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.

Reading yesterday’s newspaper.

Marshall McLuhan (1964, age 52).  Think about it.

One day’s paper is much like another.  Shootings, car crashes, foreign wars.   Stock markets up or down.  House prices stable or uncertain.  The home team wins or loses.  Nevertheless to suddenly realize that the paper you are reading “is not today’s is a disconcerting experience.”

Me (November, 2010, age 58).  Have you ever done this?

On Sunday I was in a restaurant for breakfast.  On my way to a booth I picked up what I thought was the front section of Saturday’s newspaper sitting abandoned at a table near the cash.  Waiting for my coffee I leafed through the news when suddenly I realized it was Friday’s not Saturday’s paper.  Up until that moment I had been entertained and diverted.  Now my interest in the paper was gone and I felt deflated, foolish, and cheated.  McLuhan says the dateline of a paper is its vital organizing principle.  To find yourself reading yesterday’s (or in my case the day before yesterday’s) news is like discovering that a memoir you have enjoyed reading is a fraud.  Fiction dressed as fact.  Being conned into buying a fake Rolex.

Cordially, Marshall and Me



Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media, 1964, p. 212.

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Michael Hinton Wednesday, November 24th, 2010
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Communication, Vol. 1 No Comments

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