• Klaus Theweleit, “Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo: The Technology of Reconstruction,” in Opera Through Other Eyes, ed. David J. Levin (Stanford: Stanford UP, 1994) 146-176

“Narcissus’s error, according to McLuhan, was that he became the servo-mechanism of his own image in the water; that he became the servant of his self-extension in the mirror. Something similar threatens Orpheus here. He servesEcho with cues (with the lyre, his self-extension) and waits to hear how she will return them. In this self-involvement Orpheus would become precisely the ‘closed system’ which McLuhan perceived in Narcissus. … [T]he love launched by [Amor’s] arrow can no longer reach the body of the new artist. … All he did now was make music. Exactly what McLuhan terms: ‘in love with his gadgets’.”

  • Friedrich Kittler, “World-Breath: On Wagner’s Media Technology,” in Opera Through Other Eyes, ed. David J. Levin (Stanford: Stanford UP, 1994) 215-235

“Critics have repeatedly remarked that on the whole The Flying Dutchman is based upon an optical halllucination. … Yet no one seems to have realized that with Lohengrin, that is, with the onset of Wagner’s maturity, acoustic hallucinations take the place of optical ones. … [Because] Elsa, Lohengrin’s future bride … passes over the contents of her laments, pleas and moans–to mention only the facts of these sounds–McLuhan’s theory becomes reality. … [T]he discourse shrinks to its vocal-physiological modalities.”


  • Lapham, Lewis. “Prime-time McLuhan.” Saturday Night 109.7 (September 1994): 51-54.

“I’m surprised that over the last thirty years, despite the constant and obsessive muttering about the media — their ubiquitous presence and innate wickedness — so few critics have taken account of McLuhan’s general theory. His prescience is extraordinary, and the events of the last thirty years have proved him more often right than wrong. His hypothesis anticipates by two decades the dissolution of international frontiers and the collapse of the Cold War. He assumes the inevitable rearrangement of university curricula under the rubrics of what we now call ‘multiculturalism,’ and he knows that, as commodities come to possess ‘more and more the character of information,’ the amassment of wealth will come to depend upon the naming of things rather than the making of things. Recognizing the weightlessness and self – referential character of the electronic media as well as the supremacy of the corporate logo or the Q rating (an industry indicator of a personality’s popularity level), McLuhan describes a world in which people live most of their lives within the enclosed and mediated spaces governed by the rule of images. As is his custom, he best expresses the general point in a conversational aside, while he seems to be talking about something else:

‘Travel differs very little from going to a movie or turning the pages of a magazine…. People… can have Shanghai or Berlin or Venice in a package tour that they need never open…. Thus the world itself becomes a sort of museum of objects.'”


  • Lewis Lapham, “Terms of Endearment: Theories of Marshall McLuhan as Illustrated by the O.J. Simpson Case.” Harper’s 289 (Sept 1994): 7-9.

9: “As McLuhan noticed thirty years ago, the technologies of the electronic future carry us backward into the firelight flickering in the caves of a Neolithic past. The habits of mind derived from our use of the mass media– ‘we become what we behold…we shape our tools and afterwards our tools shape us’–deconstruct the texts of a civilization founded on the premise of the printed page. To the extent that we revise the visual order of print, we substitute for the idea of the townsman or the citizen the sensibilities characteristic of preliterate peoples. If all the world can be seen simultaneously, and if all mankind’s joy and suffering is always and everywhere present (on CNN or with Sally Jessy Raphael, on the Sunday Night Movie or MTV), nothing necessarily follows from anything else. Sequence becomes merely additive instead of causative, and the inhabitants of the global village, imagining themselves living in the enchanted garden of the eternal now, swear fealty to the sovereignty of the moment. Why then would they require an explanation of O. J. Simpson’s appearance in the sacred grove of eucalyptus trees? Or of anything else that anybody cared to mention? Under the rule of images and the dispensation of the electronic media, ritual becomes a form of applied knowledge, and the presence of celebrity signifies nothing other than itself.” (9)


  • McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art . New York: Harper Perennial, 1994.


  • McIlwraith, Robert D.. “Marshall McLuhan and the Psychology of TV.” Canadian Psychology / Psychologie canadienne 35.4 (1994): 331-50.

341: “Ideas popularized by McLuhan, though largely ignored at the time by psychology (e.g. the paradox of the raptly involved but numb viewer, the nolinear alogical environment of real-time information, and the irrelevance of content to TV’s addictive power), now dominate the research agendas of many psychologists interested in television.”


  • Nevitt, Barrington and Maurice McLuhan. Who Was Marshall McLuhan? Exploring a Mosaic of Impressions. Eds. Frank Zingrone, Wayne Constanttineau, and Eric McLuhan. Toronto: Stoddart, 1994.


  • Pfieffer, K. Ludwig. “The Materiality of Communication.” Materialities of Communication . Eds. Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht and K. Ludwig Pfieffer. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1994.


  • Stamps, Judith. Unthinking Modernity: Innis, McLuhan, and the Frankfurt School . Montreal: McGill-Queen’s UP, 1994.