Saturday, September 5, 2009

"The Medium is the Massage" message

Check out the listing of Marshall McLuhan's iconic The Medium is the Message. This particular printing turns the word "message" into "massage" not just on the cover but the back jacket as well. The Amazon reviewers don't seem to notice. The error continues in their postings.

WTF? How does a publisher screw up the title of so famous a book? And why aren't reviewers LOLing all over this goof?

McLuhan is likely rolling in his grave. Or perhaps he'd say, "told you so."

Hat-tip to The Last Psychiatrist. I agree with him, that there's something creepy in an Orwellian sense here. People in touch with the past are supposed to pipe up and correct the present when it gets the past so wrong. The continuity of the historic record keeps us grounded in reality. It keeps us sane.


  1. This has always been the title of the book since it was originally published in the 60's. McLuhan coined Medium is the Message, but titled the book "Massage", twisting one of his "probes" into a pun as he was wont to do.

  2. Thanks for correcting me, David.

    So when the last psychiatrist wrote, "McLuhan wrote The Medium Is The Message but due to a printing error, it came out Massage. Proving his point..." he's talking about a a printing error with the first edition in the 1960s. Or there was no error; McLuhan just made a pun, as you say, and TLP is just taking the piss, as he is wont to do.

  3. I see the wiki entry for the book attributes "massage" as a printer's mistake on the first printing according to McLuhan's son Eric. I gotta say this is news to me (embarrassing for sure, as I work for the current publisher of the work, Gingko Press.) Stay tuned.