understanding media.jpg
amuzing our selves to death.jpg
external image 9781931762854.jpg
external image PowerPoint.jpg



Notes:

Marshall McLuhan. (1964) Understanding Media: The extensions of man.

  • "'the medium is the message' because it is the medium that shapes and controls the scale and form of human association and action." McLuhan
  • "There is simply nothing in the Sarnoff statement that will bear scrutiny, for it ignores the nature of the medium, of any and all media" McLuhan
  • "Cubism, by seizing on instant total awareness, suddenly announced that the medium is the message." McLuhan
  • "Any medium has the power of imposing its own assumption on the unwary." McLuhan
  • "It is in our I.Q. testing that we have produced the greatest flood of misbegotten standards. Unaware of our typographic cultural bias, our testers assume that uniform and continuous habits are a sign of intelligence, thus eliminating the ear man and the tactile man." McLuhan
  • "Our conventional response to all media, namely that it is how they are used that counts, is the numb stance of the technological idiot. For the 'content' of a medium is like the juicy piece of meat carried by the burglar to distract the watchdog of the mind." McLuhan
  • "a man is not free if he cannot see where he is going." McLuhan
  • "each of the media is also a powerful weapon with which to clobber other media and other groups." McLuhan
  • "To behold, use or perceive any extension of ourselves in technological form is necessarily to embrace it." McLuhan
  • "It is this continuous embrace of our own technology in daily use that puts us in the Narcissus role of subliminal awareness and numbness in relation to these images of ourselves." McLuhan
  • "Our private and corporate lives have become information processes just because we have put our central nervous systems outside us in electric technology." McLuhan
  • "Owners are aware of the media as power, and they know that this power has little to do with 'content' or the media within the media." McLuhan
  • "The artist picks up the message of cultural and technological challenge decades before its transforming impact occurs." McLuhan
  • "Even slight changes to the environment of the very well adjusted find them without any resource to meet new challenges." McLuhan
  • "from error comes truth; and from poverty, riches, thanks to numbers." McLuhan
  • "the specialist is one who never makes small mistakes while moving toward the grand fallacy." McLuhan
  • "Teachers today frequently find find that students who can't read a page of history are becoming experts in code and linguistic analysis. The problem, therefore, is not that Johnny can't read, but that, in an age of depth involvement, Johnny can't visualize distant goals." McLuhan
  • Once a new technology comes into a social milieu it cannot cease to permeate that milieu until every institution is saturated." McLuhan
  • "Both monocle and camera tend to turn people into things, and the photograph extends and multiplies the human image to the proportions of mass-produced merchandise." McLuhan
  • "Just why Westerners should be disturbed to find that natives have to learn to read pictures, as we learn to read letters, is worth consideration." McLuhan
  • "The extreme bias and distortion of our sense-lives by our technology would seem to be a fact that we prefer to ignore in our daily lives." McLuhan
  • "All media exist to invest our lives with artificial perception and arbitrary values." McLuhan
  • "Real news is bad news—bad news about somebody, or bad news for somebody." McLuhan
  • "all media that mix ads with other programming are a form of 'paid learning.' In years to come, when the child will be paid to learn, educators will recognize the sensational press as the forerunner of paid learning." McLuhan
  • "Failure in perception occurs precisely in giving attention to the program 'content' of our media while ignoring the form, whether it be radio or print or the English language itself." McLuhan
  • "The ads are by far the best part of any magazine or newspaper. More pains and thought, more wit and art go into the making of an ad than into any pros feature of press or magazine." McLuhan
  • "Ads are news. What is wrong with them is they are always good news." McLuhan
  • "press began to sense that news was not only to be reported but also gathered, and, indeed, to be made." McLuhan
  • "Today it is inconceivable that any publication, daily or periodical, could hold more than a few thousand readers without pictures." McLuhan
  • "A work of art has no existence or function apart from its effects on human observers." McLuhan
  • "both Information Theory and Game Theory have bogged down into sterile banalities, but the psychic and social changes resulting from these forms have altered the whole of our lives." McLuhan
  • "Stress on literacy is a distinguishing mark of areas that are striving to initiate that process of standardization that leads to the visual organization of work and space." McLuhan
  • "Print brought in the taste for exact measurement and repeatability that we now associate with science and mathematics." McLuhan
  • "Everybody experiences far more than he understands. Yet it is experience, rather than understanding, that influences behavior, especially in collective matters of media and technology, where the individual is almost inevitably unaware of their effect upon him." McLuhan
  • "Energy and production now tend to fuse information with learning. Marketing and consumption tend to become one with learning, enlightenment, and the intake of information." McLuhan

Neil Postman. (1985). Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

  • In Neil Postman's (1985) Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, Postman points out that the nature of what we consider reliable data sources has changed over time. Once it was that “feeling is believing” then “saying is believing” then “seeing is believing” then “reading is believing” then “deducing is believing” and now “counting is believing.” Postman argues that it is the media driven culture that has reduced our concept of what is believable data to that which can be counted, that which can be objectified and abstracted.


Gerald W. Bracey. (2009). Education Hell: Rhetoric vs. Reality: Transforming the Fire Consuming America's Schools

  • "Testing emerged as a professional endeavor only during World War I. But, hey, lack of data has never stopped any public school basher." Bracey
  • "The criticisms of the early 1950s and the post-Sputnik era were based on perceptions and fear, not data." Bracey
  • "A shift toward using test scores as the ultimate, and perhaps only, instrument to evaluate schools was already in progress when the College Board panel's report appeared. In the mid-1970s, in reaction to open education and Piaget-influenced approaches to education, a number of states had started back-to-basics programs." Bracey
  • "The minimum competency madness was always something of a consumer fraud. The tests failed enough students to satisfy those who had called for them while not burdening the schools with a passel of failing students." Bracey
  • "the minimum competency and back-to-basics movements solidified in the minds of critics, the media—and some parents—the idea that tests, and not teacher-constructed grades, were the objective, scientific, unflinching measure of what students had or had not learned." Bracey
  • "the commission had nine trend lines—three ages by three subjects—only one which could be used to support crisis rhetoric. And that was the only one used." Bracey
  • "No matter what one might think of E. D. Hirsch, Jr.'s contentions overall, when he asserts that you test better on topics you are familiar with, he is irrefutably correct." Bracey
  • "No research shows anything other than test scores predict grades and other test scores." Bracey
  • "Instill enough fear in people and you can control people, to get them to act in something other than their best interests" Bracey
  • "Testing should be a means of learning about individuals, not separating and sorting them." Bracey
  • "I hate to say it, but I think that, within the education profession today, numbers (I.e. test scores) are revered while ideas are suspect." Bracey
  • "Lies unchallenged are lies believed. Just ask John Kerry." Bracey
  • "Sixty years of successful attacks have left public educators so addled that our leaders accept the corrupting ideas and values of those who would destroy us. We have adopted their false language of accountability, standards, profit, privatization, competition, and numbers." Bracey

Tufte, Edward R. (2003). The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint

  • "Alas, slideware often reduced the analytical quality of presentations. In particular, the popular PowerPoint templates (ready-made designs) usually weaken verbal and spatial reasoning, and almost always corrupt statistical analysis." Tufte
  • "PowerPoint is entirely presenter-oriented, and not content-oriented, not audience-oriented." Tufte
  • "to replace serious analysis with chartjunk, over-produced layouts, cheerleader logotypes and branding, and corny clip art. That is PowerPointPhluff." Tufte
  • "The costs result from the cognitive style characteristic of the standard PP presentation: foreshortening of evidence and thought, low spatial resolution, a deeply hierarchical single-path structure as the model for organizing every type of content, breaking up narrative and data into slides and minimal fragments, rapid temporal sequencing of thin information rather than focused spatial analysis, conspicuous decoration and Phluff, a preoccupation with format not content, an attitude of commercialism that turns everything into a sales pitch." Tufte
  • "Impoverished space leads to over-generalizations, imprecise statements, slogans, lightweight evidence, abrupt and thinly-argued claims." Tufte
  • "When information is stacked in time, it is difficult to understand context and evaluate relationships." Tufte
  • "By leaving out narrative between the points, the bullet outline ignores and conceals the casual assumptions and analytic structure of the reasoning." Tufte
  • "Information architectures mimic the the hierarchical structure of the bureaucracy producing those architectures." Tufte
  • "Scientists and engineers--and everyone else for that matter--have communicated about complex matters for centuries without hierarchical bullet outlines." Tufte
  • "PowerPoint will not do for serious presentations. Serious problems require serious tools." Tufte
  • "Thin content leads to boring presentations. To make them unboring, PP Phluff is added, damaging the content, making presentations even more boring, requiring more Phluff..." Tufte
  • "data-thin, forgetful displays tend to make audiences ignorant and passive, and also to diminish the credibility of the presenter." Tufte
  • "the metaphor behind the PowerPoint cognitive style is the software corporation itself. That is, a big bureaucracy engaged in computer programming (deeply hierarchical, nested, highly structured, relentlessly sequential, one-short-line-at-a-time) and in marketing (fast pace, misdirection, advocacy not analysis, slogan thinking, branding, exaggerated claims, marketplace ethics). To describe a software house is to describe the PowerPoint cognitive style." Tufte
  • "A better metaphor for presentations is good teaching. Teachers seek to explain something with credibility, which is what many presentations are trying to do. The core ideas of teaching--explanation, reasoning, finding things out, questioning, content, evidence, credible authority not patronizing authoritarianism--are contrary to the hierarchical market-pitch approach." Tufte
  • "Especially disturbing is the indoctrination of the PowerPoint cognitive style into schools. Instead of writing a report using sentences, children learn how to make client pitches and info-mercials, which is better than encouraging children to smoke." Tufte
  • "Chartjunk is a clear sign of statistical stupidity; use these designs in your presentations and your audience will quickly and correctly conclude that you don't know much about data and evidence." Tufte
  • "there lurks a casual, flippant, almost smirky attitude toward data. That attitude--what counts are power and pitches, not truth and evidence--also lurks within PowerPoint." Tufte
  • "People see, read, and think all the time at intensities vastly greater than those presented in printed PP reports." Tufte
  • "formats, sequencing, and cognitive approach should be decided by the character of the content and what is to be explained, not by the limitations of the presentation technology." Tufte
  • "PowerPoint allows speakers to pretend that they are giving a real talk, and audiences to pretend that they are listening." Tufte