Understanding media 2


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Understanding media 2

  1. 1. 1
  2. 2. I will continue with my presentation of media and what McLuhan has to say aboutthem. I hope you remember the last session so I will not repeat so much. But justas a short recall: Why do I talk to you about all these “old” , in your eyes maybe“unmodern” media? Because our perceptions about media, their use andinfluence on our daily life is mostly unconscious. And the best way to find somedistance to our own conceptions, perceptions and convictions is to look at thingsin an unfamiliar way – for example with the help of a theory or new experiences.So I do this because my hope is to open your eyes for some deep-rootedcharacteristics, , influences and the evolution of media.Most of the following media will be electronic media. What do you think areelectronic Media?For example the telegraph. In1844 Samuel Morse opened the first telegraph linefrom Washington to Baltimore with $30.000 obtained from CongressMcLuhan calls the telegraph “the social hormone” as a metaphor to describe itsimpact 2
  3. 3. Like all the other media, the telegraph wasn’t even invented “at once”, but had a long history. The transport of signals over great distances started for example withfumata (Rauchzeichen) and the telegraph also had root in acoustic signals or Braille. Nevertheless, the Morse telegraph was a real revolution because it was the firstelectronic medium.I can use the case of the telegraph to explain some functions ALL electronic media have according McLuhan. The first is:***they offer an experience of “instant speed of information.” So what the people today call “Real-time-experience” and think of it as a new and typical achievement ofthe Internet, it is in fact much older. For McLuhan the “electric implosion” started right at the time, when radio, telegraph and telephone came into play.***He tells the story of the famous Crippen-Case to illustrate that point:In 1910, Dr. Hawley H. Crippen, a U.S. physician who had been practicing in London, murdered his wife, buried her in the cellar of their home, and fled the countrywith his secretary aboard a liner (ship) called Montrose. The secretary was dressed as a boy, and the pair traveled as Mr. Robinson and son. Captain George Kendall ofthe Montrose became suspicious of the Robinsons, having read in the English papers about the Crippen case.The Montrose was one of the few ships then equipped with wireless telegraph. Binding his wireless operator to secrecy, Captain Kendall sent a message to ScotlandYard, and the Yard sent Inspector Dews on a faster liner to race the Montrose across the Atlantic. Dews, dressed as a pilot, boarded the Montrose before it reachedport, and arrested Crippen.***The Crippen case shows a characteristic that is inherent to all electronic media according McLuhan.The instantspeed of information leads to a collapse of delegated authority and dissolution of management structures made familiar in the organization charts****The separation of function and division of stages, spaces and tasks tend to dissolveThis influence on traditional organizational structures and societal hierarchies was not so clear at first. In the beginning it had an opposite, strengthening effect onexisting hierarchies. McLuhan cites theformer German Armaments minister Albert Speer (who), in a speech at the Nuremberg trials, (has) made some bitter remarks about the effects of social media onGerman life: “The telephone, the teleprinter and the wireless made it possible for orders from the highest levels to be given direct to the lowest levels, where, onaccount of the absolute authority behind them, they were carried out uncritically…” 3
  4. 4. Some further, typical characteristics of electronic media:****They have a tendency to create a kind of organic interdependence among all theinstitutions of society.****For example when McLuhan called the telegraph a hormone he meant exactly thatbecause Hormone is a specific chemical messenger-substance, made by anendocrine gland and secreted into the blood, to regulate and coordinate thefunctions of distant organs.***EM is a means of getting in touch with every facet of being at once, like the brainitself***Therefore,Electricity is only incidentally visual and auditory: it is primarily tactile. 4
  5. 5. In the early days of the internet a lot of people thought that it was only good for tospread fun, sex and crime or are still convinced of that. It was almost impossible tooversee the changes it will bring. A lot of people were also convinced that theinternet would never become serious enough to be of economic or political use.The same was true with the telegraph at first. McLuhan says:The print culture man had great difficulties to notice any facts about the form ofthe new medium.An Editor of the New York Herald Tribune commented on 1861:“It was a toy and they just had to use it. CBS combed Europe for hot news and cameup with a sausage-eating contest, which was duly sent back via the miracle ball,although that particular new event could have gone by camelback without loosingany of its essence.” (John Crosby, New York Herald Tribune 1861)***Also, the impact of a new media often remains unseen because in the beginningthey are normally used to improve old media. A long time the telegraph wasmainly used to assist two existing media, the railway and the newspaper:During its early growth, the telegraph was subordinate to railway and newspaper,those immediate extensions of industrial production and marketing. In fact, oncethe railways began to stretch across the continent, they relied very much on thetelegraph for their coordination, so that the image of the stationmaster and thetelegraph operator were easily superimposed in the American mind. 5
  6. 6. Often, the consequences of a new media are at first reflected in arts.The Bauhaus school for example (1919) became one of the great centers of efforttending toward an inclusive human awareness, …and a lot of other new artformsmade the 20th century one of the most fruitful for art…but the same task was accepted by a race of giants that sprang up in music andpoetry, architecture, and painting. They gave the arts of this century an ascendancyover those of other ages comparable to that which we have long recognized as trueof modern science. 6
  7. 7. All electric media create fun at first but most of them created some kind of moreor less unconscious anxieties. McLuhan thinks that it was no accident that in 1844,at the same time when the people for example used the telegraph to play chess orto do lotteries, the philosopher Sǿren Kierkegaard published a book called “TheConcept of Dread” which some people see together with the Work of FriedrichNietzsche as the starting point for postmodernism. What did McLuhan meant bysaying “The age of anxiety has begun”?McLuhan was surely not that kind of prophet who saw modern media as a doom.He tried to look on it neutrally I think what he meant was that this anxiety is thefirst psychological state of people who underwent a big change or shock. It musthave been strange to be suddenly informed about what happened to everybody inthe whole world. And, actually, the 20th century with all its electrical achievementsbecame a century of big achievements but also of horrible events, just to mentionworld war I and II, cold world war an so on. Of course, we got “used” to it. Thisanxiety seems to be often more or less unconscious. We simply don’t know whatcatastrophes like 9/11, Catrina, Haiti and so on do with our souls although we stayvery cool on the surface. 7
  8. 8. Telegraph was the first medium that created the weather forecast, perhaps themost popular participative of all the “Human interest” in the daily press. In earlydays of telegraph, rain created problems in the grounding of wires. These problemsdrew attention to weather dynamics=> The weather is still the most popular advertisement space 8
  9. 9. With the telephone, there occurs the extension of ear and voice that is a kind ofextra sensory perceptionOriginally, Melville Bell, who invented the telephone did not intended to do so.Instead,The invention of the telephone was an incident in the larger effort of the pastcentury to render speech visible. Melville Bell, the father of Alexander Graham Bell,spent his life devising a universal alphabet that he published 1867 under the titleVisible Speech. Besides the aim to make all languages of the world immediatelypresent to each other in a simple form, the Bells, father and son, were muchconcerned to improve the state of the deaf. Visible speech seemed to promiseimmediate means of release for the deaf from their prison. It led them to study ofthe new electrical devices that yielded the telephone. 9
  10. 10. Incidents like this are often not “pure chance” but show aninner connection between seemingly very different media:The Braille system of dots-for-letters had begun as a means of reading militarymessages in darkness, then was transferred to music, and finally to reading for theblind. Letters had been codified as dots for the fingers long before the Morse Codewas developed for telegraph use. 10
  11. 11. One of the first sentences which were transferred: “Das Pferd isst keinenGurkensalat” (“the horse doesn’t eat cucumber salad”)The telephone created whole new industries and made old ones much moreproductive. It was especially important for a flourishing, international business.And it created a prominent new job: the phone operator. 11
  12. 12. The design of mouthpiece an earphone according to McLuhan tells a lot about theculture:****The “French phone”, the union of mouthpiece and earphone in a single instrument,is a significant indication of the french liason of the senses that English-speakingpeople keep firmly separate. French is “the language of love” just because it unitesvoice and ear in an especially close way, as does the telephone. So it is quite naturalto kiss the telephone, but not easy to visualize while phoning. 12
  13. 13. Why can we not visualize while telephoning? At once, the reader will protest, “But Ido visualize on the telephone!” When you try the experiment deliberately, you willfind that we simply can’t visualize while phoning, though all literate people try todo so and, therefore, believe they are succeeding.What do we do instead? Some people feel a strong urge to “doodle” while phoning. 13
  14. 14. McLuhan says “we have no body while we phone. The reason for this is that talking to the telephone andvisualizing/acting requires different areas of the brainHe uses the following case to show this. Of course this is the special case of a psychotic, but it is stunninganyway:On September 6, 1949, a psychotic veteran, Howard B. Unruh, in a mad rampage on the streets of Camden,New Jersey, killed thirteen people, and then returned home. Emergency crews, bringing up machine guns,shotguns, and tear gas bombs, opened fire. At this point an editor on the Camden Evening Courier looked upUnruh’s name in the telephone directory and called him. Unruh stopped firing and answered, “Hello?”“This is Howard?”“Yes”“Why are you killing people?”“I don’t know. I can’t answer that yet. I’ll have to talk to you later. I’m too busy now.”***The very nature of the telephone, as all electric media, is to compress and unify that which had previouslybeen divided and specialized. Only the “authority of knowledge” works by telephone because of the speed thatcreates a total and inclusive field of relations.Speed requires that the decisions made be inclusive, not fragmentary or partial so that literate people typicallyresist the telephone***The telephone demands complete participation, unlike the written and printed page. Any literate man resentssuch a heavy demand for his total attention because he has long been accustomed to fragmentary attention***Oral people like the telephone because it gives them the feeling of more complete communicationIt is interesting that neurotic children lose all their neurotic syndromes when phoning***The telephone solved some organizational problems, but also created some new…The English historian Sir Lewis Namier (1888 – August 19, 1960) said, the biggest problem in the cold war wasthe telephone and the airplane. Professional diplomats with delegated powers have been supplanted by primeministers, presidents, and foreign secretaries, who think that they could conduct all important negotiationspersonally. 14
  15. 15. The child and the teenager understand the telephone embracing the chord and theear-mike as if they were beloved pets. 15
  16. 16. The typewriter has splintered woman from the home and turned her into aspecialist in the office, the telephone gave her back to the executive world as ageneral means of harmony, an invitation to happiness and a sort of combineconfessional and wailing wall for the immature American ExecutiveOf course, films about that topic had also often to do with a love affair betweenthe boss and the secretary……(which would in reality be a no-go today)In general, the telephone created a lot of new possibilities for love communication.But also for loneliness. Why loneliness? 16
  17. 17. Why should the phone create an intense feeling of loneliness?****Why should we feel compelled to answer a ringing public phone when we know thecall cannot concern us?****Why does a phone ringing on the stage create instant tension?****Why is this tension so much less for an unanswered phone in a movie scene?****The answer to all of these questions is simply that the phone is a participant formthat demands a partner, with all the intensity of electric polarity. It simply will notact as a background instrument like radio. 17
  18. 18. So what about the telephone today?McLuhan speculated that the telephone may lose popularity:Celebrities never answer up to their numbers…. It will soon be the telephone that is“all alone, feeling blue”But… 18
  19. 19. …. at his time I think McLuhan knew nothing anything about mailboxes or mobilephones. So the telephone is still very useful for a lot of private and businesspurposes:It is an integral part of our life and business even part of a range of somecompletely new business models (e.g. Telephone-Diagnosis in Swiss. This wasinvented to save time of the doctors who are scarce today. But interestinglyalthough the first intent was only cost cutting, they found out another advantage:intensive listening on the telephone often makes it easier to understand thepatients’ problems than in face to face-communication with the doctor! Becausewe are more sensible on the telephone. So the patient often feels better treated.Also help-hot lines still work best with the telephone. 19
  20. 20. Curiously, the newspaper of that time saw the telephone as a rival to the press suchas the radio was in fact to be fifty years later. But in fact the telephone still is themost important instrument for any journalist.***A discussion that accompanied telephone from it’s beginning was the discourseabout “telephone-terror”.The New York Daily Graphic for March 15,1877, had an article on its front pageabout: “The Terrors of the Telephone.”There is typical “negative” discussion for every new electronic media as is thediscourse about the blessings and advantages of it. I think people who are not usedto it, feel heavily frustrated by the requirements of new media. Mostly, there havealways been some truth in the pessimistic side. For all kinds of manic people, everynew media is a means for terror. As a senior manager said for example:“I call my employees up at night when their guard’s down.” 20
  21. 21. Without the phonograph, the 20th century as the era of tango, ragtime, and jazzwould have had a different rhythm.When it first occurred, a lot of people felt, that it was obliquely. A famous musiciansaid: “With the phonograph, vocal exercises will be out of vogue!” It could wellhave diminished the individual activity, much as the car had reduced pedestrianactivity. But the phonograph was involved in many misconceptions. 21
  22. 22. The inventor of the gramophone didn’t wanted a machine to make music but a“talking machine”It was first conceived as a form of auditory writing as the name gramophoneimplies (gramma-letters)It was also called “graphophone”, with the needle in the role of a pen. The idea of a“talking machine” was especially popular. Thomas Edison was delayed in hisapproach to the solution of its problems by considering it at first as a “telephonerepeater”, that is, a storehouse of data from the telephone, enabling the telephoneto “provide invaluable records, instead of being the recipient of momentary andfleeting communication. So, the record player had to be seen as a kind of phoneticrecord of telephone conversation. Hence the name “phonograph”. So he intendedto create an answering machine for the telephone and created a music playerinstead. – what a great incident!***McLuhan thought that the phonograph was not only a matter of hearing but like allelectric media a tactile experience, that stimulates more areas of the brain. And hewas just right: Hearing is not just a matter of the ears, but we also feel the air withthe skin while speaking certain tonesThis enables the brain to distinguish e.g. if a person said “pa” or “ba”.We also need the eyes for better hearing. If the expression on somebody’s facedoesn’t fit to the content which he just said, we have difficulties to understand itTo be in touch in the presence of performing musicians is to experience their touchand handling of instruments as tactile and kinetic, not just as resonant. So it can besaid that hi-fi is not any quest for abstract effects of sound in separation from theother senses. With hi-fi, the phonograph meets the TV tactile challenge. 22
  23. 23. The photograph has changed our perception in a very special way. And it was aenormously fascinating media for all of us, right from the beginning… 23
  24. 24. •First known surviving heliographic engraving, 1825 by Josef Nicèphore Niepiece.•France agreed to pay Daguerre a pension for his formula, in exchange for hispromise to announce his discovery to the world as the gift of France, which he did1839.•William Fox Talbot had earlier discovered another means to fix a silver processimage, but had kept it secret. After reading about Daguerre’s invention, Talbotrefined his process so that portraits were made readily available to the masses. By1940, Talbot invented the cyanotype process, which created negative images. JohnHerschel made many contributions to the new methods. He invented the“Blueprint”.•It’s maybe not an accident that electrical morsing (invented by Samuel F.B. Morse1933) and modern photography (by Jacques Daguerre) were invented in the sameyear. Dots for the eye (photograph) and dots for the ear (morsing). 24
  25. 25. What senses does the photograph enhance?***It allows self-realizationThe Vogue magazine wrote 1953: A woman now, and without having to leave thecountry, can have the best of five (or more) nations hanging in her closet – beautifuland compatible as a statesman’s dream.”**it was a hot media but cooled down in photo arts 25
  26. 26. The photograph created the fashion and model industry, it was the age of greatgestures, pantomime. It also inspired dance.****But it also created a very cruel industry, which is a sure sign for its numbing effects.Anorexia is the typical disease in the model business and has influenced a lot ofother girls who lost connection to the perceptions and feelings of their own bodiesFor a long time we have witnessed a lot of blindness and hypocrisy in the modelbusiness against the problem. A lot of models died from hunger. Decades went bywith a lot of superficial debates and quickly forgotten scandals. The customer wasking an he (or she) wanted slim models. Today, magazines like Brigitte use ordinarywomen with real names. It is a good marketing-strategy that was also by dove withhis “real-beauty-campaign! We will see if the model business will change… 26
  27. 27. It is interesting that understanding Photograph needs literacy: It startswith reading the photograph with the right side up:“Nothing amuses the Eskimo more than for the white man to crane his neck to seethe magazine pictures stuck on to the igloo walls. For the Eskimo there is no need tolook at a picture right side up like a child before he has learned his letters on a line.”Natives often do not perceive in perspective or sense the third dimensionBecause natives in a way “confuse reality and picture they think you will steal theirsoul by beeing photographed (but actually maybe it’s WE who confuse thosethings)That photograph needs literacy is often the reason why we often don’t understandadvertisements. Marketing experts must be aware about a lot of normallyunconscious things: institutions, rules, history, norms and beliefs and feelings. Ifyou see for example an ad with a happy monk drinking a beer you need to knowfor example: that in contrast to other cultures, our religion doesn’t forbid alcohol,that the monks, especially the Benedictines invented beer because they were notallowed to drink wine in the period of fasting. The monasteries have a longtradition in making beer and this is why the picture of a monk should show for theeducated West man how good the beer tastes. (Of course this is mostly not apositive association for a modern image of a beer – today you must make thepeople believe that beer makes slim). Somebody from another culture may thinksomething else about it ….f.e.: oh what and awful beverage this must be that it isdrunk by old, fat, red-nosed, strange dressed man“A picture tells more than words” is not right, seen like this – in contrary: Withoutwords, you would understand not a single picture. Besides: In former beeradvertisements it was presented as a kind of medicine and especially good forcalming down kids…… 27
  28. 28. Some further typical functions of the photograph according to McLuhan:The photo camera isolates a single moment in timeIt is not like a picture from oil, made for eternity****In the Press, it’s function isTo be everywhere and to interrelate things (it created the job of the reporter whosejob it was to take pictures and to comment it.)**From typographic man to graphic man (again): Photo is a rival of print, perhapsusurper of the word, whether written or spoken****It created the so called: mosaic form. In print, the development to the mosaic formwas inevitable. Still today some very conservative newspapers are converting tothe mosaic form after they had hesitated for a long time to do so. (e.g. FAZ) Toomuch photos in a newspaper still makes literate people angry, for example in our 28
  29. 29. Do you like the recorded sound of your voice?A photo occupies or sensesIf we see a photo we think it must be “true” 29
  30. 30. Changed whole businesses:• created not only the fashion industry but also the mail-order business• newspapers now could advertise every sort of product on one page. That quicklygave rise to department stores that provided every kind of product under one roof. 30
  31. 31. In a way, it turns the world into a museum of objects, especially the famous ones.What do the pictures show:Tour Eiffel, Power of Pisa, Grand canyonIf you visit a place that has so often been photographed you can take a pictureyourself and compare it to the pictures you have already seen.Why do so many Americans travel so much and are changed so little? Becausetheir travel experience has become “diluted, contrived, prefabricated” 31
  32. 32. Last but not least it had an influence on the perception of sports: 1905, in a gamebetween Pennsylvania and Swarthmore a press photo of battered players came tothe attention of President Roosevelt. He was so angered that he issued animmediate ultimatum – that if rough play continued, he would abolish the game byedict.But, really interestinglystill today, Photos are not allowed as referee evidence! (Neither are videos) 32
  33. 33. In the beginning of the 19thcentury , photo coverage of the lives of the rich“conspicuous consumption”, ordering drinks from the horseback embarrassedpeople and led to a new “purism” in consumption habits.The photograph still today makes it quite unsafe to come out and play”Even Jürgen Klinsmann doesn’t gesture anymore in press conferences and holds hishand under the table. Nobody does any gesture, only calculated ones. It is just toodangerous to be photographed in a bad moment. 33
  34. 34. The Photograph influenced art very much: the artistscould not longer depict aworld that had been much photographed. He turned, instead, to reveal the innerprocess of creativity Expressionism, Abstract art, Op-Art, et cetera. Also the novelistcould not longer describe objects or happenings for people who already knew whatwas happening by photo, press, film and radio****In the electronic age, photos can be easily manipulated.***Maybe for this reason, photography had recently a big revival in art – Photo artreaches substantially high prices on the market 34
  35. 35. The movie is a high-definition, hot mediumMovie was a speed-up of photographThe famous stroboscopic photo series of the galloping horse (EadweardMuybridge, 1873) can be seen as the predecessor of the motion picture. If you takepictures of the same moving animal in a very short sequence, you can nearlyimagine the motion physically. This photograph also brought the evidence forsomething that good observers already knew for a long time: during gallopinghorses only have a very short phase when no single hoof touches the earth.In England, the movie theater was originally called “The Bioscope”, because of itsvisual presentation of the actual movements of the forms of life (from Greek bios,way of life) On the film, the mechanical appears as organicThe movie, by which we roll op the real world on a spool in order to unroll it as amagic carpet of fantasy, is a spectacular wedding of the old mechanical technology(wheel) and the new electric world. 35
  36. 36. The first cinematograph was presented in Paris in 1895 by the Lumiere brothersTo a highly literate and mechanized culture, the movie appeared as a world oftriumphant illusions and dreams that money could buy.It created a new aristocracy of actors and actresses, who dramatized, on and offthe screen, the fantasia of conspicuous consumptionthat the rich could never achieveThe glamour and image of the film stars was very different from today’s TV-actors.McLuhan cites Joanne Woodward, who felt the difference very clearly:Joanne Woodward in an interview was asked what was the difference betweenbeing a movie star and a TV actress. She replied: When I was in movies, I heardpeople say: “There goes Joanne Woodward.’ Now they say, “There goes somebody Ithink I know.”Most TV stars today are men, “cool characters”, most movie stars in the UFA-timeswere women and “hot” characters. Major movie stars like Rita Hayworth, Liz Taylor,and Marilyn Monroe ran into troubled waters in the TV age. 36
  37. 37. Movie is not really a single medium like song or the written word, but a collective art form. It needsdifferent individuals directing color, lightning, sound, acting, speaking. The press, radio and TV, andthe comics are also art forms that depend upon entire teams and hierarchies of skill in corporateactionLike the print and the photo, movies assume a high level of literacy in their uses (and prove bafflingto the nonliterate.) Our literate eye accepts the mere movement of the camera as it follows or dropsa figure from view is not acceptable to an tribal African film audience. If somebody disappears offthe side of the film, the African wants to know what happened to him. On seeing Charlie Chaplin’s“The tramp”, the African Audience concluded that Europeans were magicians who could restore life.Natives, who have very little contact with phonetic literacy and lineal print, have to learn to “see”photographs or film just as we have to learn our lettersNon-literates do not know how to fix their eyes, as Westerners do, a few feet in front of the moviescreen, or some distance in front of photo. The result is that they move their eyes over the photo orscreen as they might their hands. It is the same habit of using the eyes as hands that makesEuropean so “sexy” to American women. Only an extremely literate and abstract society learns to fixthe eyes, as we must learn to do in reading the printed pageFor this reason it took some time until movies with sound gained success in oral cultures:Like the oral Russian, the African will not accept sight and sound together. Russians have anirresistible need for participation that is defeated by adding sound to the visual image. The Africaninsistence on group participation and on chanting and shouting during films is wholly frustrated bysound track.**When movie came up, Cubism and abstract art occurred in arts:Cubism, by giving the inside and outside, the top, bottom, back and front and the rest, in twodimensions, drops the illusion of perspective in favor of instant sensory awareness of the whole. 37
  38. 38. Extension: to put man into another worldThe business of the writer or the film-maker is to transfer the reader or viewer from one world, his own, toanother, the world created by typography and film. That is so obvious, and happens so completely, that thoseundergoing the experience accept it subliminally and without critical awareness.It provides a consumer package for all the Cinderellas of the world. it is, therefore no accidentthat the movie has excelled as a medium that offers poor people roles of riches and power beyond theirdreams of avarice***Hollywood has fought TV mainly by becoming a subsidiary of TV. The film industry is now engaged in supplyingTV programs. But one new strategy has been tried, namely the big-budget picture. The cat is that Technicolor isthe closest the movie can get to the effects of the TV image**Of course, movie is still extremely successful, even in China for example. Officially there are only propagandafilm but you can get every Movie as DVD piracy for 1 Euro.Most people see movies only as entertainment. McLuhan in contrary sees in it an enormous changingpotential for societies. Also, he sees movies as “monster ad” for consumer goods:President Sukarno of Indonesia announced 1956 to a large group of Hollywood executives that he regardedthem as political radicals and revolutionaries who had greatly hastened change in the East. What the Orientsaw in a Hollywood film was a world in which all the ordinary people had cars and electric stoves andrefrigerators. So the Oriental now regards himself as an ordinary person who has been deprived of theordinary’s man birthright.McLuhan even goes so far saying:The movie, as much as the alphabet and the printed word, is an aggressive and imperial form that explodesoutward into other cultures… In America this major aspect of film is merely subliminal. Far from regarding our pictures as incentives tomayhem and revolution, we take them as solace and compensation, or as form of deferred payment bydaydreaming. But the Oriental is right and we are wrong about this. In fact, the movie is a mighty limb of theindustrial giant. That it is being amputated by when the TV image reflects a still greater revolution going on atthe center of American life. It is natural that the ancient East should feel the political pull and industrialchallenge of the movie industry 38
  39. 39. As the electric simultaneity ends specialist learning, the mechanical age and itsachievements (e.g. the assembly line and the big corporation) become more andmore the image of a satire.The case of Charlie Chaplin helps to illumine this problem. His “Modern Times” wastaken to be a satire on the fragment character of modern tasks...The clown remindsus of our fragmented state by tackling acrobatic or special jobs in the spirit of thewhole or integral man. 39
  40. 40. • The film image offers many more millions of data per second,•***• the viewer does not have to make the same drastic reduction of items to form hisimpression. He tends instead to accept the full image as a package deal***• In contrary to TV, movie is three-dimensional. As in any other mosaic, the thirddimension is alien to TV but it can be superimposed. In TV the illusion of the thirddimension is provided slightly by the stage sets in the studio; but the TV image itselfis a flat two-dimensional mosaicWhat would be if the technology stepped up the character of TV image to moviedata level?Yes, we can. But it would be movie then – with all the characteristics of a movie.“Could we alter a cartoon by adding details of perspective and light and shade?”The answer is “Yes,” only it would be no longer a cartoon. 40
  41. 41. TVMcLuhan says that the TV involves a high amount of senses and is highlyparticipative.I can imagine that this must have sounded odd for his contemporary colleaguesand literate people who thought like me that the TV is only passive,But this thesis could be confirmed recently by brain studies. TV activates a lot ofbrain regions. McLuhan at his time only had anecdotic evidence for his thesis. Hereports a closed-circuit TV instruction in surgery, where medical students told theyhad the strange feeling that they seemed not to watch the surgery but performingit themselves. McLuhan stated further that the hospital is for several reasons theideal place for a soap opera.***TV is a cold medium.As I said it offers very little visual information. The picture is as crude and low-definition as a comic compared with movie.From the 3 million dots per second, the viewer is able to accept, in an iconic grasp,only a few dozen seventy or so, from which to shape an image. Also the ear is givena meager amount of information***For literary people, TV is an extremely difficult subject. I think most teachers andpedagogic oriented people are against it. Funny enough, McLuhan was convincedthat TV it’s most successful function will be not entertainment but education. I tellyou about an interesting experiment about this later. Do you remember SesameStreet? My mother, who was a teacher didn’t wanted me to watch Sesame Street. 41
  42. 42. In a group of simulcasts of several media done in Toronto, TV did a strange flipFour randomized groups of university students were given the same information atthe same time about the structure of preliterate languages.One group received the lesson via radio, one from TV, one by lecture, and one readit.For all but the reader group the information was passed along in straight verbalflow by the same speaker without discussion or questions or use of blackboard.Each group had half an hour of exposure to the material.Each was asked to fill in the same quiz afterward.It was quite a surprise to the experimenters when the students performed betterwith TV-channeled information and with radiothan they did with lecture and print – and the TV-group stood well above the radiogroup. 42
  43. 43. Since nothing had been done to give special stress to any of these four media, theexperiment was repeated with other randomized groups.***This time each medium was allowed full opportunity to do its stuff. For radio andTV, the material was dramatized with many auditory and visual features. Thelecturer took full advantage of the blackboard and class discussion. The printedform was embellished with and imaginative use of typography and page layout tostress each point in the lecture. All of these media had been stepped up to highintensity for this repeat of the original performance.***Television and radio once again showed results high above lecture and print.Unexpectedly to the testers, however, radio now stood significantly abovetelevision.***It was a long time before the obvious reason declared itself, namely that TV is acool, participant medium. When hotted up by dramatization and stingers, itperforms less well, because there is less opportunity for participation. 43
  44. 44. In a visually organized educational world, the TV child is an underpriviledged cripple***The TV child expects involvement and doesn’t want a specialist job in the future. Hedoes want a role and a deep commitment to his society.The TV child cannot see ahead because he wants involvement and he cannot accepta fragmentary and merely visualized goal or destiny in life.**Why did TV hit the Americans more/earlier than the European?Because the Americans were more influenced by literacy cultureNo European country allowed print such precedence. Visually, Europe has alwaysbeen shoddy in American eyes. American women, on the other hand, who havenever been equaled in any culture for visual turnout,)have always seemed abstract,mechanical dolls to Europeans. Tactility is a supreme value in European life.Europeans have always felt that the English and Americans lacked depth in theirculture. Since radio, and especially since TV, English and American literary criticshave exceeded the performance of any European in depth and subtlety. The beatnikreaching out for Zen is only carrying the mandate of the TV mosaic out into theworld of word and perception(Since then, the US became somewhat more European, and Europe became moreAmerican. McLuhan shows this with the example of the car:There is no cooler medium or hotter issue at present (1962!!! CH) than the smallcar. It is like a badly wired woofer in a hi-fi circuit that produces a tremendousflutter in the bottom. The small European car, like the European paperback and theEuropean belle, for that matter, was no visual package job. Visually, the entirebatch of European cars are so poor an affair that it is obvious their makers neverthought of them as something to look at. They are something to put on, like pants 44
  45. 45. The TV also influenced very deeply the image of politic ans.:Kennedy was an excellent TV image. He has used the medium with the sameeffectiveness that Roosevelt had learned to achieve by radio. With TV, Kennedyfound it natural to involve a nation in the office of the Presidency, both as anoperation and as an image. Potentially, the TV can transform the Presidency as amonarchic dynasty.Perhaps it was the Kennedy funeral that most strongly impressed the audience withthe power of TV with the character of corporate participation. 45
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  47. 47. The image of a “normal man” is best for TV. That’s the reason why a lot of Movie-Stars declined as TV came up.It is also the reason why Kennedy performed much better on TV than Nixon.A talented Image Consultant or moderator can sometimes work on the Image ofpeople, who are normally not well-suited for TV: On the Jack Paar show for March8, 1963, Richard Nixon was “Paared down” and remade into a suitable TV image. Itturns out that Mr. Nixon was both a pianist and a composer. With sure tact for thecharacter of the TV medium, Jack Paar brought out this pianoforte side of Mr.Nixon, with excellent effects. Instead of the slick, glib, legal Nixon, we saw thedoggedly creative and modest performer. A few timely touches like this would havequite altered the result of the Kennedy-Nixon campaign.The success of any TV performer depends on his achieving a low-pressure style ofpresentation, although getting his act on the air may require much high-pressureorganization. Castro may be a case in point. In the “Cuban Television One-manShow”, “Castro shows a seemingly improvised ‘as I go along-style with which he canevolve politics and govern his country – right on camera. Castro presents himselflike a teacher and “manages to blend political guidance and education withpropaganda so skillfully that it is often difficult to tell where one begins and theother ends.”***TV is a medium that rejects the sharp personality and favors the presentation ofprocess rather than that of productsThe adaption of TV to processes, rather than to the neatly packaged products,explains the frustration many people experience with this medium in its politicaluse. 47
  48. 48. An important quality of all electric media is that they break existing boundaries.McLuhan puts this in a kind of poem or line of metaphors under the term “wall”The telephone: speech without wallsThe phonograph: music hall without wallsThe photograph: museum without wallsThe electric light: space without walls.The movie, radio, and TV: Classroom without walls. 48
  49. 49. The power of printed press today is going to decline constantly for several reasons.I think Franziska will tell us now something about the situation in the press todaylater (or next time?). But if we look on the whole scenery of communicationbusiness and see how print-focused it still is we should keep in mind hat theprinted word has been very powerful for a long time and right from the beginning.The power of the printing press was and is the reason why a lot of dictators forbidthem. Already Napoleon had to struggle with the press. He was cited by saying:“Three hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets.”***The oldest newspaper is much older than you maybe think: The first newspaperwas called “Relation” and released by Johann Carolus in Boston 1690 (But pleasebe careful if you read things like this. Some people are very good in suggesting thatthey invented something – especially the Swiss and the Americans. As far as I knowthere was something like a Business Newspaper or “business letter” that wascarried from the Fugger family over the Alps three centuries before.) 49
  50. 50. Again, the combination of two different media imposed a huge speed up.In the case of the press, it was mainly the telephone/telegraphThe electrically moved instant information made necessary a deliberate artistic aimin the placing and management of news. 51
  51. 51. You may have heard the saying: What is in the press is news. It is interesting, thatMcLuhan already put it into the past: What went into the press was news. Todaywe can say: what was news yesterday in the Internet, is in the newspaper today. Ofcourse all newspapers today all have online sites. The problem is: Not a single one(exept ours) earns money with it. It is a lot of extra effort, that makes newspapersless profitable.But the old power of the press is the reason why PR-experts and companies arestill completely focused on the press and find it most important to have a goodcoverage in the press. They still think as it was for more than dozens of years: if youaren’t in the press, you are not news. But it is important not to confuseunconsciously publicity with Public relations. Often, the “silent” companies arevery “effective”.***As a journalist I would say there are a lot of different kinds of text forms andcontents which are very different in style, for example Opinion pieces andinformation pieces. So at first when I read the following argument of McLuhan, Iwas at first not content with it:Book and newspaper are confessional in character, creating the effect of insidestory by there mere form, regardless of content.But I think he was absolutely right. Because that is what people like to read most:Inside-stories, rumors, not boring information. Pure facts are only a kind ofbackground for what is the real essence of any newspaper. People want to readabout what they think is a “secret” and intimate, and they like well written opinionpieces 52
  52. 52. It’s a paradox that the press is dedicated to the process of cleansing by publicity,and yet that, in the electronic world of the seamless web of events, most affairsmust be kept secret. Top secrecy is translated into public participation andresponsibility by the magic flexibility of the controlled leak.Those who deplore the frivolity of the press and its natural form of group exposureand communal cleansing simply ignore the nature of the medium and demand thatit be a book, as it tends to be in Europe. The book arrived in Western Europe longbefore the newspaper, but Russia and middle Europe developed the book andnewspaper altogether.•Today, we are witnesses of a decline of thepress•The TV was NOT the reason for the decline ofthe press•The decline is mainly due to the lack ofadvertisement which has gone more and moreto the web 53
  53. 53. Most media today rely economically on ads, so they normally mix ads with contentAdvertisers pay for space and time in paper and magazine, on radio and TV, that is,they buy a piece of the reader, listener, or viewer as definitely as if they hired ourhomes for a public meeting. They would gladly pay the reader, listener, or viewerdirectly for his time and attention if they knew how to do it.The only way so far devised is to put on a free show.Should an alternative source of easy access to such diverse daily information befound, the press will fold.As was said, advertisement is itself entertainment and maybe the best content inmany media. I remember that when I studied the ASTA showed the yearly Cannes-Advertisement spots and we had a lot of fun with it.****Movies in America have not developed advertising intervals simply because themovie itself is the greatest form of advertisement for consumer goods.(Product placement)**McLuhan sees all media that mix ads with other programming are a form of “paidlearning”.He thinks that we will get content for free or even paid for learning:In years to come, when the child will be paid to learn, educators will recognize thesensational press as the forerunner of paid learning. One reason that it was difficultto see this fact earlier is that the processing and moving of information had notbeen the main business of mechanical and industrial world. It is, however, easily thedominant business and means of wealth in the electric world.”Today, advertising and PR is becoming more and more invisible. German Telekom 55
  54. 54. Why do I present the typewriter here – it is much older than for example movie.Because I’m coming soon to an end with one of the most important new media ofour times – the computer. And the typewriter is for sure a predecessor of thecomputer. A long time, the Computer was used only as a writing machine. So it isinteresting to look on what impact the typewriter had on organizational structures.Superficially regarded not so much.But regarded closely, it changed a lot, also in society:It gave back autonomy to women. When the first female typists hit the businessoffice in the 1890s, the cuspidor manufacturers read the sign of doom.The main job for managers now was: dictating:The invention of the typewriter gave tremendous impetus to the dictating habit…“It is not uncommon to see Congressman in dictating letters use the most vigorousgestures as if the oratorical methods of persuasion could be transmitted to theprinted page.”It also created a revolution in the garment industry “What she (the secretary - CH)wore every farmer’s daughter wanted to wear, for the typist was a popular figure ofenterprise and skill. She was a style-maker who was also eager to follow styles.Still the mechanical typewriter is used by many poets because they help them toindicate exactly the breath, the pauses, the suspensions, even, of syllables, thejuxtaposition, even, of parts of phrases which he intends, observing that, for thefirst time, the poet has the stave and the bar that the musician has had 56
  55. 55. The typewriter reached it’s whole scope only together with the telephone. Why?Because like the telephone, the typewriter fuses functions (call-girls).****Together with the telephone, the work to be done by typewriter expanded to hugedimensions in the same way as E-mail today expanded the work today. Can youimagine how many e-Mails are sent around today? And not all of them are SPAM –in contrary, the objective work has risen. How much e-Mail speeded up work isdifficult to understand by people who grew up in the old world of the typewriter orcomputers without e-Mail (Which is in fact, nothing more but an electronictypewriter)Often, the people said: Oh, send me a memo or letter about that. Today we say:send me an e-Mail.***This is the central paradox of the information age: We create new techniques andthink they will help us to save time and money. Instead, they normally generatenew, additional work before they enhance productivity. Why are old peopleastonished about all this “unnecessary work” or “unnecessary communication”?A man called Northcote Parkinson has discovered 1930 that any business orbureaucratic structure functions in itself, independently of “the work to be done”.His famous “Parkinson law” says that “work expands so as to fill the time availablefor its completion” .This was precisely the zany dynamic provided by the telephone.Some people today are shocked by the fact that celebrity in our information age isnot due to a person’s having done something, but simply to his being known forbeing well known. Professor Parkinson was scandalized that the structure ofhuman work now seems to be quite independent of any job to be done. 57
  56. 56. And another quote I like very much!“Neither honest toil nor clever ploy will serve to advantage the eager executive. Thereason is simple. Positional warfare is finished, both in private and corporateaction. In business, as in society, “getting on” may mean getting out. There is no“ahead” in a world that is an echo chamber of instantaneous celebrity”Undoubtedly, electronic media have the power to destroy hierarchies (buthierarchy and bureaucracy are not always bad!) and dictatorships. But maybeMcLuhan was much too optimistic about the information-communism that iscreated by electronic media. In the same way, people who hope that the internetwill create a fairer and better world are maybe sometimes too optimistic. Often theknowledge of elites is protected by very subtle mechanisms. 58
  57. 57. But the typewriter also had enormous direct effects on the organization of labor:“A modern battleship needed dozens of typewriters for ordinary operations. Anarmy needs more typewriters than medium and light artillery pieces, even in thefield, suggesting that the typewriter now fuses the functions of the pen and sword.Interestingly, the typewriter for McLuhan did not fully stand for the print culture.There were already a sign for the further development – the computer. Thetravelling typewriter already had a kind of “take-away-print culture”. If you may say,an early mechanical version of the laptop…And as such, it had some characteristics of electronic media, e.g. the integration offunctions and private independence. You could for example take work at home orin vacations. 59
  58. 58. With the computer, we are at the end of our McLuhan-travel through centuries ofmedia-developmentI don’t know if McLuhan could have foresee the massive use of computers. As youwill see if you would read his books he had a very clear picture of the computerworld although he seldom talks explicitly about them 60
  59. 59. Just to give you an impression:Of course, the computer has changed whole industries, businesses an our wholeworking life. Toda we also can observe what the computer does with our brainsAn ordinary working day for many people: checking e-mail 50 times, between 50-350 mails per day, calling Instant Messenger 80 times, gaming, looking forinformation in the internet…..***It could be showed that interactive media let some abilities bloom whereas otherdiminish.Computer games for example educate the fast handling of information and stimulibut also reduce the ability to pay attention and can create hyperactivity. Whilegaming, the brain spills a lot of dopamine***Some see computer games as ideal training for skills people will need in theorganizations of tomorrow, some see them as destroying old cultural skills likereading 61
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  61. 61. From individualism and fragmentation to a collective identity, with a “tribal base”.Google for example segments its customers in tribes. The importance of theconcept of corporate culture and participation shows how important tribe valuesare becoming.***All electric applications, far from being labor-saving devices, are new forms ofwork, decentralized and made available to everybody.***Without moralizing, it can be said that the electric age, by involving all men deeplyin one another, will come to reject mechanical solutions. It is more difficult toprovide uniqueness and diversity than it is to impose the uniform patterns of masseducation; but it is such uniqueness and diversity that can be fostered under electricconditions as never before: Now, it pays to laugh at the mechanical and the merelystandardized. The mark of our time is its revulsion against imposed patterns. Weare suddenly eager to have things and people declare their beings totally. There is adeep faith to be found in this new attitude – a faith that concerns the ultimateharmony of all being. (I would say: That is the central myth of the internet age CH)***Today, nationalism as an image still depends on the press, but has all the electricmedia against it.***As we begin to react in depth to the social life and problems of our global village,we become reactionaries. Involvement that goes with our instant technologiestransforms the most socially conscious people into conservatives. (Examples: retro-chic, “old-fashioned” values like virginity, country style, garden work…) 64
  62. 62. Electric speed mingles the cultures of prehistory with the dregs of industrialmarketers, the nonliterate with the semiliterate and the postliterate.***Mental breakdown of varying degrees is the very common result of uprooting andinundation with new information and endless new patterns of information.***In the age of space-time we seek multiplicity, rather than repeatability, of rhythms.This is the difference between marching soldiers and ballet.***“in the electronic age, men becomes a kind of collector (again). McLuhan says:“Man the food-gatherer reappears incongruously as information gatherer. In thisrole, electronic man is no less a nomad than his paleolithic ancestors.”*** 65
  63. 63. Cluetrain manifestCompanies and organization will try to create an image as “organic” and human,let employees speak for „themselves“ try to use “natural” language and imitate“street credibility. But these efforts will often fail.In general, participation and involvement, emotions, cultural values, altruism andrelations will play a big role.But also some lower instincts…. 66
  64. 64. As long as big industry companies exist (and I hope they will exist for a long time)they will be forced more and more to practice hypocrisyOne of the most “effective” forms of hypocrisy is by promising to avoid hypocrisy inthe future and hypocrisy that is not committed consciouslyEverybody will be his own PR-expert („Ich-AG)It will be very easy to make PR for customer oriented, little knowledge companiesand social organizations. The public will trust those organization almost blindly 67
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  66. 66. The classical PR-Department will be more and more perceived as a dinosaur fromthe industrial age.Some companies have already abandoned their PR-department.Companies and organization will try to be more “organic” and human, letemployees speak for „themselves“ try to use “natural” language and imitate “streetcredibility, but these efforts will often fail.A special form of hypocrisy in the electric age is renaming PR.Public relations => Public Consultants. Deekeling Arndt Advisors has spinned-off hisPR-activities and is now named „Kaikom Agentur für Kommunikation“.GPRA (Gesellschaft Public Relations Agenturen) is searching for a new namewithout „PR“ 69
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  70. 70. McLuhan seems to be a little bit mixed about that. On the one hand he thinks thatAnd it seems at least very difficult to control or change media if we are sounconscious about them.On the other hand there are other quotes which suggest that media arecontrollableCan or should we control media?McLuhan is mixed about that topic. In general he thinks the consequences ofmedia are inevitable becaus media lock our minds and senses as the upper quoteshows. But he thinks we can become more consciously if we understand thembetter andSometimes he seems to be very convinced that we can even control media like thequote below shows But maybe this is just ironic?We are certainly coming within conceivable range of a world automaticallycontrolled to the point where we could say, „Six hours less radio in Indonesia nextweek or there will be a great falling off in literary attention.“ Or, „We can programtwenty more hours of TV in South Africa next week to cool down the tribaltemperature raised by radio last week. Whole cultures could now be programmedto keep their emotional climate stable in the same way that we have begun toknow something about maintaining equilibrium in the commercial economies of theworlds.(Only literate societies are at loss as they encounter the new structures of opinionand feeling that result from instant and global information. They are still in the ‘gripof “points of view” and of habits of dealing with things one at a time. Such habits 73
  71. 71. Anyway, to keep pace with the electronic age we will have to change often, we likechange our images from time to time, companies are already engaged in constantchanging since decades et cetera. The problem is, for organizations, that changeefforts often seem to fail. Consultants say that more than 70 % of anytransformation efforts fail.I cannot go deeper into that topic of change management (I worked on it for years)but just as a hint: It will be much easier if we change our thinking first. Or, maybe,at first change the way we think about thinking. We think for example that wethink with our brain. But that is simply not true:****“The brain is not thinking, neither does your pancreas think. It’s just organicmatter. The human being thinks and utilizes the brain for that. Thinking is nottaking place in an isolated inner world. You think different, if you feel different, i.e.if your body is in a completely different state. And you always think in contact withother human beings.” (Thomas Fuchs, Psychiatrist and Philosopher) 76
  72. 72. Change in the Electronic age also has to be holistic. I like this quote very much, itstems from Margaret Mead, the American cultural anthropologist:„There are too many complaints about society having to move too fast to keep upwith the machine. There is great advantage in moving fast if you move completely,if social, educational, and recreation changes keep pace. You must change thewhole pattern at once and the whole group together – and the people themselvesmust decide to move““Never doubt that a small group of people of committed people can change theworld. Indeed, It’s the only thing that ever has.” 77
  73. 73. As McLuhan thin the artist are ahead, they will be the most influentialcommunication experts (and change managers) in the future … 78
  74. 74. The best advice to avoid a PR-Problem today there is still a very old-fashioned, butvery effective way: performance 79
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