A tribute to and a lament for Marshall McLuhan.  Five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday, I present one of McLuhan’s observations and talk about its relevance today.  300 ideas. 300 days.  300 posts.


Marshall McLuhan (April 11, 1974, age 62).  Bad vibes?

You wouldn’t believe it.  Two months ago, when our youngest daughter Elizabeth was about to be married and the house was full of guests, the water main burst.  Now, just as the water main is being replaced at home and the lawn is completely dug up, we’ve had to replace the water main at the Coach House – which as you know is my office at Toronto University and the Center for Culture and Technology.  What’s next?  Thank God I don’t have a cottage.

Me (May 2010, age 57).  Coincidence?

Two water mains in the same year?  Bad luck?  Bad vibes?  Coincidence?  Certainly uncomfortable.  Someone once told me that when they lived in Kingston (Ontario) they lived on Montreal Road, but when they moved to Montreal (Quebec) they wound up living on Kingston Road.


What coincidences – comfortable or uncomfortable – come to mind for you?


Cordially, Marshall and Me


Reading for this post

Letters of Marshall McLuhan, 1987, pp. 490, 491, and 496.

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Michael Hinton Wednesday, May 12th, 2010
Permalink 1970s and 80s, Culture, Vol. 1 3 Comments

3 Comments to Coincidence.

  • Michael Edmunds says:

    Three years ago Wayne Constantineau was trying to pull together his life’s work with the terrible understanding that his cancer would soon end his life. He and I were at the Coach House on a Saturday morning meeting with two men from the University of Kentucky. The occasion was their interest in Wayne’s work on his breakthrough understanding of what he called the ‘modes of action’ –a continuation (a prequel really) he felt of McLuhan’s Laws of Media. But my story isn’t about that…
    Wayne was getting rid of his possession including his McLuhan materials. He had brought down for me a package of Xeroxed articles by Art Hurst. Dr Hurst was interested in literacy and learning, their associations with crime and collaborated with McLuhan on these matters. To give you an idea of Hurst’ importance he had at one point addressed the UN on the urgency to address learning problems to ensure economic security. Art Hurst is a key figure in the McLuhan world.

    Wayne gave me the package and we moved to interviewing him when the CH phone rang.
    I answered and was greeted by a frail voice on the other end who was obviously taken aback that the phone had actually been answered. It was Art Hurst! So there I was Art in my ear and Art in my eye!
    We were cordial and I gave him an update re: the Program (!!!) and rang off. Because of the circumstances with my dying friend I may not have paid as much attention to Art as I might have. Wayne and I were able to share this happening together at the time and over the remaining months of his life. I spent a lot of time at the Coach House and Art Hurst was not a regular caller. But on that day he called and I was there to answer. I classify this as both comfortable and uncomfortable.

  • Michael Hinton says:

    Thanks for this Michael. A fascinating and I imagine a somewhat disturbing coincidence.

    Philip Marchand talks about Hurst in his biography of McLuhan. Says McLuhan first met Hurst, an optometrist, in 1962 and was very interested in Hurst’s research on the relationship between “vision and reading achievement.” Hurst believed McLuhan was onto something with the idea that watching TV could produce dyslexia, and McLuhan did what he could to promote Hurst’s research.

  • Michael Edmunds says:

    You may be aware of the fact that McLuhan talked lot about dyslexia when I was around in the late 70’s He (without guile) claimed that jumping on a trampoline would cure it or sometime rolling down a hill. Hurst btw was into juvenile delinquency and felt that learning disabilities were at its core or perhaps more correctly at its cure.

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