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Marshall McLuhan described the electronic circuitry revolution and the onset of the Information Age in such strong terms that he was actually booed when addressing an audience at Columbia University.

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They must have thought that he was celebrating the decline of the printed word. He wasn't. McLuhan understood that as we shaped our new media tools, they inevitably shaped us. 

 

In the 50 years since McLuhan's books colonized the night tables of America's advertising executives, most of his predictions have come true. He foresaw an "instantaneous information environment" turning the world into a "global village." McLuhan also predicted the internet:

 

"A computer as a research and communication instrument could enhance retrieval, obsolesce mass library organization, retrieve the individual's encyclopedic function and flip into a private line to speedily tailored data of a saleable kind." -- The Gutenberg Galaxy, 1962

 

McLuhan advised us to consider the effects of the new media languages on all aspects of life. So in these pages we comment on news cycles as well as comedies and dramas. We'll consider devices like Roku and smartphones as well as the content they channel.

 

The role of criticism has also been transformed by emerging media. In the Information Age, everyone's a critic. Sharp analytic skills still count, but we share insights laterally now. Sarris and Kael and O'Connor and Shales no longer shape our tastes from on high. Today's fastest growing major media outlets -- Neflix, Amazon -- incorporate deep, well read customer review sections. Today's critic is a modest helpmate, your spouse, your friend, or some "subject matter expert" whom you consider a trusted advisor.

 

Whether you use television for entertainment, for essential news and information, or just like to bathe in it, we hope these pages help you enjoy it more. We welcome your feedback using the form below.