the medium is the massage

yes yes.. of course it is.. how long have people denied the communicative potential of intimate space, the voicing of touch, the evocation of desire, lust and narcissism all kneaded into soft, orgasmic dough.  Indeed the massage is one of the most sensual of experiences that connects both the masseur and the massaged in a tingling vine of physical, psychological, and spiritual well being.

But you knew that wasn what i was talking about.  The title forementioned was a typographical error apparently from a publishing house called Bantam that mistook an E for an A in the original title “The Medium is the Message” – the McLuhan dictum that should have titled the 1967 art cult classic created by Marshall himself, and graphic designer Quentin Fiore.  Instead we have a interesting book title which matches its esoteric content.

Well, massages are the way of the world now, spas and beauty centres litter the shopping centres not only with their opulent spaces often out of place, but also literally with their endless piles of advertisement brochures and print outs.  They seem to be everywhere, which to a stress ridden society like Singapore, it just means one less problem to bog down their minds.  

The influence of the massage (a romanticized assumption i apologize for), or for the whole industry of service and welfare supervision in general, can be said to have generated significant effect in the cultural developments of civilised society in terms of the evolution of slave/master status symbols to patient/doctor ones based more on a meritorious transaction of labour, and has invited jobs that are developed not more towards financial gain than customer satisfaction.

So the medium holds the content, and in this case the faculty of service is the enveloping zona pellucida of all individual acts of kindness spanning all the way from manicures to clinical consultation, of which the massage is one.  It is pretty simple to understand McLuhan’s dictum here, where the medium embeds itself within the message, and the emphasis on the psychic effects and social implications of  the industry obviously outweighs its analogous goal in content.  He explains the difference in terms of human association, where only the medium is able to effect change in the scale and form of human association – whereas the content is unable to do any damage whatsoever.  He goes on to say that even if the message was communicative and effectual in its nature, it was only because “the content of any medium is always another medium” (8), so where massage is concerned, touch is the next-rung medium in the hierarchy of a communicative system.  

Very important in Media, apparently, this statement, because a study of any content would always yield the perception of a new medium which is loaded in its sociological and cultural impact.  Although he does assume that every medium must have a message.  What about a message-less medium?  In media that is also an oxymoron since the most innocuous, static images still have a dense modal core, and even the slowest moving images are the aesthetic result of generative, sequential coding.  

how about noise?.. Noise by definition is the opposite of sound and thus can be said to be non-informative.  But thats another topic altogether. 


One comment

  1. “The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.”- Paulo Coelho

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