Kim H. Veltman and Gys Nijeholt1

McLuhan’s Oppositions and the Internet

Written Spring 1996. Unpublished.

In his Understanding Media (1964), Marshall McLuhan made a number of between print and electronic media. Lewis Lapham, in his introduction to the new edition of Understanding Media (1994) added a parallel list of differences between citizen and nomad (figure 1).

If McLuhan and Lapham were right then one might expect that each of these oppositions would generate an equal number of hits on the Internet. A search for McLuhan’s terms on 17 January 1996 using four leading search engines at the time, namely Opentext, Lycos, Webcrawler and yahoo showed that this was not the case (Appendix 1). Indeed of the 15 oppositions with respect to print-electronic media there no pair was close with respect to its numbers using the Opentext, Lycos or Webcrawler. The one exception was Yahoo which showed a precise match of 128 hits for both mathematical and its opposition organic.

Read full article