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 at the crystal ball.

Marshall McLuhan (February 25, 1965, age 54).  What’s in and what’s out.

“Professor McLuhan, how can you say, clotheslines, seams in stockings, books and jobs are all obsolete?

“Clotheslines, seams in stockings, books and jobs are all obsolete.”

“Seriously now, isn’t that a clothesline I see in your backyard?  Isn’t your current celebrity based on books?”

“Jane, these predictions follow from a close observation of the electric age in which we now live.  Everything is in flux.  But if you don’t like them, it doesn’t matter.  Here’s another.  Everything you thought you knew about children and their role in society is changing.  For example, one day it will be a commonplace for children to have credit cards.”

“Really, an American Express Card for little Bobby?”

“Well, if you don’t like that idea …”

Me (September, 2010, age 58).  What do you make of those apples?

These are just some of the predictions that showed up in the Life Magazine profile article on Marshall McLuhan by Jane Howard that I talked about yesterday.  Squint and they all seem bang on.  The question is what can we learn from them today?  Perhaps that any one as perceptive as this is still worth listening to.

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading

Jane Howard, “Oracle of the Electric Age,” Life Magazine, 25 February 1965, p. 92 and 96.

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Michael Hinton Thursday, September 9th, 2010
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Business, Culture, Vol. 1 No Comments

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