Herbert Marshall McLuhan, CC (July 21, 1911 – December 31, 1980) was a Canadianphilosopher of communication theory and a public intellectual. His work is viewed as one of the cornerstones of the study of media theory, as well as having practical applications in the advertising and television industries.
McLuhan is known for coining the expressions the medium is the message and the global village, and for predicting the World Wide Web almost thirty years before it was invented. Although he was a fixture in media discourse in the late 1960s, his influence began to wane in the early 1970s. In the years after his death, he continued to be a controversial figure in academic circles. With the arrival of the internet, however, interest in his work and perspective has renewed.
《認識媒體 : 人的延伸》/ 麥克魯漢(Marshall McLuhan)著 ; 鄭明萱譯，台北市: 貓頭鷹出版, 2006
Marshall McLuhan and the Wired Future
Gregory McNamee - March 24, 2009
“As extension of man the chair is a specialist ablation of the posterior, a sort of ablative absolute of backside, whereas the couch extends the integral being.”
本書至少用了" implosion 內爆"27次
If the nineteenth century was the age of the editorial chair, ours is the century of the psychiatrist's couch. As extension of man the chair is a specialist ablation of the posterior, a sort of ablative absolute of backside, whereas the couch extends the integral being. The psychiatrist employs the couch, since it removes the temptation to express private points of view and obviates the need to rationalize events.
先以The Mechanical Bride:Folklore of Industrial Man（漢譯本：馬歇爾•麥克盧漢著《機器新娘》，何道寬譯，
Peter Drucker 為The Mechanical Bride by Marshall McLuhan (1951) 寫序、介紹。
翻譯者何道寬（１９４２-）為Marshall McLuhan 著作集的主要翻譯者：「（中共）政府津貼專家，
Understanding Media (1964)
McLuhan's most widely known work, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (1964), is a pioneering study in media theory. Dismayed by the way people approached and used new media such as television, McLuhan famously argued that in the modern world "we live mythically and integrally ... but continue to think in the old, fragmented space and time patterns of the pre-electric age."
McLuhan proposed that media themselves, not the content they carry, should be the focus of study—popularly quoted as "the medium is the message". McLuhan's insight was that a medium affects the society in which it plays a role not by the content delivered over the medium, but by the characteristics of the medium itself. McLuhan pointed to the light bulb as a clear demonstration of this concept. A light bulb does not have content in the way that a newspaper has articles or a television has programs, yet it is a medium that has a social effect; that is, a light bulb enables people to create spaces during nighttime that would otherwise be enveloped by darkness. He describes the light bulb as a medium without any content. McLuhan states that "a light bulb creates an environment by its mere presence." More controversially, he postulated that content had little effect on society—in other words, it did not matter if television broadcasts children's shows or violent programming, to illustrate one example—the effect of television on society would be identical. He noted that all media have characteristics that engage the viewer in different ways; for instance, a passage in a book could be reread at will, but a movie had to be screened again in its entirety to study any individual part of it.
"Hot" and "cool" media
In the first part of Understanding Media, McLuhan also stated that different media invite different degrees of participation on the part of a person who chooses to consume a medium. Some media, like the movies, were "hot"—that is, they enhance one single sense, in this case vision, in such a manner that a person does not need to exert much effort in filling in the details of a movie image. McLuhan contrasted this with "cool" TV, which he claimed requires more effort on the part of the viewer to determine meaning, and comics, which due to their minimal presentation of visual detail require a high degree of effort to fill in details that the cartoonist may have intended to portray. A movie is thus said by McLuhan to be "hot", intensifying one single sense "high definition", demanding a viewer's attention, and a comic book to be "cool" and "low definition", requiring much more conscious participation by the reader to extract value.
"Any hot medium allows of less participation than a cool one, as a lecture makes for less participation than a seminar, and a book for less than a dialogue."
Hot media usually, but not always, provide complete involvement without considerable stimulus. For example, print occupies visual space, uses visual senses, but can immerse its reader. Hot media favour analytical precision, quantitative analysis and sequential ordering, as they are usually sequential, linear and logical. They emphasize one sense (for example, of sight or sound) over the others. For this reason, hot media also includeradio, as well as film, the lecture and photography.
Cool media, on the other hand, are usually, but not always, those that provide little involvement with substantial stimulus. They require more active participation on the part of the user, including the perception of abstract patterning and simultaneous comprehension of all parts. Therefore, according to McLuhan cool media include television, as well as the seminar and cartoons. McLuhan describes the term "cool media" as emerging from jazz and popular music and, in this context, is used to mean "detached."
This concept appears to force media into binary categories. However, McLuhan's hot and cool exist on a continuum: they are more correctly measured on a scale than as dichotomous terms.
Critiques of Understanding Media
Some theorists have attacked McLuhan’s definition and treatment of the word "medium" for being too simplistic. Umberto Eco, for instance, contends that McLuhan’s medium conflates channels, codes, and messages under the overarching term of the medium, confusing the vehicle, internal code, and content of a given message in his framework.
In Media Manifestos, Régis Debray also takes issue with McLuhan’s envisioning of the medium. Like Eco, he too is ill at ease with this reductionist approach, summarizing its ramifications as follows:
Furthermore, when Wired interviewed him in 1995, Debray stated that he views McLuhan "more as a poet than a historian, a master of intellectual collage rather than a systematic analyst ... McLuhan overemphasizes the technology behind cultural change at the expense of the usage that the messages and codes make of that technology."
Dwight Macdonald, in turn, reproached McLuhan for his focus on television and for his "aphoristic" style of prose, which he believes leftUnderstanding Media filled with "contradictions, non-sequiturs, facts that are distorted and facts that are not facts, exaggerations, and chronic rhetorical vagueness." 
Additionally, Brian Winston’s Misunderstanding Media, published in 1986, chides McLuhan for what he sees as his technologically deterministicstances. Raymond Williams and James W. Carey further this point of contention, claiming:
David Carr states that there has been a long line of "academics who have made a career out of deconstructing McLuhan’s effort to define the modern media ecosystem," whether it be due to what they see as McLuhan’s ignorance toward sociohistorical context or the style of his argument.
While some critics have taken issue with McLuhan’s writing style and mode of argument, McLuhan himself urged readers to think of his work as "probes" or "mosaics" offering a toolkit approach to thinking about the media. His eclectic writing style has also been praised for its postmodern sensibilities and suitability for virtual space.
The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects (1967)
The Medium Is the Massage, published in 1967, was McLuhan's best seller, "eventually selling nearly a million copies worldwide." Initiated byQuentin Fiore, McLuhan adopted the term "massage" to denote the effect each medium has on the human sensorium, taking inventory of the "effects" of numerous media in terms of how they "massage" the sensorium.
Fiore, at the time a prominent graphic designer and communications consultant, set about composing the visual illustration of these effects which were compiled by Jerome Agel. Near the beginning of the book, Fiore adopted a pattern in which an image demonstrating a media effect was presented with a textual synopsis on the facing page. The reader experiences a repeated shifting of analytic registers—from "reading" typographic print to "scanning" photographic facsimiles—reinforcing McLuhan's overarching argument in this book: namely, that each medium produces a different "massage" or "effect" on the human sensorium.
In The Medium is the Massage, McLuhan also rehashed the argument—which first appeared in the Prologue to 1962's The Gutenberg Galaxy—that all media are "extensions" of our human senses, bodies and minds.
Finally, McLuhan described key points of change in how man has viewed the world and how these views were changed by the adoption of new media. "The technique of invention was the discovery of the nineteenth [century]", brought on by the adoption of fixed points of view andperspective by typography, while "[t]he technique of the suspended judgment is the discovery of the twentieth century", brought on by the bardabilities of radio, movies and television.
An audio recording version of McLuhan's famous work was made by Columbia Records. The recording consists of a pastiche of statements made by McLuhan interrupted by other speakers, including people speaking in various phonations and falsettos, discordant sounds and 1960s incidental music in what could be considered a deliberate attempt to translate the disconnected images seen on TV into an audio format, resulting in the prevention of a connected stream of conscious thought. Various audio recording techniques and statements are used to illustrate the relationship between spoken, literary speech and the characteristics of electronic audio media. McLuhan biographer Philip Marchand called the recording "the 1967 equivalent of a McLuhan video."
- "I wouldn't be seen dead with a living work of art."—'Old man' speaking
- "Drop this jiggery-pokery and talk straight turkey."—'Middle aged man' speaking
War and Peace in the Global Village (1968)
McLuhan used James Joyce's Finnegans Wake, an inspiration for this study of war throughout history, as an indicator as to how war may be conducted in the future.
Joyce's Wake is claimed to be a gigantic cryptogram which reveals a cyclic pattern for the whole history of man through its Ten Thunders. Each "thunder" below is a 100-character portmanteau of other words to create a statement he likens to an effect that each technology has on the society into which it is introduced. In order to glean the most understanding out of each, the reader must break the portmanteau into separate words (and many of these are themselves portmanteaus of words taken from multiple languages other than English) and speak them aloud for the spoken effect of each word. There is much dispute over what each portmanteau truly denotes.
McLuhan claims that the ten thunders in Wake represent different stages in the history of man:
- Thunder 1: Paleolithic to Neolithic. Speech. Split of East/West. From herding to harnessing animals.
- Thunder 2: Clothing as weaponry. Enclosure of private parts. First social aggression.
- Thunder 3: Specialism. Centralism via wheel, transport, cities: civil life.
- Thunder 4: Markets and truck gardens. Patterns of nature submitted to greed and power.
- Thunder 5: Printing. Distortion and translation of human patterns and postures and pastors.
- Thunder 6: Industrial Revolution. Extreme development of print process and individualism.
- Thunder 7: Tribal man again. All choractors end up separate, private man. Return of choric.
- Thunder 8: Movies. Pop art, pop Kulch via tribal radio. Wedding of sight and sound.
- Thunder 9: Car and Plane. Both centralizing and decentralizing at once create cities in crisis. Speed and death.
- Thunder 10: Television. Back to tribal involvement in tribal mood-mud. The last thunder is a turbulent, muddy wake, and murk of non-visual, tactile man.