- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (July 15 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312190883
- ISBN-13: 978-0312190880
- Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 1.1 x 23.4 cm
- Shipping Weight: 635 g
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,094,184 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Electric Language: Understanding the Message Paperback – Jul 1 1998
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Top customer reviews
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June 2, 2001
Sorry, I just don't get it. This book is a long poetic essay about writing styles in the electronic age (I think). It's rather experimental in format and probably couldn't have been published by someone without a famous name. Open it to the table of contents, and you find a page half in pale orange and half in neon green, with white double-grid lines across the page, sort of in a plaid pattern. The table of contents itself is only in one typeface (2 sizes) a remarkable phenomenon in this book. As for the content of the writing, it touches on topics such as virtual reality, teleconferencing, the split of Serbo-Croatian, writing systems of the world, new styles of writing, and synesthesia. If you like reading long-winded philosophical essays written as graphic arts experiments, then this book is for you.
August 3, 1998
Look out, all you stuffed academics, all you jaded media types, all surfers caught in a web: McLuhan is back, or rather his son. This latest volume brings the McLuhan canon up to the present and centers on electric media. Amid the extraordinary graphics waits the expected compressed McLuhanesque prose; at first a distraction to one comfortable with a plain page and plain text, the graphics slow the rapid reader down to spend more time on each sentence. The ground of the whole is of course all of literature, from Homer to Joyce, supported by the usual mix of science and anthropology. This is no eulogy for literacy a la Birketts, and no wandering lament at declining civility a la Sanders. McLuhan describes the current malaise and gives the reader tools for understanding it, and maybe even stepping apart from it. But be discreet; the electric crowd is not very tolerant of outliers.
September 16, 1998
Let's try this again. This book seems especially pertinent after the Starr report and its resultant cultural hangover. The issue is the utter loss of consensus at what constitutes the boundary of public and private behavior under the influence of electric media; and where there is no consensus, there is no privacy. America, once the bastion of individualism and private identity, is sick with the mixing of public and private things, perhaps the final gasp of literate detachment, and a clear sign of the corporate identity McLuhan predicted two decades ago. This book offers insight and playfulness as an anti-toxin.
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