Time to Write Now By Julaina Kleist-Corwin

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Paul Levinson Writes About Marshall McLuhan And the Medium is the Message

Paul Levinson book cover of McLuhan Age of SM

Do you remember Marshall McLuhan’s book, The Medium is the Message: An Inventory of Effects, published in 1967? Paul Levinson, a science-fiction writer, a professor of communications and media studies at Fordham University, and a well-known reviewer of movies, books, music, and politics, has written about Marshall McLuhan’s ideas and how they relate to our time of the internet, social media, and other technological advances.

McLuhan, July 21, 1911 to December 31, 1980, “proposed that media themselves, not the content they carry, should be the focus of study—popularly quoted as ‘the medium is the message.’ McLuhan’s insight was that a medium affects the society in which it plays a role not by the content delivered over the medium, but by the characteristics of the medium itself.”

McLuhan’s argument is the ” idea that technology has no per se moral bent—it is a tool that profoundly shapes an individual’s and, by extension, a society’s self-conception and realization.”

For more about McLuhan, see the following:



Paul Levenson Digital McLuhan book cover



Levinson’s first book, Digital McLuhan: A Guide to the Information Millennium, was published in 1999 in which he “examines why McLuhan’s theories about media are more important to us today than when they were first written, and why the Wired generation is now turning to McLuhan’s work to understand the global village in the digital age.”



Levinson stated that McLuhan in an Age of Social Media could be considered a new chapter in his book, Digital McLuhan. To read more about applying McLuhan’s thinking to our current age, see http://www.amazon.com/McLuhan-Social-Media-Paul-Levinson-ebook/

Levinson’s blog:

On December 27, 2015, he posted, “The Bookstore with Just One Book” and refers to McLuhan again. He had read an article by Alison Flood in The Guardian  “about a bookstore in Japan that stocks and displays only one book at a time – and I couldn’t help thinking about McLuhan’s observation that new technologies turn outmoded technologies into art forms.”

At the end of his post Levinson says, “Japan has long been known as a place in which single paintings are hung on a wall, so they can be admired without competition, and eventually replaced by another painting.  Under the pressure of the Kindle, which makes a myriad of books all but instantly available, the printed book has now become something more than it once was – an object to be displayed, like a work of art, before it is read.  The Kindle, in other words, has turned the printed book into an art form – at least, in Japan.”

Many years ago, I read Marshall McLuhan’s The Medium is the Message. Paul Levinson has generated my interest to read it again along with Levinson’s books about McLuhan’s insights. Technology certainly has a huge influence on society. I see children today as young as preschool age playing games on their parents’ phones and enjoying their own IPads. What will they be to do with new technology in another 30 years?

I’m curious about your ideas regarding these inevitable changes. Comments are appreciated.

To read Paul Levinson’s review go to http://paullevinson.blogspot.com/2015/12/star-wars-force-awakens.html


Julaina Kleist-Corwin

Editor of Written Across the Genres





  1. ladywinfred says:

    Brava, Julaina. Lots of intriguing information to read, mull over and digest. Thanks!

  2. I spent this Christmas with 5 of my 8 grandchildren. All, even the 4-year-old, spent noticeable time on some sort of electronic device playing games or communicating with their social network. Notable were 1) making music video selfies singing pop songs with weird artistic effects, 2) constantly carrying their devices in their hands, as if permanently attached, and 3) the meltdown my 17-year-old granddaughter had when her iPhone died the last night if her visit. To her it was a catastrophe of momentous proportions. This media is not only communication that forms their lives, it is their lives. What a difference in the 4 years that passed since we last hosted Christmas. We can’t change this progression, but need to understand what messages are being sent by this glut of media and their effects on our forming future society. Thanks for sharing this provocative post.

  3. You’re welcome, Elaine. Yes, I see how the devices are carried as if permanently attached.

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