McLuhan: fish swim in their medium


March 19, 2013 by Welcome to the Jungle

marshall-mcluhanMarshall McLuhan
By Dawson H.
The quote from Marshall McLuhan that I chose to do for this analysis was, “A fish does not realize its medium until that water changes through adding ink or poisons”. I chose to do this quote because I think it is very deep with its meaning but also at the same time it is talking about a basic topic.
My literal interpretation of this quote is that Marshall McLuhan is calling the medium of the fish the water, but the fish does not realize that the water is its medium until it changes, like he said by changing color with ink, or its medium becomes dangerous for the fish with the addition of poison. What I think the deeper meaning of this quote is McLuhan is trying to say that humans much like the fish are very oblivious to important things that are going on around them. For example for a very long time humans were very oblivious to our environment deteriorating around us, so much like poison being added to the water of the fish humans did not realize that our environmental medium was changing until it started to change for the worst. I think what he also meant was that the medium does not always have to change for the worse, it is not always poison being added to the water; sometimes the ink that is changing the medium is not always a bad thing. To give a real life example a subtle change that has been happening over a long period of time is how we have moved into communicating through technology as opposed to mail, we are now realizing that our medium of communication has changed and it has changed for the better so the ink has been added to our water but it is not a bad thing.
This quote is easily related to media studies with the concept of mediums changing unnoticed until absolutely necessary. I would compare this to all the ads that people see throughout the day and most of the time people just internalizing these messages subconsciously without really giving them much thought. However once someone sees an advertisement that either they really like or that they have a problem with then they start to actually give that advertisement some thought. So the ads are a medium of media communication and humans don’t realize that the medium is changing until they see something they like or something they dislike. However that is something that I believe the media wants you to do the media wants to change your medium in order to get your attention and your viral marketing. Even if you give an advertisement a bad review you are still talking about it and the more people talk about an add the more exposure it has to a greater variety of people that may find the same add agreeable, this is the same case when someone sees an add that they enjoy. The media wants to change our mediums with their advertisements they don’t want consumers just to be fish swimming obliviously in water, they want us to be aware of the ink and the poison that is put in our water by the media.

3 thoughts on “McLuhan: fish swim in their medium

  1. Alex Kuskis says:

    I can find nothing on this blog that tells me what FHS stands for. Using Google, my best guess is Fredericton High School. Am I right? My congratulations if this is a student effort.

    • Fredericton High School. Fredericton NB, CANADA. Five hours north of LL Bean’s famous store in Maine. Twelve hours drive due east of Toronto.
      You might have missed the Front Page, which identifies us. Please read more of the students’ work.

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