Reading Qs for Sep. 10th—McLuhan

1.       McLuhan talked about hot/cold medium in Understanding Media. “A hot medium is one that extends one single sense in ‘high definition’……Hot media are, therefore, low in participation”; on the contrary, “cool media are high in participation or completion by the audience”. (162). However, the original book — Understanding Media: The Extension of Man — was published in 1964. Do you think, along with the highly convergent development of media technologies in today’s world, some of McLuhan’s concepts and categories of media have already been out-dated? If not, then how do you apply it to analyzing new media? For example, is the Internet a hot medium or a cold one? Personally, I think it stays in the middle of somewhere.

2.       McLuhan also pointed out that“the medium is the message” (151), and “the globe is no more than a village” (150) in The Gutenberg Galaxy and Understanding Media. He mentioned and illustrated these points many times in his other works later. In a world filled with convergent media/digital media, what kind of impact do you think new media exert on human consciousness and social structure? Is to globalize (Here, I mean a unified globalization.) or to re-tribalize (Like the Internet re-tribalization.)?

3.       McLuhan seemed to be a technological determinist. He repeatedly emphasized that the emergence of new media requires a new mode of perception, and media technologies are the extension of man. It is extremely profound that he contemplated the influential position of media technology takes in the development of human being within the context of social and cultural environments. Nonetheless, some of his opinions are seemed like very questionable (Although some are prescient.). For example, is it true that the content any particular medium brings about less matters or is unimportant at all to human consciousness and society?


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