I learn in today's Toronto Globe and Mail that this is the centennial of the birth, in frigid Edmonton AB, of U of Toronto professor and media maven Marshall McLuhan, coiner of the catchphrase "The Medium is the Message", collagist of the unclassifiable book "The Medium is the Massage", and author of the scholarly tome "The Gutenberg Galaxy".
The Globe also summarizes McLuhan's numerous insights in a sentence which I will take the liberty of paraphrasing and improving as:
The visible or audible content delivered through any medium is less important than the implicit messages the medium itself introduces into human affairs.(Original: "the visible content delivered through any media, such as the television, is less important than the invisible effects the vehicle that conveys it introduces into human affairs".)
This key observation is why Wired called Prof. McLuhan the "Prophet of the Internet" even though, as far as I know, he never envisioned anything like it. From a McLuhanistic perspective, the internet is every bit as big a revolution in human consciousness as the printing press; its effects will evolve over the next century or two, but those of us privileged to be on the scene in its early days will have much to say about the long future of human civilization (presuming civilization sufficient to support the internet survives our other present turmoils).
McLuhan, (like Norbert Wiener,) was prominent in my teenage reading list and influential in my own subsequent thinking.
Recent McLuhan stories in the Globe and Mail:
A Catholic Cassandra's Faith
McLuhan: From tweedy academic to household name
The return of Marshall McLuhan