Extending Marshall McLuhan – Second Edition
Chapter 9. The Written Word
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THE WRITTEN WORD
Content and extension: The content of the written word is the spoken word, which is extended into space and time by the use of a portable and durable medium. Various media have been used for this purpose including stylus and clay; chisel and stone walls or stele; parchment and ink; and paper and ink. The written word, an extension of the spoken word, is ultimately an extension of the mind.
Cascade: The cascade of the written word is from thoughts to the spoken word to the written word. The spoken word in this cascade is most often not uttered but enters in the form of silent speech that the writer can hear in their head.
LOM: The written word enhances the storage and organization of information and abstract thought, obsolesces the spoken word as the principal medium of storage, retrieves memory of things past, and reverses into the need for formal education or schools. ← 119 | 120 →
9.1 Impact of “New Media” on the Written Word
The new media have had an enormous impact on the written word as has been observed by Bolter and Grusin (1999): “Postmodern theory errs in trying to isolate language as a cultural force for it fails to appreciate how language interacts with other media, other technologies and other cultural artifacts” (p. 57). This has certainly been the case for the written word and the new...
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