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.

Happy New Year Marshall McLuhan!

Marshall McLuhan (December 31. 1980, age 69).  What a night!

Tonight was a good night.  Father Stroud said Mass.  We had a good French burgundy for communion.  Later when we finished the burgundy with dinner there was champagne and Father Stroud and I watched the news on TV with cigars lit.  I must say it was a great way to end the year.  Of course, as you know, I cannot speak or write for that matter. (Except on this blog.  Thank God for small if fictional mercies!)  This damn stroke has shut me down and got me down.  Corinne pointed to my Order of Canada and told Father Stroud it is the thing I am most proud of.  That’s not true, but it’s not like I can speak up to correct her.  I do like it.  But the thing I am proudest of is …

Me (January 2010, age 57).  When did Marshall McLuhan die?

Marshall McLuhan died on the night of December 31, 1980.  He went up stairs to bed after Mass, wine, dinner, and cigars and by all reports died peacefully in his sleep.  That was the end of his life, but in a way it was not a particularly important event because in more significant ways he had died twice before already:  the second time on the 26 September 1979 when he suffered a stroke that took away his power to speak, read, and write; the first time on the 25 November 1967 when he underwent a long and difficult surgery to remove a brain tumor.  McLuhan survived the surgery but not, I believe, his genius.  I do not say this lightly or without much soul searching and researching. In the months ahead I will make a case that this tragic event is the single most important biographical event in McLuhan’s life.  Because if it is true, and there is a strong case to be made that it is true, it means that to understand McLuhan you must pay particular attention to things he said and wrote before 25 November 1967.  And you must be careful to discount much of what he said or wrote after 25 November 1967.

Consider this a hint of things to come over the months ahead rather than an announcement that the end is here. Before signing off let me hasten to say this is not the end of McLuhan or this blog.  We and the world are not yet done with Marshall McLuhan.

What do you think Marshall McLuhan was most proud of? What do you think he should have been most proud of?

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading for this post

Philip Marchand, Marshall McLuhan: The medium and the messenger, 1989, p.p. 286-288.

Tags: , ,

Michael Hinton Thursday, January 7th, 2010
Permalink 1970s and 80s, Vol. 1 No Comments

Leave a Reply