Marshall McLuhan

“The medium is the message.”

McLuhan was also a punster, to wit:

“The medium is the mess-age.”

“The medium is the mass-age.”

“The medium is the massage.”

The medium is the message means that the content carrier (TV, movie, newspapers, etc.) frames the content such that the content is distorted, sometimes to the point it is unrecognizable by the content producer. The medium is the message is like the game of Chinese Whispers, things from the mouth sound different than from the source.

The medium is the mess-age implies that the same content viewed from different medium can be so differently perceived that the content is confused, a mess.

The medium is the mass-age means that there is a very large number of medium conveying the same content.

The medium is the massage means that the medium focuses on relieving the pain or stress of the viewer more than delivering content. That is, frame the content to make the viewer content.

Moreover, on a personal level, the medium is often more the focus of our attention than the message they provide us. For example, a spiritual leader is often celebrated more than the message they deliver. When we awaken, we realize the medium is not the message.