This Is Marshall McLuhan: The Medium Is The Message

A hot and cold pop culture-laden Sixties documentary about the mass media theorist.

Unthinkable as it seems today, in 1967, NBC television tried a grand experiment in cultural education. Experiments in Television was a commercial-free series of films aimed at raising the public consciousness. To rub things in, it was broadcast directly after Sunday football, a none-too-subtle attempt to replace some of the brain cells lost during hours of sports and beer drinking. This Is Marshall McLuhan would later be distributed to schools as a way of educating students on the effects of the mass media.

McLuhan’s book The Medium is the Message: An Inventory of Effects came out the same year, alongside a special edition of Aspen magazine that he edited and an LP of him reading him the book. If nothing else, McLuhan certainly showed his understanding of both the effects and the power of mass media and had learned from his own research. McLuhan’s research feels almost naive now, given the explosion in media manipulation since then, but the documentary – edited like a music video and a fantastic explosion of information overload – is still fascinating.

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