We have to see hot and cool media not in terms of static definitions but as dynamic concepts that are designed to get at the experience and effects of how we use media. For him, it was the effect the medium had that he was trying to get at. McLuhan indicates this in chapter 2 of Understanding Media where he writes: The new electric structuring and configuring of life more and more encounters the old lineal and fragmentary procedures and tools of analysis from the mechanical age.
Hardly one comes across the writings of a man so profound and eye-opening that critics refute his theories simply because they fail to comprehend them! Marshall McLuhan, two decades after his death, still has a great following, consisting of researchers, academic thinkers, media personalities, eminent politicians, and most importantly, die-hard critics.
The simple reason for this wide chasm between the opinions of both sides is the methodology by which he fabricated his ideas: Complex analysis of imponderable data with utter disregard for content, resulting in unified real-world theories, so simple that they often end up being misunderstood.
The following is a critique of some of his theories, ideas, and generalizations, with a brief analysis of each, and how it contributes to the "mysticism" surrounding his work. McLuhan provides an extremely vague description of what he means by media, for it encompasses everything from writing, clothing, and automobiles, to television, radio, and computers.
And yet the world today, almost forty years after he authored Understanding Media, continues to exemplify his statement recurrently. He does not see man becoming a slave because of his reliance on technology. He sees man becoming a slave because he subconsciously chooses to ignore and disregard the fact that understanding the new web of media is incumbent to his survival and prosperity.
He saw the world like no one had ever seen it before - in depth, devoid of any previous assumptions, keen to form new ideas, and willing to shed old theories. Medium is the Message His indifference towards the pre-packaged content that the traditional media presents, is fresh and frightening both.
What is the message though? The message is everything. The message is anything.
The message is what the controllers of media want it to be; Hitler wanted it to be fascism and Castro wants it to be apparent democracy. The form of media used were different, radio and television, but the end result seems to be same - acquisition of mass support. But once again, McLuhan stuns the reader right in the midst of a seemingly clear-cut theory, for according to him, not all media work in the same way, despite the fact that they can be used to derive the same outcomes.
Radio is hot, television is cool, lectures are hot, and seminars are cool. Any medium low in participation and high in information content is hot.
A medium engaging higher participation but providing less quantity of information is cool. McLuhan cites the example of two American Presidents, Kennedy and Nixon, both of whom projected impressionable persona on the television.
However, where as Kennedy remained calm, cool, and low-definition, Nixon tended to be aggressive, hot, or in other words, high-definition. This cost Nixon the presidency. Though McLuhan clearly distinguishes what makes a medium hot or cool, recognizing the same is quite counterintuitive.
In the present day, when more people call up the local radio stations than the national television, it seems that radio is cooler since it involves more participation.
While in some cases it might be true that radio is cooler or television is hotter figuratively speaking, in a broader sense the idea that radio is essentially hot and television primarily cool still holds true, because even today, television is more of a full body-mind involvement experience than radio.
Yet again McLuhan reinterpreted a common catch phrase and gave it a hitherto unknown dimension, for the term definition now measured participation, more appropriately, the lack thereof. That radio is a high-definition medium is a well known fact.
Yet, the use of the word definition to describe something as far-fetched as participation, goes on to show why McLuhan has been fondly called the metaphysician of media, shrouded in mysticism. It would be difficult to disagree with McLuhan on his choice of the three technological innovations that have affected mankind the most: Phonetic alphabet, movable type, and telegraph.
Citing these three as the major breakthroughs that transmogrified the tribal man into the "Gutenberg man," McLuhan boldly claims that each and every mechanical invention attributes its success to the printing press.
No longer was education a frill for the posh, but instead available to anyone who sought to absorb it. And it was this easy access to resources and textual materials, that the plebeian also became the thinker, the inventor, and the revolutionary.Understanding Media The extensions of man London and New York.
CONTENTS 3 1 The Medium is the Message 7 2 Media Hot and Cold 24 3 Reversal of the Overheated Medium 36 4 The Gadget Lover: Narcissus as Narcosis 45 action and the reaction occur almost at the same time. We actually live mythically and integrally, as it were, but we. Published: Mon, 5 Dec This research will discuss theory of McLuhan in communications and media technologies.
And also will talk about some of the important points referred to by McLuhan in theories such as Global Media and understanding media. His theories I believe was too simplify especially his Hot and Cool theory. He suggests that Hot media are things that include complete sensory data, such as radio, printed material, photograph and film.
Marshall McLuhan a fellow Canadian by the way, had some unique theories such as ‘the medium is the message’. Basically hot media is any media that could evoke a strong reaction. Radio is hot, television is cool, lectures are hot, and seminars are cool. McLuhan’s classification of media takes into account only two factors: participation and information.
Any medium low in participation and high in information content is hot. McLuhan gives typical expression of this idea in explaining the distinction he draws between “hot” and “cool” media: A cool medium like hieroglyphic or ideogrammatic written characters has very different effects from the hot and explosive medium of the phonetic alphabet.