In the first of a series of philosophy podcasts, Benjamen Walker and guests discuss the communication theorist Marshall McLuhan and his most famous line.
The writing of the Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan, who would have celebrated his 100th birthday this Thursday, has entered popular jargon like that of few other modern intellectuals. Is there another line that has been quoted – and misquoted – as enthusiastically as ‘the medium is the message’? McLuhan, of course, was perfectly aware of his status as the thinker du jour of the media age, the man everyone liked to quote over dinner but hadn’t bothered to read – for proof, just watch Annie Hall.
But what does "the medium is the message" really mean? In the first episode of our new The Big Ideas series, Benjamen Walker gets to the bottom of the slogan with the help of Canadian novelist and McLuhan-biographer Douglas Coupland, academic Lance Strate, Marshal’s son Eric McLuhan, record producer John Simon, and the Guardian’s media correspondent Jemima Kiss.