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.

Pearls before swine?

Marshall McLuhan (May 14, 1969, age 57) Appalling!

Just got back from the Bilderberg Conference.  If I had known that the participants understood so little about the electric world in which we live I would never have agreed to speak.  As I told Prince Bernard of the Netherlands, who was a splendidly urbane host, only artists see the world as it is the rest – and I include the delegates to the Conference in this less than august company – see it as it was thirty years ago.  The shocking thing is that these are the people who are running our world.

Me (April 2010, age 57)   In every way!

McLuhan’s performance at Bilderberg was one of his worst.  And he was not invited back.  Apparently the delegates, who included such political heavy weights as Robert MacNamara, George Ball, and Dean Rusk, did not appreciate McLuhan’s “foul language.”  It is also likely that the delegates found that what McLuhan had to say foully expressed or not as insulting and incomprehensible.  For example here are three ideas McLuhan brought to the delegates attention:

(1)    By 1830 the Industrial Revolution had made England a communist state;

(2)    Today thanks to advertising we live in communist states; and

(3)    Given the above why the hell is America fighting communism.


Is there anything more to these particular ideas than a peculiar sort of word association?  (Communism is defined to be a world in which an abundance of material wealth is found.)


Cordially, Marshall and Me


Reading for this post

Letters of Marshall McLuhan, 1987, pp. 372-73 and 531.

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Michael Hinton Tuesday, April 27th, 2010
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Communication, Vol. 1 No Comments

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