A tribute to and a lament for Marshall McLuhan.Â Five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday,Â I present one of McLuhanâ€™s observations and talk about its relevance today.Â 300 ideas. 300 days.Â 300 posts.
Marshall McLuhan (June 1966, age 54). Â I do it my way!
No, Corinne, I definitely will not.
But Marshall I canâ€™t always be available to run down to your office to tell you itâ€™s time to go to a meeting at the CBC.
Might I remind you, Iâ€™m one woman and we have six children?
A point Corinne, I admit it, a point.
Then for Peteâ€™s sake, wear the wrist watch I bought you for your birthday.
Iâ€™ll think about it.Â Isnâ€™t it time we left studio?
Me (June 2010, age 57). Â The problem with eccentricities
Here are some of Marshall McLuhanâ€™s eccentricities:
For many years he refused to wear a watch or have a clock in his office.
He judged a new book not by its cover but how interesting it was on page 69.
He did not know his childrenâ€™s birthdays.
He dictated letters to his secretary lying flat on the floor beneath his desk.
He fell asleep at departmental meetings
He wore pre-tied ties that were held on by an elastic band.
He regularly phoned people at all sorts of hours, some times in the middle of the night.
He thought numbers divisible by 3 to be lucky and avoided numbers not divisible by 3 for such things as addresses, appointment dates, and membership numbers.
He felt it was possible to judge the merit of a Ph.D. thesis on the first 3 pages and frequently said so at oral examinations.
He once claimed that it took him no more than 5 minutes to read Miltonâ€™s Paradise Lost.
He disliked being photographed or tape recorded.
He was a notoriously bad listener.Â But – as one who knew him said – was polite enough to wait till your lips stopped moving before speaking.
The problem with eccentricities is that in focusing on them you lose sight of the man.Â Instead of a real person with thoughts, desires, and feelings, you are left with a card board cut-out man.Â A figure of quirky fun.Â Someone you have categorized and now cease to think about.
Cordially, Marshall and Me
Reading for this post:
Douglas Coupland, Marshall McLuhan, 2009.