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.

Classify Marshall McLuhan: A contest

Marshall McLuhan (Summer 1968, age 57). I reject all attempts to classify me

As I might have mentioned earlier, talking with Norman Mailer on CBC’s “The Summer Way” the other day, was like wrestling with a dark angel.  He kept trying to classify me, pin me down, put me in a Cartesian square.  But that’s the nineteenth century speaking.  I am not a square peg that fits happily in a just-large-enough square hole.  They asked me you will recall am I an artist or a scientist?  Artist I suppose, but in truth neither.  I am an observer.

Me (January 2010, age 57).  Let us try.

Marshall McLuhan disliked labels.  But that didn’t and hasn’t stopped people from labeling him.  Here are some of the labels people have given McLuhan:

Canadian communications theorist

Professor

Literary scholar

Genius

Intellectual messiah

Canada’s Aristotle

Gear stripper

Delphic oracle

Educator

Future salesman

Visionary educator

Oracle

Charlatan

Theoretical, cognitive psychologist

Writer

Scholar

Social reformer

Popular philosopher

Pop guru

Media prophet

Media/technology analyst

Media darling

Seminal thinker

What label, if any, do you think is most accurate?  Pick one or make one up of your own.  Next week we will announce the winner.  Good luck!

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading for the post

McLuhan: Hot & Cool. Edited by Gerald Stern, New York: Signet Books, 1967.

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Michael Hinton Friday, January 8th, 2010
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