In 1969 Marshall McLuhan observed that "today we live invested with an electric information environment that is quite as imperceptible to us as water is to a fish." He was convinced that the new electronic media shape not only the information they convey but also our very consciousness and that in order to actually perceive this a counter environment is needed.

To demonstrate his point McLuhan wrote Counterblast. More a manifesto than a book, Counterblast is a typographically explosive compilation of short essays and probes (complex ideas compressed into a few thought-provoking words), all of which focus on the effects of media on the human condition. It could be seen as a compilation of bold headlines and it is hauntingly prescient, as this superbly reproduced facsimile of the original edition will affirm.

In true McLuhan style the title 'COUNTERBLAST' is a play on the word 'BLAST,' the name given to a magazine designed by Wyndham Lewis in 1914 and the first publication ever to be set in heavy headline type, albeit in the face of enormous resistance from the London printing establishment who considered it anti-literary. McLuhan never wanted Counterblast to be perceived as literature, but rather a series of headlines as icons.

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BLAST (magazine)

BLAST was the short-lived literary magazine of the Vorticist movement in Britain. It had two editions, the first published on 2 July 1914 and the second a year later. Written primarily by the Anglo-American artist Wyndham Lewis and covered by a notorious pink cover referred to by Ezra Pound as the "great MAGENTA cover'd opusculus", the magazine has become famous as emblematic of the first modern art movement in England, and is now recognised as one of the seminal texts of 20th-century modernism. The magazine originally cost 2/6.

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music: Sufjan Stevens - Out of Egypt, Into the Great Laugh of Mankind, and I Shake the Dirt From My Sandals as I Run,+Into+the+Great+Laugh+of+Mankind,+and+I+Shake+the+Dirt+From+My+Sandals+as+I+Run

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