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"The Medium Is The Message" Essay

2293 words - 9 pages

“The medium is the message,” uttered by the late media scholar and theorist Marshall McLuhan, and they have been revered and dissected ever since they were spoken. There has been several different interpretations on the premise of McLuhan’s words, and the meaning behind them. The best way to start unraveling his theory, is to get a general understanding of the terms used in his famous quote. In McLuhan’s own words, a medium is simply “an extension of ourselves.” Simply put the medium personifies or enhances what we as humans cannot do on our own. In a mass media perspective this means the use of technology including radio, television, and the Internet to project our thoughts, feelings, and senses (Frederman) . Finally, it is important to note that the plural of the word medium is media. Now that there is a general understanding of the medium, the other important word McLuhan spoke of is the “message”. The message is simply what the audience perceives through the medium. This could be anything from watching a television program or listening to the radio. Also, note that some believe the message McLuhan preached is a lot more complicated and not obvious. This view can be explained by, the message isn’t the news, but the attitudes that are affected by watching or listening to the message. Whichever, definition is taken for the “message”, the dissection of McLuhan’s quote will still be interpreted in a similar fashion.
There are several different ways in which McLuhan’s words can be interpreted. So what does “the medium is the message,” really mean? One of the simplest explanation that can be given is this; the very medium in which the message is sent through, can shape the way the receiver interprets it. But even this example can be rather complicated. A good example to better understanding this is comparing two different forms of media. Take the newspaper or any written article for example. Now here is a quote from a pregame interview by Tom Brady, addressing the lack of crowd noise at home games:
"Yeah, start drinking early. [...] Get nice and rowdy. 4:15 game, lot of time to get lubed up. Come out here, and cheer for the home team."
Even though this quote is a tad unorthodox and may come across un-scholarly, it truly does get the job accomplished. This is because Brady’s words can be taken several different ways, and with little known information about the way he said them, could lead the reader astray. These would and did spark a lot of attacks against him for saying these things. This was not surprising because when reading his words it sounds as if he is telling fans to become heavily intoxicated and to lose some self-control. But, if you saw the actual interview on the television, Brady was just being rather facetious. When watching this pregame interview, seeing his unserious face, and hearing the inflection in his voice, it was obvious he was just having fun with the media and fans. Even though there was no...

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