In today’s age there are several different ways of reading text, whether it is printed on paper or viewed online, and these different mediums can change the way a person analyzes what they are reading or viewing. Magazines, for example, have several pictures and articles throughout them, which creates a need for various analytic skills so that the person reading the magazine can interpret what the pictures, articles, and other miscellaneous pieces are trying to say or show. In Marshall McLuhan’s book The Medium is the Massage, there are several similarities when compared to a magazine. One comparison is that they both have a bunch of random pictures scattered throughout. In McLuhan’s book there are several pictures in random areas of the book, but somehow they all tie together if you properly analyze them. McLuhan’s book also had a lot of very random text where it did not seem like it all fit together sometimes, but that is exactly how magazines are, with several different articles about different topics.
The first magazine ever created was back in the 1600s in Germany. The magazine contained news from court events, theater, other publications, and a few other miscellaneous topics. These “periodicals”, as they were referred to at the time, soon were called “magazines”, which comes from an Arabic word meaning warehouse, describing a place where several different items were stored (Nikola 2013). Since the beginning of time magazines have been a source of information for people about all types of news, whether it is entertainment news or serious worldwide news. The magazine has evolved tremendously since the 1600s, and today there is a magazine for every topic, whether its fashion, home improvement, or sports, a person is guaranteed to find a magazine on a topic they are interested in.
There are several different ways to analyze any type of medium. When analyzing a magazine, you have to use several of your senses and create ideas and interpretations for what you are reading or looking at. Magazines are comprised of a large amount of pictures, in fact over half the content of magazines contains pictures. The reader of these magazines must look closely at these pictures and make a conclusion about them, and often times it is just an opinion of yours, for example, you might decide whether a certain person’s outfit is cute or ugly, or if a certain recipe looks like it would be delicious or disgusting, which we are mainly using our sense of sight to make these conclusions. In McLuhan’s book, you also had to interpret the images and decide whether or not you understood what they meant or if you thought they had absolutely nothing to do with the text. Magazines are also comprised of several articles about several different topics. Sometimes the articles are about how a person has overcome a difficult situation in their lives and how it impacted them. These articles really make you think and sometimes even relate, which could help a person cope with a certain past experience, or give them ideas on how to improve in the future. McLuhan’s book had several random paragraphs throughout, but most of the time they seemed out of context or just completely random, not pertaining to any of the photos or previous sections. Magazines and McLuhan’s book are similar in that they both make you use your analytic skills in several different contexts.
Nikola. “History of the Magazines.” Magazine Designing. 26 March 2013. Web. 5 February 2015.