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.


That rock and roll music!

Marshall McLuhan (December 19, 1973, age 62).  Impossible!

Impossible, that is, in any other language than English.  As I wrote to Mr. Ronni Fiedler, the editor of Harper’s Magazine, in a letter which for some reason he chose not to publish, “For many reasons, which need not be cited here, both jazz and rock are forms of music which have made English a world language, since these forms cannot be sung except in English.”

Me (April, 2011, age 58).  Hail the conquering hero comes!

This was an idea McLuhan also tried out on his fellow guests and the audience – not to mention the host – of the Dick Cavett Show in December 1970 with baffling effect.  Truman Capote utterly rejected the notion.  But then McLuhan was never very interested debating ideas and he soon moved on to another subject.  If you’re still in doubt, perhaps Elvis will help you make up your mind:


Cordially, Marshall and Me


Marshall McLuhan, Letters of Marshall McLuhan, 1987, p. 484.

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Michael Hinton Saturday, April 16th, 2011
Permalink 1970s and 80s, Culture No Comments

John and Yoko and Marshall McLuhan’s theory of dinosaurs

Me (September, 2010, age 58).  Perhaps the most insane of McLuhan’s ideas

In 1969 on the last Saturday before Christmas CBS television arranged for Marshall McLuhan to interview John Lennon and Yoko Ono about their ‘War is Over’ campaign and anything else McLuhan thought they should talk about.  Their wide-ranging discussion took place at Marshall’s office in the Coach House at the University of Toronto and lasted about an hour.  Among other things, they talked about the importance of Elvis in John’s career, Yoko’s contribution to their creative partnership, the cultural differences between Britain and America, and, of course, McLuhan’s explanation for the extinction of the dinosaurs.  I don’t know what John and Yoko thought of McLuhan’s ideas about the dinosaurs, but it must have crossed their minds that this was one seriously crazy dude.  And if so it would be difficult to say they were wrong.

Marshall McLuhan (19 December 1969, age 58).  It’s the frustration!

“Frustration creates bigness.  Frustration releases adrenaline in the system.  Adrenaline creates much bigger muscles and bigger arms and legs … . This is why dinosaurs ended in sudden death, because as the environment became more and more hostile, more and more adrenaline was released into their bodies and they got bigger and bigger and then they collapsed.”


Cordially, Marshall and Me


Read a ‘transcript’ of the interview between John Lennon and Marshall McLuhan


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Michael Hinton Friday, October 15th, 2010
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Culture, Vol. 1 No Comments