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June 27, 1966


JAMA. 1966;196(13):1152. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100260090030

In a recent British science-fiction satire by Robert F. Young,1 automobile corporations of the 21st century succeed in convincing people that cars are extensions of the human body. Commenting on the ease with which this feat of brainwashing has been achieved, one of the characters remarks: "People have been wearing their cars unconsciously all their lives."

If to the English satirist the notion of automobiles as extensions of people is merely a spoof on the growing power of advertising, it is a conceptual reality to Prof Marshall McLuhan of Toronto. In his widely discussed book,2 the Canadian thinker contends that much of what we use to extend our senses and faculties become extensions of ourselves, which often determine what we are or do. For example, clothes are more than mere protective or ornamental devices; they are extensions of our skins, and, in a truer sense than is usually supposed,

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