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.

Time gentlemen (and ladies) please!

It is time to say good bye to Dr. Herbert Marshall McLuhan – media explorer, theorist, prophet, and celebrity. This blog began in September, 2009, on the anniversary of the stroke that took away his power to speak and ends, today on the 100th anniversary of his birth.  Each post, this is number 452, has looked at one of McLuhan’s observations, ideas, thoughts, opinions, or experiences.  I am saying good bye to Marshall now not because there is nothing left to say, but because it seems to me a good time to move on. I have had the wondrous experience of viewing the world for a time through Marshall’s eyes and I thank you for joining me in this attempt to understand him better.  It has been at various times thrilling, disciplining, and surprising, an adventure, a job and an obsession, but I have never found it dull. And that’s the way I want to keep it.

Before I go here is one last idea of Marshall’s to ponder: “The media,” he wrote to Walter Ong in November 1961, “as extensions of the sense organs alter sensibility and mental process at once.”  But, he adds, we are unaware of what they are doing because of their “hypnotic aspect… . Each is invested with a cloak of invisibility.” Faced with such powerful forces is it any wonder McLuhan was never completely successful in his quest to understand media. But then that is the fate of every great philosopher.  He sometimes got it wrong.  But when he was right, boy was he right!

Cordially, Marshall and Me

P.S. I have been fortunate to recieve the help, support, and encouragement of many people.  I would like to thank, especially, Deborah Hinton, David Hinton, Ramon Campos Salazar, Jeff Swann, Michelle Sullivan, Julien Smith, Mitch Joel, and Michael Edmunds.

Reading and listening:

Lament for Marshall McLuhan, composed and played by Sebastien Joseph [then 15 years old]

My essay on Marshall McLuhan

Letters of Marshall McLuhan, selected and edited by Matie Molinaro, Corinne McLuhan and William Toye, 1987, pp. 280-281.

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Michael Hinton Thursday, July 21st, 2011
Permalink 1950s and 60s, All categories 8 Comments

8 Comments to Time gentlemen (and ladies) please!

  • Tim Good says:

    Thank you for the many posts. I have enjoyed the the thoughts of M.M. that you have presented, but also the added thoughts that you have contributed. Like a good book, it’s a bit sad to come to the end, but like a good book I hope to return to the past posts and enjoy them again.

    Thank you for your efforts.

  • Congrats on a great accomplishment and a project well worth investing your precious time and energy in. Such a rich resource for McLuhan lovers – I hope you’ll leave the archives of this blog accessible for many years to come.

    My personal favourites: all the blog posts with archival documents – 50s television ads etc. Great to revisit McLuhan’s thoughts and fascinating to wonder what he would have thought of the times in which we live. You did a great job of stimulating thought.

    Thanks for everything, Michael. I’ll happily come back to this blog from time to time to dip my toe in McLuhan magic.

    Enjoy the day!


  • Michael Edmunds says:

    Dear Marshall and Me (Michael)-
    Since 1969-70 when I was first introduced to McLuhan’s work and later as his student, I have been bound up with/in McLuhanisme: first with resonance in the works; through the meeting and dealings with the man himself; and into the present as I interact with the physical presence of colleagues and friends who know and/or studied McLuhan and the virtual realities of emails and web pages, social networking. A canonballing down express ride to new experience for the human sensorium has taken place and it’s mostly only McLuhan (and his few colleagues) who has given insight into what it might be about and how to deal with it. His was the exploration into these uncharted experiences.

    Likewise Marshall and Me is its own bold exploration of one man’s seeking to understand a great thinker and his ideas as reflected historically and contemporarily in day to day experiences. Marshall and Me undertakes to provoke McLuhanisme using McLuhan as the main character and not trying to be a new McLuhan (no revisionism or self aggrandizement.) That alone would make Marshall and Me worthwhile.
    Marshall and Me was unique. It offered much to those who knew the man’s work as well as those who were recent newcomers to the works. Using McLuhan’s “texts” and juxtaposing them in mysterious ways gave them up to contemplation- serious and often zany. Much of McLuhan’s own methodology is evident. In its own way it aped McLuhan’s grand project. For this it is a valuable contribution to McLuhan Studies.

    McLuhan: George I hear it’s Hinton’s last post.

    George (M’s long time assistant): That’s right. Damn shame, too!

    McLuhan: No worry, I’m thinking of starting a blog myself.

    George: Good idea.

    McLuhan: Get that Hinton on the line now that he’s freed up. I think he’d be a good collaborator. He gets me. Tell too him I have a name for it.

    George: What’s that?

    McLuhan: Hinton and Me.

    George: HINTON AND ME

    McLuhan aside laughing and lighting a cigar: That’s our working title for now. You know kind of an update on the JEST of honor idea at our Monday Nights.) I’m quite sure Hinton deserves that much!

  • Deborah Hinton says:

    Well Michael your project has been quite a journey. As one person who read every one of your 452 posts, I learned a lot. I especially liked the 3 [McLuhan would have loved that too] main phases of your blog.

    1: At the beginning you presented a lot of ideas in every post – my head was spinning.
    2: And then you got into the groove as the voice of McLuhan – from the past and present – came to life, kibbitzing with Corinne and other friends of the inner circle.
    3: And finally the introduction of video that you were able to weave into and as a contrast to McLuhan’s ideas.

    Thanks for sharing your perspectives and humour on this most intriguing Canadian icon. I’m looking forward to your next project!

  • Kathy Fazel says:

    Congratulations, Michael, on having completed such a great project.

    I’m embarrasses to admit that I didn’t know much (anything?) about McLuhan before you started your blog. And in reading your posts, I realized how much I had actually heard about him, without realizing it. And then I started to hear McLuhan references and quotes all around me!

    Thanks for helping me learn about this fascinating Canadian.

  • Lisa says:

    Dear Michael
    As a follow blogger (who has been on hiatus for some time for a maternity leave) I am awed by your committment. 452 posts! It’s an incredible accomplishment. I love the HINTON and ME idea from one of your followers. Sounds like you have been an inspiration… much like the man you were writing about.

  • Mary Lou Mahoney says:

    Tks Michael!!You are so talented! I enjoyed the CBC document other night on M.M. as well!! I too knew very little re this man M.M.-tks to you and your project- now appreciate and know more re this Canadian. Tks again!

  • this might shed some light, or just be entertaining, but I created an EP for McLuhan’s centennial where i cut up a bunch of samples from speeches & lectures and composed music around them.

    checker out at http://www.jordanmandel.com


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