Message vs. Massage

Medium is the message is one of those prolific statements that co-exists with ones such as “The revolution will not be televised” and “If you build it, they will come”. The best way to sum up this topic is to think of yourself being effected by media. If you dryly told someone the world was going to end, casually during dinner conversation, they probably wouldn’t believe you. But if your same story was featured on the six o’clock News, that same person would not question it. It not that the person did not believe you, it is that your delivery of the message was not as intriguing as the medium of television. This is, in essence, what McLuhan theory is about. It is exactly what Cardinal Newman said about Napoleon: “He understood the grammar of gunpowder.”
Product placement is a fair example that translates the idea that media can be rooted in other media. Whether it is a car, hair products, soda, or a jacket, the simple fact that the product is on the screen (screen defined as television, projector, and/or computer) visibly being use is enough to intrigue an audience and provoke though. The message is could inspire the audience to drink that soda, buy that car, and pick up that new jacket. One could say Hansen’s theory, although unnecessarily wordy, speaks to our attraction of product placement as well. We are interested in product but we are more likely fascinated with the way the message was delivered.  


2 Responses to “Message vs. Massage”

  1. mcluhanprophecy Says:

    More likely the dinner conversation about the world ending would have the potential to lead to discovery while the TV announcement wouldn’t. Nothin intriguing about TV except maybe CIA goings on.
    Overall the previous McLuhan discussion would benefit from the term environmental. Mediums create environments which are invisible. Prior to the electronic era artist and art were meant to reveal the environments to all. Ezra Pound used the phrase “artist are the antennae of the race”. However McLuhan understood, having learned from Joyce and Lewis (and Pound and Eliot somewhat) that the electronic speedup required that we all become artist and develop our own antennae. In other words we must live our lives as artist and create our own postures.
    As for advertising McLuhan taught me that the ads are the good news and everytthing else tends to be the bad news!

  2. I totally agree that “the medium is the message”, while totally acurate, has become cliched and thus has become less powerful. Although, since he said it more than 40 years ago that was bound to happen.

    I am also with you on the wordiness of Hansen. At the risk of sounding dumb, the whole time I was reading it I kept thinking he was in a contest to use as many multi-syllable words as possible! I kept losing the point in the big words.

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