Learn the Theory Through Key Words

In the MIT Press Edition of Understanding Media, Lewis H· Lapham lists the key words of the culture developed from Printing media and Digital media by concluding McLuhan’s work and his personal understanding. Such word tables reminds me of another famous table makes by Hassan. In Hassan’s work of “Toward a Concept of Postmodernism”, he gives a table of key words of modernism and postmodernism draws on the idea of many different fields.

It is understandable to find some correlation between these two tables as Lapham defines the printing media being part of modern culture while the digital media is put into the postmodernism  part. Even though I am a hundred percent agree with neither the idea of McLuhan and Latham or the idea of Hassan, I can still see some relations here that deserves digging into, which may help me understand both the media and the postmodernism content.

A question I would like to cite here is that, if the grand narrative is breaking up, does the development of media work on the deconstruction? As the society and technology interacts with each other and shapes each other,electrical media being “discontinues” and “contracted” and the innocence of people being involved in the electrical media seem to be account for that deconstruction. However, shouldn’t the group therapy, the chorus of electrical media culture help building up the grand narrative?

From modernism (Phallic) to postmodernism (polymorphous/ androgynous), from printing (heterosexual) to electric (polymorphous), such a parallel, from my perspective, has once explained by Joshua Meyrowitz in his work, No Sense of Place: The Impact of Electronic Media on Social Behavior. Electrical media blur the boundary of male and female, the sense of gender is somehow weaken which enables a tendency of androgynous.

One of a typical postmodern process is the development of mass art, the popular art which from my perspective, is certainly boosted by the development of new electrical media.

It is a pity that I am still not expertise neither in the field of modernism and postmodernism nor in the field of media theory. There are still a lot of key words contained in the tables work nonsense to me. But I think make full us of the table and analyze them together can be really good way for me to get into both of the two subject.