The Medium is the Massage.
A.N. Whitehead’s quote, “It is the business of the future to be dangerous,” brilliantly ends Quentin Fiore’s visual metaphor of Marshall McLuhan’s original thoughts on media and communication– And it is, without a doubt, very true. Whether we like it or not, the rise of media and technology in modern society is utterly inevitable. As McLuhan so famously put it–
“All media work us over completely. They are so pervasive in their personal, political, economic, aesthetic, psychological, moral, ethical, and social consequences that they leave no part of use untouched, unaffected, unaltered. The medium is the massage. Any understanding of social and cultural change is impossible without a knowledge of the way media work as environments” (26).
The extremely unique uses of juxtaposed imagery, repetitive text, mirrored writing, and historical photographs prominently portrayed a truly creative and graphical representation of McLuhan’s well-known thesis– While making it all the more pleasurable to read as well. Fiore’s graphic masterpiece only further reinforces the over-arching argument that each medium seems to produce a different sort of “massage” or “effect” on the human sensorium. But not only is modern media a pure extension of human senses– With the ability to alter the environment, media also has the capability to alter “the way we think and act– the way we perceive the world” (148).
Ironically, Fiore’s superimposed collage styling of both the visual elements and the sparse text also furthers McLuhan’s suggestion that modern audiences have found new media soothing and enjoyable. This pleasure, however, is rather deceiving, and because these continuous yet inevitable changes between society and technology are so incongruent, society finds itself in an Age of Anxiety— An age and a feeling that I, as the well-known digital immigrant, am often too familiar with in our ever-evolving digital world. Media, however, is in fact, the medium in which modern society defines anything and everything these days. And this textual illustration McLuhan and Fiore have cleverly compiled is a definite “collide-oscope of interfaced situations” (10).