A tribute to and a lament for Marshall McLuhan continues. If he had lived Marshall would have been 100 on July 21, 2011. Join me in the countdown to his centennial, and an exploration of more of his observations on the way media work in the electric age in which we live.

Electric age

How did Russia beat the U.S. into space?

Marshall McLuhan (August 24, 1964, age 53).  They didn’t have a nineteenth century.

The Russians are people of the ear rather than the eye.  They didn’t have an Industrial Revolution.  They went directly from an oral age to an electric age, skipping the mechanical age.  This acted like a sling shot to fire them into space.

Me (February, 2011, age 58).  Again, no wonder his colleagues at Toronto University thought he was nuts.

And on this one I’m inclined to agree with them.  And yet it is a thrilling idea.  And certainly a more entertaining one than, say,  the Soviets were good at engineering and math and not shy of spending resources on a space program their economy couldn’t sustain.

Cordially, Marshall and Me

 

Reading:

David Thompson, “How to learn economics in a rowboat,” Toronto Daily Star, August 24, 1964.


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Michael Hinton Tuesday, February 1st, 2011
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The future of old age.

Marshall McLuhan (December, 1966, age 55).  Dear Diary:

Richard Kostelanetz, who is doing a piece on me for the New York Times, looked in today on my graduate seminar on communications, which I run at Toronto University.  He seemed to particularly enjoy my insights on what the elderly have to look forward to in the electric age.

I find a blunt approach to be effective in slashing through the students’ mental torpor.  “What,” I asked, “is the future of old age?”   The answer is obvious, although you’d never have known it by their faces.  Their silence was deafening.   “Why,” I said, “it’s exploration and discovery.”

Me (December, 2010, age 58).  As we are discovering, more and more, today …

But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3QdGljaxsY&feature=related

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

Richard Kostelanetz, “Understanding McLuhan (In Part),” The New York Times, January 29, 1967.  (“on the web”)

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Michael Hinton Wednesday, December 15th, 2010
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