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Understanding New Media

Extending Marshall McLuhan – Second Edition


Robert K. Logan

Marshall McLuhan made many predictions in his seminal 1964 publication, Understanding Media: Extensions of Man. Among them were his predictions that the Internet would become a «global village,» making us more interconnected than television; the closing of the gap between consumers and producers; the elimination of space and time as barriers to communication; and the melting of national borders. He is also famously remembered for coining the expression «the medium is the message.» These predictions form the genesis of this updated volume by Robert K. Logan, a friend and colleague who worked with McLuhan. In this second edition of Understanding New Media Logan expertly updates McLuhan’s Understanding Media to analyze the «new media» McLuhan foreshadowed and yet was never able to analyze or experience. The book is designed to reach a new generation of readers as well as appealing to scholars and students who are familiar with Understanding Media.
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Chapter 12. Clothing


← 132 | 133 →

· 12 ·


Content and extension: Clothing is an extension of the skin and its content is the person wearing them.

Cascade: The cascade is from human skin to animal skins to clothing and then from robes and togas to tailored clothing to accommodate the needs of equestrians.

LOM: Clothing enhances survival, obsolesces cold and nakedness, retrieves innocence and the Garden of Eden, reverses into the capriciousness and wastefulness of fashion, which, as Shakespeare noted, wear out more clothes than the wearer.

The “new media” play a large role in the design, manufacture, distribution, marketing, and sale of clothing. The nature of clothing itself, however, has not changed, with the exception of the direct intersection of clothing and the “new media” in terms of wearable computing where the computer becomes a literal extension of its user as defined by Steve Mann (1998), regarded by some as the father of wearable computing:

An important distinction between wearable computers and portable computers (handheld and laptop computers for example) is that the goal of wearable computing is to position or contextualize the computer in such a way that the human and ← 133 | 134 → computer are inextricably intertwined, so as to achieve Humanistic Intelligence—i.e. intelligence that arises by having the human being in the feedback loop of the computational process.

The advantage of the wearable computer is its perpetual availability 24–7 as an intelligence assistant...

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