Green Eggs and Ham and the New Media
“The medium is the message.”
― Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, Title of Chapter 1 and of the book by the same name, also by McLuhan
Although this book was written in 1964, when three television channels were the sole source of televised media, much of McLuhan prophecy of media has reached fruition. Ted Cruz’s “fauxibuster” last night (Tuesday night) was a snapshot of the integration of new media and McLuhan’s classification of “hot” and “cold” media. CSpan, a network not in existence when McLuhan’s books were published, carried the entire 21 hour Texas-sized chat. Twitter tweets majoritized the hashtags #CSpan, #KeepCruzing, #MakeDCListen, #StandwithCruz. Senator Cruz read from selected tweets as the night progressed.
But perhaps the most demonstrative example of McLuhan’s foretelling that “the media is the message” came when Senator Cruz read to his daughters, having asked them to tune in to CSPAN at 8:00pm Tuesday night.
I remember how strange it seemed to me as a child, when I saw my dad on television versus seeing him in real life. On television, he was smaller than me and black and white. In person he was larger than life and in living color! The media of reality and the media in my mind gave a science-fiction aspect to my experience. It is obvious from the picture that Ted Cruz’s daughters feel no such distancing or fragmentation, as McLuhan calls it, to seeing their dad on television. Media extended Cruz’s message, not only to his constituents and the country at large, but also, and most especially to his daughters, who may not forget that Dad read to them from Washington on a school night in September.
McLuhan, M. (1989). The medium is the message. New York: Simon & Schuster. (first published in 1967)
McLuhan, M. (1994). Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. MIT Press.
COMPLETE VIDEO of Ted Cruz Senate speech http://cs.pn/18pJVWV