the content of the printed words, just as the alphabet, the telegraph, television, and other media have reshaped basic messages, reorienting their very content. McLuhan’s focus, of course, is the medium rather than the message, and his work raises fundamental questions about the importance of content in the rhetorical process.”


  • Persky, Joel. “The ‘Innescence’ of Marshall McLuhan.” Journal of Canadian Culture 1.2 (1984): 3-14.

10: “A last similarity in the writing styles of both men is their ‘probing.’ Both Innis and McLuhan juxtapose seemingly, and at times admittedly, unconnected or unrelated facts and observations. Both omit amplification or elaboration of points made in their work. Both have abandoned the presentation of hypotheses, evidence which supports or refutes those hypotheses, and a conclusion or conclusions which follow from that presentation. Both are generally cryptic in the presentation of their ideas. The net result of this style, in each case, is the active participation of the reader in the author’s work and the reader’s supplying insights which may or may not have occurred to the writer.”


  • Theall, Donald. “McLuhan and the Toronto School of Communication.”Understanding 1984 . Ottawa: Canadian Commission for UNESCO, 1984. 47-55.

51: “McLuhan could well have turned from The Mechanical Bride, because he did not know how to encompass at that early stage the complexities of the social, aesthetic and neurocultural components of the texts which he felt had to be simultaneously held in perspective to meet the demands of his multidisciplinary program for a new humanism.”