Chapter Title: “The Medium Is the Metaphor”
In this chapter, Postman takes Marshall McLuhan’s aphorism, The Medium is the Message, and “corrects” the statement by saying, The Medium is the Metaphor. Throughout the continuance of the chapter, Postman explains why he feels his version of the statement is correct.
Central Point: In this Chapter, Postman uses the word medium as a tool through which we create, communicate, and understand meaning. He uses metaphor for the way we think. He explains that we once used the tool of writing that people could read, as a metaphor for thinking logically. However now with the invention of the television and the radio, image media, we ignore reason and go straight to pleasing peoples’ emotions. The image media is a metaphor for not thinking logically. So unless people read and use their own reasoning to understand things, they are just accepting whatever the media tells them because it appeals to their emotions and they feel that whatever is being said must be right. • “…: the decline of the Age of Typography and the ascendancy of the Age of Television. This change-over has dramatically and irreversibly shifted the content and meaning of public discourse, since two media so vastly different cannot accommodate the same ideas” (8). • “…what McLuhan meant in saying the medium is the message. His aphorism, however, is in need of amendment because, as it stands, it may lead once to confuse a message with a metaphor. A message denotes a specific, concrete statement about the world. But the forms of our media, including the symbols through which they permit conversation, do not make such statements. They are rather like metaphors, working by unobtrusive but powerful implication to enforce their special definitions of reality” (10). • “What I mean to point out here is that the introduction into a culture of a technique such as writing or a clock is not merely an...
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