In my first post, on Tuesday, December 12, 2006 I discussed Claude Lévi-Strauss's Contribution to Media Ecology , noting that Lévi-Strauss's methodology is completely compatible with McLuhan's Laws of the Media. This is one recurring theme of my blog, and is based, in part, on McLuhan's own admission. McLuhan acknowledged is debt to structural anthropology in a letter to the editor of The Journal of Technology and Culture, reprinted here, where he noted:
How did I arrive at these "Laws of the Media"? By a structural approach. The structuralists, beginning with Ferdinand de Saussure and now Lévi-Strauss, divide the approaches to the problem of form into two categories: diachrony and synchrony. Diachrony is simply the developmental, chronological study of any cultural matter; but synchrony works on the assumption that all aspects of any form are simultaneously present in any part of it. Although I have used the simultaneous approach in arriving at these Laws of the Media, any one of them is susceptible to the diachronic approach for filling in the historical background and details.My second post concerned my creation in 1977 of the now famous theme song, "A Model Media Ecologist." I have since posted the original video on YouTube. The lyrics to this tome, which earned me the unofficial title of Media Ecology Poet Laureate were included in Casey Man Kong Lum's masterful survey of the origins of Media Ecology, Perspectives on Culture, Technology And Communication: The Media Ecology. I recommend purchasing several copies of this groundbreaking work.
In a Sunday, December 31, 2006 post, An Unspoken Assumption in Media Ecology, I discuss a hidden assumption of Media Ecology studies: Commentary on the differences in sensory balances, which may be determined by the particular technologies or media of communication available, imply that there are no differences in the basic structure and capacity of the human mind, regardless of culture, time or locality. McLuhan's survey of communication history, and his Laws of the Media only makes sense if people are the same everywhere and through all human history.
On January 20, 2007 I challenged my reader (hi Mom!) to come up with the best McLuhan joke ever, and I offered the following:
Several students of Media Ecology consult a famous psychic in order to contact Marshall McLuhan and finally get a clear explanation of his writings. The seer goes into a trance, but says nothing for several minutes.
Losing patience, one of the students cries out, "Dr. McLuhan, are you there? Why won't you speak to us?"
A deep voice replies, "The Medium is the Message!"
So far there have been no other entries, and so I am keeping the prize for myself.
A further review of my past postings will appear in Part 2.