A tribute to and a lament for Marshall McLuhan.Â Five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday,Â I present one of McLuhanâ€™s observations and talk about its relevance today.Â 300 ideas. 300 days.Â 300 posts.
Marshall McLuhan (February 6, 1974, age 62). Read all about it
Did you happen to see TV Guide for September 15, 1973?Â Â There is a report of the effects of quitting TV watching cold turkey in England and Germany.Â They paid people to turn off their sets off for as long as they could stand it.Â Some lasted three months but most could only do it for a week.Â And all showed the same kind of symptoms of withdrawal as alcoholics or drug addicts do when denied their fix. Â Â Quite obviously this had nothing to do with their missing the content of Bonanza or the Monty Pythonâ€™s Flying Circus.Â They could not do without the medium.
Me (May 2010, age 57).Â TV Guide ainâ€™t a scientific journal
But what does that matter, McLuhan wasnâ€™t a scientist.Â He insisted that everything he said could be tested by anyone who was willing to look honestly at the world.Â Our experiment with living without TV continues in the Hinton household.Â Three months and counting.Â I must say I have had some withdrawal symptoms.Â My experience is that Internet video and rented DVDs are not the same as TV.Â And I must agree with McLuhan that it is not the program content I miss.Â But then, this is not a scientific test.
However, a recent study appears to both support and contradict McLuhan.Â On the one hand it shows the increasing power of electronic media to create dependency.Â On the other it would appear that modern users of electronic media are dependent on both the content and the medium.
According to the study in which 200 college students were asked to give up “any media interaction” (texting, facebook, phone, TV)Â for 24 hours and then report theÂ experience, many found the assignment impossible to complete and others reported uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Participants reported missing their virtual relationships.
What about you? Have you ever tried to give up TV?Â Any other media interaction? What happened?
Cordially, Marshall and Me
Reading for this post
Letters of Marshall McLuhan, 1987, pp. 490-91.