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An End in Itself: McLuhan, Media, and the Innovation Aesthetic - Essay Example

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The essay "An End in Itself: McLuhan, Media, and the Innovation Aesthetic" clearly indicates the emphasis on the medium at the expense of content…
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An End in Itself: McLuhan, Media, and the Innovation Aesthetic
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Download file to see previous pages McLuhan’s fear was that this phenomenon would have a desensitizing effect on the ability of human beings to accurately and sensitively interpret content. This, McLuhan said, is a product of the false promise of innovation.
Technological innovation was anathema to McLuhan, and it was because of this that he was determined that his groundbreaking work in (many would say his invention of) mass media theory not be mistaken for sanctioning. “I am resolutely opposed to all innovation...Many
people seem to think that if you talk about something recent, you’re in favor of it. The exact opposite is true in my case. Anything I talk about is almost certainly something I’m resolutely against” (Goyder, p. 251). McLuhan’s ethos was that media had changed society from the inside-out because it has changed the way in which human beings perceive the world. As a traditionalist/conservative, McLuhan, who had no substantial background in the technical or scientific fields, remained faithful to the “Western cultural legacy” in which he was steeped and which informed his views.
This ethic holds that because human beings have become products of their media, our modes of perception have become unnatural. The fact that societies are shaped by media rather than by the content it delivers is a function of technology and, according to McLuhan and those who subscribe to his theories, this is not a desirable outcome. “Technology allows constant connectivity to our diversionary, mindless, celebrity-driven popular culture, offering soul-numbing content around the clock” (Staub, p. 15). Ultimately, McLuhan is concerned with perception, with how people perceive external stimuli. The prevalence of image-driven media obscures more detailed assimilation of information, a process generally associated with the act of reading lines of text. It is the compromising of this cogitative functioning, what some might call “deep thinking,” that interested McLuhan. ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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