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.

Lucky, I’m so lucky

Marshall McLuhan (December 1968, age 57).  I’ve got this thing about the number 3.

My new agent Matie Molinaro is working out splendidly.  You wouldn’t believe the liberties people were taking with my radio interviews and TV and film appearances.  She is making sure my good name is protected and my wish is her delight.  An arrangement in which I assure you I delight.  For instance, Matie didn’t bat an eye when I asked her to make sure that when she enrolled me in ACTRA that my membership number was divisible by three.  You see, I am a firm believer that the number 3 and numbers divisible by three are lucky.  If they’re not then why am I so lucky?

Me (January 2010, age 57).  The rule of 3.

There is no doubt that Marshall McLuhan believed that the number 3 and numbers divisible by 3 are lucky.  He arranged his life to surround himself with these lucky numbers.  For example, he had 6 children, the Coach House, the home of his Centre for Culture and Technology was at 39A Queen’s Park Crescent East, and there are 33 chapters in his best selling Understanding Media.   Not surprisingly, his rule for determining whether a book is worth reading is to peruse page 69 – a number divisible by 3 both in whole and in its parts.  If that page is enlightening then the book is worth reading.

Superstitions are notoriously difficult to shake.  If 3 and numbers divisible by 3 are so lucky, and Marshall McLuhan surrounded himself with them, then you might well ask:  Why was he so unlucky when it came to his health, suffering from repeated strokes, a brain tumor, and, in the last 18 months (a number divisible by 3) of his life, aphasia?  The answer, of course, is that but for the presence of 3 things would have been much worse.

How superstitious are you?  If you are superstitious how much effort do you make to insure the Gods are on your side?  Is it just a coincidence that this blog closes with 3 questions?

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading for this post

Matie Armstrong Molinaro. “Marshalling McLuhan,” in Marshall McLuhan: The Man and His Message.  Edited by George Sanderson and Frank Macdonald. Golden, Colorado: Fulcrum, 1989, pp. 81-88.

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Michael Hinton Saturday, January 30th, 2010
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Business, Culture, Vol. 1 No Comments

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