Class notes

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My notes of session 4. Feel free to make changes if you think something needs correction (Luis)

In phone sex, communication is very low bandwidth -Because of the "construction"(?) of the listener is deep and meaningful, listening to themselves at a very deep level.

Throwing pen exercise. Mary and Amadeo throwing the pen, the construction of past experience; Mary expecting the pen being thrown at her and reacts expecting the pan. Although the pen was not thrown the last time (the very first time Amadeo throws the pen at her she reacted differently as she did that last time).

Marshall Mcluhan. Radio & Telephone, radio is hot (better sound quality), phone is cold. [tv has no stars example]>>>> what the name of the guy in minority report? Tom Cruise, and they guy in x-files? Fox Mulder. You can remember Tom Cruise, but the name of the guy in the x-files (David D...something) was not so easy (someone argued that was not a good example and Daniel promised to come up with a better example the next time). TV is cold, film is hot. When you are looking at the TV half of what you see comes from the unconscious and half from the image received by the eyes. The medium is therefore more important than the message.

When comparing film and tv: Film is more rich than tv, it is aprox 60 frames per second In the tv it is 29.7 (used to be 25 per second)

According to Mcluhan it is because of the medium that you would perceive the same movie differently. one would be more active when watching on television than in film. Watching a movie in film and tv is therefore a different experience. Advertising works better in the TV because when watching, one is more involved.

Differences in media. Whatever medium is being used related to those senses in themselves.... Technology extends ourselves and electronic media extends our conciseness or unconsciousness, depending on the media.

The Global Village. Everything is connected to everything and everybody else. Donald Rumsfeld, referring to Osama Bin Laden as Sadam Hussein twice.... as long as there's one devil, one wise-guy, one fair guy, then the story it's ok. We do not look at how things are, but we look at our own psychic drama (there's a village idiot as well, so there's always one of each). Mcluhan: there's more people involved in the Vietnam war outside the country than inside.

So, there's broad band and narrow band, hot and cold, it is for this reason then the medium is more important than the message.

The point is that we should be looking at doing simulacra. In the case of products, there are other things more important than the product features. People like the ipod because it is cool, not only because of the features.

The alphabet by itself makes no sense, it is only characters, only when you put it together and give it a meaning it starts to make sense-- reality is made of a fragmented experience. In Asian writing, you draw things, each character has a meaning, combining these drawings creates different meanings Television is an all-at-once immediate experience (yes, so? what was the point of this comment). Our critical ability to understand what is happening is diminishing or disappearing because of how rich the content is.

The story of the guy in little boat that is doomed.....instead of handing on to the boat, ties himself to a chest (that floats) and saves his life (the ship was trapped in a vortex and sinks).

Mcluhan argues than in an electronic world everything is connected.... so how does one act in a human way when you turn on the TV and see images of war somewhere else on this interconnected world. We shut ourselves; we choose certain numbness in order not to feel the pain. We survive by being numb and it sucks, not very human. He says technology increases the speed of the environment. We need to slow it down in order to bring ourselves into some balance. We then invent technologies to slow it down, but this in turn makes it go faster. The example: the book, labor savings means more work (1956), they found out that after the introduction of the washing machine the time spent on home labor was pretty much he same (now you wash you clothes more often), that's the only thing that changed, cycles are shorter, everything runs faster.

This is incomplete: The guy that invented the internet. Was in charge of scientific military research. (1948) this guy saw the problem was that scientists took a long time finding information and it would only become worst, he idealized the solution as a system that would transmit information in small packages. Xanadu system (1960). the combination of both..... I missing something here….

Today a telekinetic monkey exists. it moves robotic arm. now they are thinking of a telepathic monkey that will communicate with another monkey.

The global village book by Mcluhan: every media or every new technology does enhancement, then it obsoletes something, it retrieves something and finally it reverses into something. We understand the effects of technology by looking at the rearview mirror.

Example, the car:

  • enhances: individual mobility
  • obsoletes: the horse carriage (the car being reffered to as "the horseless carriage"; it is based on the obsolete technology that we asses the impact of new technology). when the car was introduced, people were discussing about how it would impact on combustible consumption, on the jobs of the stable boys, etc... they did not looking at the impact of property, people leaving the farm. they looked at the technology alone and not its implications (it allowed people to leave the farm and it changed society). For instance, how people transform themselves into something else when they are in their cars;
  • retrieves:
  • reverses:


  • cash speed up transactions
  • it obsoletes barter
  • retrieves roman consumption(?) (consume! consume! consume!)
  • it reverses into credit, or non-money

Key take away: We understand the effects of technology by looking at the rearview mirror