Hear Marshall McLuhan’s The Medium is the Massage (1967)


Image via Wiki­me­dia Com­mons

Briefly not­ed: In 1967, Mar­shall McLuhan teamed up with graph­ic design­er Quentin Fiore to write The Medi­um is the Mas­sage, a short 160-page book that offers a con­densed, effec­tive pre­sen­ta­tion of his ideas on the nature of media, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and tech­nol­o­gy. The book was soon accom­pa­nied by an album bear­ing the same name, which Wikipedia describes like this:

An audio record­ing based on the book was made by Colum­bia Records in the late 1960s, pro­duced by John Simon but oth­er­wise keep­ing the same cred­its as the book. 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.

One review­er on Ama­zon describes it as “more of a per­for­mance piece than a trea­tise.” And thanks to Spo­ti­fy, you can hear it below, in full. Also find it on YouTube.

The Medi­um is the Mas­sage–yes, it was orig­i­nal­ly spelled that way–will be added to our list: 1,000 Free Audio Books: Down­load Great Books for Free

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Mar­shall McLuhan, W.H. Auden & Buck­min­ster Fuller Debate the Virtues of Mod­ern Tech­nol­o­gy & Media (1971)

Mar­shall McLuhan on the Stu­pid­est Debate in the His­to­ry of Debat­ing (1976)

The Vision­ary Thought of Mar­shall McLuhan, Intro­duced and Demys­ti­fied by Tom Wolfe

McLuhan Said “The Medi­um Is The Mes­sage”; Two Pieces Of Media Decode the Famous Phrase

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