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.

McLuhan in a box?

Marshall McLuhan (February, 1967, age 55).  Undignified!  Not professorial!

Quentin Fiore tells me that Aspen Magazine is wild about putting me in one of their boxes.  I am the subject of their next issue, issue number 4, the McLuhan editionCorinne will be amused.  The graduate school – I am sure – will not.  This will give the Profs at Toronto University a fit.  I can hear them now.  Pure Commercialism! Undignified!  Not professorial!  Well that’s their look out.

For each issue Aspen’s editors assemble a mix of recordings, posters, essays and whatnot playing on a particular theme.  “Magazine” you know is a very interesting word.  It means a storehouse, a cache, typically for explosives.  This issue is undoubtedly going to result in fireworks.  The last one was on Warhol.  This one’s on me.    Haven’t seen it yet, but I will.  Perhaps next Sunday.

Me (February, 2010, age 57):  A 1960s time capsule.

Aspen Magazine, the brain child of Phyllis Johnson, a former editor for Women’s Wear Daily and Advertising Age began publication in 1965 and ceased publication in 1971.  U.S. Subscribers paid $12.95 a year for 4 quarterly issues and Canadians $14.95.  For this somewhat princely sum (Look or Life, popular 26-issue-a-year magazines, at this time cost Americans $5.00 a year and Canadians $5.50) the subscribers received a multi-media, extravaganza of visual, oral, and tactile delights. For us, viewing it today it is both a 1960s time capsule and time machine.

The McLuhan edition which arrived at the subscriber’s door in the spring of 1967 in a hinged box (9-½ by 12-½ by ¾ inches) decorated with an electronic circuit board and containing:

Is there a market for something like Aspen Magazine today?  How much do you think such a magazine would cost today? (In today’s money – adjusting for inflation – an American annual subscription of $12.95 would be worth $68.83, and a Canadian subscription of $14.95 would be worth $79.46 – amazing value for money) Do you know of any library, centre, or museum that has a copy of the Aspen McLuhan edition?

Cordially, Marshall and Me

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Michael Hinton Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Communication, Culture, Vol. 1 4 Comments

4 Comments to McLuhan in a box?

  • Deborah Hinton says:

    Thanks to the Canadian Centre for Architecture [www.cca.qc.ca] here in Montreal. Last week’s Curator’s Talk: The UbuWeb Archive [www.ubu.com] with the UbuWeb founder Kenneth Goldsmith was where we first heard about Aspen Magazine and subsequently discovered the McLuhan connection. Yes all roads really do lead to Marshall. Just ask Michael [and me]…

  • Steffen Boddeker says:

    This is an interesting quarterly; collectively, a sort of time capsule of the art of our time:

  • Steffen Boddeker says:

    Also see UBU web for a great online archive of Aspen


  • In response to your post, I have a Near Fine copy of the Mcluhan issue of Aspen. The contents are complete and look as if they’ve never been looked through. All of the original ads are there still in their envelope. If this is of interest to anyone do not hesitate to contact me. lessergonzalezalvarez@gmail.com

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