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.

How to know if you’re a celebrity

Marshall McLuhan (October 1970, age 59).  They name a cocktail after you

Marshall, look at this!  A Mr. and Mrs. Greg Frasier of San Francisco have written you to say they’ve named a cocktail after you.

For heaven sake, Corinne, what’s it called?

The “McLuhan Cocktail,” of course.  Here’s the recipe.  “Ingredients:  1 oz. Irish whiskey; ½ oz. dry Vermouth; ¼ oz. sweet Vermouth; Fresh lime twist.  Combine ingredients and stir gently with cracked ice.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Add twist of lime.”  They say it’s “a cool cocktail for the entire global village.  With the McLuhan, the mixture is the message.”

Me (August, 2010, age 58).  Indeed they did.

The “McLuhan Cocktail,” celebrating Marshall’s Irish roots, appears in the Zodiac Cookbook, 1970, which was sent to McLuhan as a gift.  The letter accompanying the cookbook explains:

“Enclosed is a copy of the ZODIAC COOKBOOK by my wife and myself, which we hope you will accept with our compliments.  Your attention is drawn to page 27.

I am a graduate student in broadcasting at San Francisco State College, and as such became interested in your writings.  I wanted to give you a copy of the book personally at your recent lecture on October 18 at the University of San Francisco, but you left so quickly I didn’t get the chance.

We hope you and your wife enjoy our book – the McLuhan.

Bon appétit!

Greg Frazier”

Perhaps the best way to appreciate the extent of McLuhan’s celebrity in the late 1960s and the animosity that celebrity caused him today is to make yourself a pitcher of “McLuhans”.  It is difficult to imagine a professor today, at Toronto or anywhere else, being an inspiration for a cocktail.

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading

Philip Marchand, Marshall McLuhan: The Medium and the Message, 1989, 231.

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Michael Hinton Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Culture, Vol. 1 No Comments

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