Against McLuhan's idea of the medium as massage
McLuhan speaking of the nature of media used thermic metaphors, like hot and cold media. He also said that the medium is a massage. Of course a massage gives a feeling of heat, it relaxes you and gives you pleasure, some kind of sweetness or euphoria. And therefore you are ready to pay for this wellbeing. You may even get a daily dependance to it.
We must recognize that McLuhan was very much right. Too much. In fact a massage is a hot manipulation. And that is exactly what many media do. It allows them to promote political ideologies, publicity and therefore consummation. Many of them have hideen interests and strategies. This mass manipulation is getting very powerful and we have to resist to it.
It is not anymore possible to mention this statement of McLuhan without denouncing its perverse effect today. It was a very penetrant idea in its time, then McLuhan introduced us for the first time to such "understanding of the media". l admired him a lot. But nowadays l better say that media should avoid any kind of massage and care much more for thruth, freedom and ethics. McLuhan did not speak much about media's ethics. It has got now the main issue. Some media have this very preoccupation in their fundaments and behaviour. They avoid to depend mainly on the profits of advertising. Others not at all: they are dangerous for our democracies.
l had the opportunity of expressing these ideas last week at the excellent International Conference McLuhan100, Then Now,Next organized by Dominique Scheffel-Dunand, director of The McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology, York university, Toronto.