In 1966, Russia was cool. The United States was hot. Marshall McLuhan, a leading expert on modern mass communications, explained, "Cool means involvement. Cool used to mean detachment. That is no longer true. A hot media is one of high visual content, of high definiton. The electronic technology is within the gates and we are numb, deaf, blind and mute about its encounter with the Gutenberg technology, on and through which the American way of life was formed." 

Marshall McLuhan told 'United Press International' the decision to communicate by telegram ("hot line") between Washington and Moscow rather than the telephone ("cool, participational" medium) could lead to "monstrous misunderstandings" because the Americans understood the printed word but the Russians the spoken word. 

On the 'NBC Experiment in Television' program in 1967, Marshall McLuhan made known, "The global village is not created by the motor car – or even by the airplane. It's created by instant electronic information movement. Vietnam was the first TV war, and you can see it isn't going down very well, it's too hot. TV is a cool medium and the war is a real hot event." 

Marshall McLuhan also told 'United Press International' in 1966 TV was having tremendous effect on politics, "Elections as we know them are not a permanent part of the human scene. It may become possible to take daily plebiscites by TV – present the facts to 50 million people and have a computerized feedback. We can program 20 more hours of TV in South Africa next week to cool down the tribal temperature raised by radio last week. Radio is the medium for frenzy and it has been the major means of hotting up the tribal blood of Africa, India and China alike. TV has cooled Cuba down, as it is cooling down America." 

Marshall McLuhan maintained, "Electric speed in bringing all social and political functions together in a sudden implosion has heightened human awareness of responsibility to an intense degree. It is this implosive factor that alters the position of the Negro, the teenager and some other groups. They can no longer be contained, in the political sense of limited association. They are now involved in our lives, as we in theirs, thanks to the electric media. 

"That ridiculous criticism of television as a vast wasteland. Why should people complain about what they see on TV when they don't complain about the abysmal things they see about them with their own eyes every day? I don't have a point of view (of what is good and what is bad). I do think it is ridiculous to worry about the population explosion when we are all on the verge of being eradicated. 

"I am interested in survival. I want to be able to navigate – to know what is ahead. I am not a communicator. I am an investigator. I have no message. Discovery is what I am interested in. Whole cultures now could be programmed to keep their emotional climate stable. I don't agree with the thing I am saying. I don't disagree. I don't agree or disagree with McLuhan. I am using them as a probe." 

On reflection, "It is true that there is more material written and printed and read today (in the 1960s) than ever before, but there is also a new electric technology that threatens this ancient technology of literacy built on the phonetic alphabet. Because of its action in extending our central nervous system, electric technology seems to favor the inclusive and participational spoken word over the specialist written word. 

"Our Western values, built on the written word, have already been considerably affected by the electric media or telephone, radio and television. Perhaps that is the reason why many of the highly literate people in our time find it difficult to examine this question without getting into a moral panic. Take the nuclear bomb. It goes around the world like telegraph. It is a world environment of electronic information. It has become the habitat of youngsters. 

"Twelve-year-olds talk about it all the time. Among themselves. It is something their parents did to them. It is not like a thunderstorm – it is something their own parents did to them and they don't understand. They (the businessmen) want predictions of coming changes. I do so by pointing out the changes that are taking place at present." 

Marshall McLuhan believed the automobile, "It is like a dinosaur. The dinosaur reached its greatest size shortly before extinction. We are leaving the world of the wheel and nuts and bolts. You can foresee the fate of the wheel in the action of jet planes which use them for takeoff and then fold them into their bellies." 

Speaking to the 'Fort Collins Coloradoan' back in May 1977, Jean d’Arcy, former chief of UN Radio announced, "In the year 2001 when we look in the Oxford Dictionary for the word 'Broadcasting', we will find it defined as a means of communication used by our ancestry for a short period of time! Fiber optics will completely change the way of communication. I believe that broadcasting in its present form of transmission by airwaves will disappear. 

"We pay too much attention now (in the 1970s) to this present form since it will change totally in our lifetime. What to me is strange is that some 40 years after the launching of TV, we still consider it as foreign to our body. It is not a machine; it is an extension of our own senses, just like a computer is an extension of the brain. It makes no difference if you see it with our own eyes – with or without the aid of a machine. 

"Once we really accept the integration of TV with our own body, many of its effects will have to be reconsidered. With the appearance of new technologies like cable, video discs and cassettes, citizens band radio, direct satellite transmissions, and two-way access to a central computer, each individual is a personal communications terminal ... A self-medium." 

Marshall McLuhan made the point in 1977, "On the phone, on X-ray, or on the airwaves, we don’t have bodies. The electric man has been deprived of his physical body and he has been metamorphized into an image. This rip-off of the physical being has had the most awful effects on human identity. TV is an inner trip, a drug. Not just figuratively speaking. The way you see TV is by going inside the tube. TV uses the eye as an ear, an extension of our central nervous system. 

"TV is by its very nature addictive – but so are any of the specialist media that intensify sensory life. It is a normal part of the media experience. Now, all of that measuring and quantifying of TV programming is left hemisphere (of the bicameral brain) and has almost nothing to do with the ordinary experience of our electric age, which is all right hemisphere. Yes, the electric age has shifted us from left to right hemisphere by comparison with the left. The organizational chart cannot exist at the speed of life. So, everything we call efficient organization in America is in great danger. The post office, for instance, has turned Oriental…" 

Paul Klein had worked in broadcasting told reporter Arthur Unger in 1977 he accepted the "global village" concept that TV would turn the world into one big community of people sharing the same experiences (or programs) very often at the same moment. "People look for TV programs that will justify the amount of time they devote to it. If they don’t find such programs they will say programming is inferior, a waste of time, too violent or whatever. But they find something which justifies their viewing – even if it contains a lot of violence and sex.

"For instance, you'll find people saying that 'Charlie's Angels' is a great example of high camp on a mass medium. They over-endow a simple little show all the time, just to justify their watching it. 'M*A*S*H' – superb comedy but a nice little funny show. 'Columbo', 'Starsky & Hutch', 'Kojak' – they're so cute, if you watch dumb programs, you try to endow them with excellence.

"I don't (justify putting on those programs). That's why I'm such a lousy executive. I can't program for my own taste level. My tastes are limited – they don't encompass the whole nation. Just recently I had two programs on that reflected my own taste level – 'La Boheme' and 'Godzilla'. You've got to program for other people. When a TV executive says he programs for himself, it's sheer unadulterated baloney. That's the kind of thing you say to reporters. The truth is you program for business.

"Even television should lead to quality – but that's inching toward your demise. You've got to face the fact that TV is a mass medium and you can only play for the big middle. The dummies go in and watch what there is and you are forced into watching below your own taste unless you are willing not to partake at all. You program for the two-thirds in the middle and the rest is split between the top and the bottom, who are forced to watch.

"And you never satisfy anybody really – even on the fringes of the big middle. I suppose you try to improve the level – but the seeds of destruction are there as you program more and more sophisticated stuff, more and more event television, as you get bigger and bigger you build in more dissatisfaction. As the technology gets better, you get to be another medium. Out of radio comes TV, and, finally, the only way to pay for that is not through advertising but through direct payment. That will come.

"We've eaten up all the other media. We now face competition from a fourth network, which will be nine different little networks combined into one unit. That network will reduce all the program audience and all four networks will look around for some other market and discover ten years too late that they can go into direct cable transmission, not as owners – that’s illegal – but as distributors. I think the telephone company should own the cable system.

"Let me assure you – they (the networks) are, no matter what they say, they want to be in both commercial and cable TV in any way they can. I don't believe there is such a thing as TV addiction. I believe there is a human condition called irresponsibility. Somehow people cannot go through their life being responsible – so when they break down it takes the form of smoking, drinking, drug-taking, not working, not living up to potential, watching TV.

"It happens to be the easiest form of irresponsibility to watch TV. That’s why so many people are hooked. Media are very easy to become addicted to, but anybody who becomes addicted to TV would become addicted to any other medium – radio, movies, press … Selective viewing is imagination. Either you have other things to do and therefore have a limited time to watch TV, or in your head, you selected. Everybody is selective. They select 'Laverne & Shirley' or 'Charlie's Angels'. The only way to select 'La Boheme' is to be there at the opera and watch it. Otherwise, you are watching what the networks show you."

Marshall McLuhan told the 'Chicago Tribune' in 1966, advertising was "the biggest entertainment of our time. Ads that affect you are like your environment. Successful advertising is like water to fish. Advertising men don't know the ingredients of successful ads when they create them. They can tell only when the ad has been around long enough to be recognized and commented upon. By then it has outlived its usefulness. We don't become conscious of it until it's old – like old movies.

"That's why anyone who collects responses to advertising is barking up the wrong tree. This is why I contend that people who say they never look at ads are the ones who are most at the mercy of advertising. The only protection against anything is paying attention. Otherwise you may end up saying 'I didn't know it was loaded.' There is no question whether advertising is good or bad. It is like asking is foot a good thing. No matter what you believe it is very much with us.

"Advertising plays a role in society something like that of the medieval jester. It makes apparent society’s foibles at a particular time. Thus humor is very difficult to use in advertising. If not used carefully, the conscious quality of the advertising will break through. Ad people would rather be regarded as a threat. They have no defense against praise.

"Actually what they produce was never intended to be noticed. It will make possible a kind of dietary prescription of how best to reach various countries and various groups within the population. It may be possible to say, for example, that Ghana needs more pictorial protein, or that another kind of advertising will work best for Indonesians."

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