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Marshall Mcluhan: The Modernism of the Mass Media

  • Christopher Brookeman
Chapter
Part of the The Contemporary United States book series

Abstract

In his profile of Mcluhan, called ‘What if he is right?’, Tom Wolfe examines the process by which Mcluhan, a hitherto unknown professor of English literature, became by the mid-1960s an internationally celebrated expert on the effects of the mass media, a consultant to ‘IBM, General Electric, Bell Telephone’.1 In return for his promotion of the electronic media, a number of multinational corporations began to subsidise Mcluhan’s Centre for Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto. The immense popular and academic purchase of Mcluhan’s ideas and in particular his two catch phrases ‘the medium is the message’ and the world as ‘global village’ is just one symptom of a craze for Mcluhan’s theories in his heyday that one critic has called ‘Mcluhanacy’.2 Mcluhan’s ideas, so influential in the creation of post-war attitudes towards the electronic media, particularly television, need to be taken out of the world of corporate public relations, where they once found a temporary fashionable home, and returned to their original context as part of the debate on the effects of mass culture.

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Selected Bibliography

  1. Stanley Aronowitz, False Promises: The Shaping of American Working Class Consciousness (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1973).Google Scholar
  2. Robert Atwan, Barry Orton and William Vesterman (eds), American Mass Media: Industries and Issues (New York: Random House, 1978).Google Scholar
  3. Herbert J. Gans, Popular Culture and High Culture: An Analysis and Evaluation of Taste (New York: Basic Books, 1974).Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Christopher Brookeman 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Brookeman

There are no affiliations available

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