Weapons of Self-Restraint

Part 2 in a series of Lenten reflections on technology and spirituality. On Ash Wednesday, we prayed this collect at the beginning of our church service: Grant, O Lord, that we may begin with holy fasting this campaign of Christian service, so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils, we may be armed […]

The Ballad of Marshall McLuhan

This might be the most fun introduction to Marshall McLuhan you’ll find. The song: The Ballad of Marshall McLuhan The band: The Vestibules The album: Radio Free Vestibule Lyrics Once upon a time there was a town A town where chaos reigned. Lawlessness was everywhere And there was no cohesive theory existing which properly explained […]

The E-Book and the Surveillance Society

When I embarked on a reading of Marshall McLuhan’s Understanding Media, in the spring of 2013, a commercial e-book version was not yet available. I located a bootleg PDF copy online somewhere. It was an interesting artifact, not well formatted but possibly useful for copying passages to paste into another document. I could have read the […]

McLuhan receives McLuhan Award

We are pleased to announce that editorial board member Eric McLuhan was awarded with the third annual Medium and the Light award on October 23rd. During a celebration at St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto, over 50 scholars gathered at the old coach house where Eric’s father Marshall McLuhan had his office and […]

The Ghost(s) of Marshall McLuhan

Here at Second Nature we’re celebrating Halloween and All Saints’ Day by channeling the ghost(s) of Marshall McLuhan. How you ask? We’re reading the only e-mail Neil Postman ever sent in which he poses as the ghost of Marshall McLuhan: This is the Ghost of Marshall McLuhan speaking to you. I don’t have to tell you […]

The Overview Effect

“We’re going to turn the camera around and show you the Earth,” begins OVERVIEW, a documentary about the first images of Earth taken by humans and the effect that picture of the earth had on the astronauts who took it–and eventually the rest of the culture. The documentary discusses what author Frank White calls the […]

Media Ecology Is Already Christian: Why McLuhan Is What the Church Needs for the New Evangelization

During his papacy, Pope Benedict XVI made the new media an important part of his emphasis on the new evangelization. As part of his message for the 45th World Communications Day in 2011, the Holy Father pointed to the “radical changes taking place in communications” that “are not only changing the way we communicate, but […]

Sea Change: James Cameron’s The Abyss as McLuhanian Apocalypse

James Cameron’s films, Hollywood blockbusters though they are, may also be read in terms of a Canadian sensibility that is prone to problematizing mankind’s relation to technology and communications media, as epitomized by Marshall McLuhan (see Babe 2000; Kroker 1984). The Terminator films are thus based on the idea of the nascent Internet as a […]

The Medium is the Messiah: McLuhan’s Religion and its Relationship to His Media Theory

To say that Marshall McLuhan was incidentally a Christian, or that his Catholicism was just part of his private life, is a little like saying that Karl Marx was only incidentally a Marxist. This essay will attempt to reconcile the seeming contradiction between the Marshall McLuhan who had “no theory of communication” and was simply […]

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