Transistor kills the radio star?


«How and why, for example, does seeing a movie on television differ from seeing it in a motion Picture theater, how is reading the news different from hearing it on radio, and how is that in turn different from watching it on TV? In raising and attempting to answer such questions, McLuhan in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s developed an intricate  taxonomy of media and their effects, one which reached back to the origin of our species for comparisons » (Levinson, 1999: 1-2)

Tom Wolfe asked in 1965, “What if he is right?” Might McLuhan be “the most Important thinker since Newton, Darwin, Freud, Einstein, and Pavlov?” Although Wolfe surprisingly included Pavlov on that list, he was asking the right question. And the perspective of Digital McLuhan is that the answer is yes» (2)


Whatever the heat or coolness of radio and recordings, they could never warrant the level of involvement of telephone, for the plain reason that they are deaf to the voices of their listeners (unless, of course, someone calls a radio station on the phone – in which case, the addition of the phone makes radio interactive). And radio poses another problem for hot/ cool analysis. How is it that radio, a sound-only medium, can be hot, while television with its audiovisual presentation can be cool? (10)


«the Web has made of McLuhan’s proposition that the Xerox was turning ever author into a publisher. (…) The initial formulation of course had more than a dash of hyperbole.  (…) The question for gatekeeping in the digital age will be: with the Web removing the technological and economic recsons for the pre-sorting of information, will the public still100k to gatekeepers to provide an imprimatur of what is best to read, see, and hear, or will audiences seek out and ratify a more direct relationship wih creators? (11-12)


«The Internet, of course, is seen in a rear-view mirror par excellence. Its critics are prone to see it as a television screen; its devotees, including me, are inclined to see it as an improved kind of book. But the truth of the matter, yet to be fully determined, is that the Internet is and will be a combination and transformation of both books and other media such as telephone as well, and thus is something much more, much different from any prior media. The rear-view mirror cannot tell us what that is, but it can remind us not to get too mesmerized by reflections of the immediate past. The driver who looks only into the rear-view mirror, or even too often, and accords consequently short shrift to the road ahead and its new possibilities can quickly end up on the side of the road, or worse.»


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