True to an exten
t, but ultimately Marshall McLuhan
overlooks the role that content
has to play.
For example the protestant reformation
changed the entire political structure of the west
, and the way that people thought of each other. The key point of the protestant reformation
was that every man could go into his closet and find God
for himself. This allowed people to go into their closets and find a God that didn't
support the current status quo
(that is to say the divine right of kings
, and the social order it supported).
's analysis would've been something like the Gutenburg press
supported literacy and free thought by removing church control on the dissemination of information.
Sure, the Gutenburg press
had a role to play in changing society and the way it interacts in and of itself, but if they had printed of 1,000,000 copies of Beowulf
then not much would've changed. The only literate people were aristocrat
s and clergy
anyways. But they didn't print off Beowulf. They printed the bible
. Now that everyone had access to their own copy of it (instead of relying on the parish
copy) they had the ability to read it and interpret it themselves.
Example 2: The Bolshevik
ist Russia thought of their peasant
ry and proletariat
as less than dogs. Leo Tolstoy
's War and Peace
spoke of them as real people, with real personality and hardships. It's this writer's belief that this work helped the proletariat realize that they're people, eventually resulting in the revolution
. It wasn't the invention of books or the printing press that caused it, it was the specific work.
This isn't to say that the idea of the medium is the message
is baseless, just that it's only part of the whole picture