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.

The best book I didn’t write?

Marshall McLuhan (December 1, 1966, age 55). The Medium is the Massage!

Frank Taylor, the editor in chief of the book division of McGraw-Hill, the publishers of Understanding Media, phoned today.  Poor chap was quite incensed to discover that Random House is publishing the Medium is the Massage.  Editors are as bad as wives.  Look at another woman and they think you’re having an affair.  I assured him he had nothing to fear from my dalliance with Random House.  McGraw-Hill is my true love.  Two reasons: (1) I wrote nothing new for this book – it’s all pictures and excerpts from my previous writing put together by others; and (2) It will push up the sales of my other books.  He seemed somewhat relieved.

Me (March 2010, age 57).  If best means understandable!

Marshall McLuhan’s The Medium is the Massage is a McLuhan book almost anyone can read with understanding – in part because of the pictures, and in part because someone else put it together.  (Graphic designer Quentin Fiore and writer Jerome Agel.  These two also put together War and Peace in the Global Village, another book McLuhan didn’t write.)

It has been said that the title was originally owing to a typographical error.  Possibly, but unlikely.  The message of the pun pervades the book:  The electronic media are working you over and here are a few of the things they are doing to you.

Have you looked at it? If so, what did you think?  If not, you should.

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading for this post

Letters of Marshall McLuhan, 1987, p. 339.

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Michael Hinton Friday, April 9th, 2010
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Business, Communication, Vol. 1 No Comments

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