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.
It is timeÂ to say good bye to Dr. Herbert Marshall McLuhan -Â 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.Â Each post, this is number 452, has looked at one of McLuhan’s observations, ideas, thoughts, opinions, or experiences.Â I am saying good bye to Marshall nowÂ not because there is nothing left to say, but becauseÂ it seems to me a good time to move on. I have had the wondrous experienceÂ of viewing the world for a time through Marshall’s eyes and I thankÂ you for joining me in this attempt to understand him better.Â It has been at various times thrilling, disciplining, and surprising, an adventure, a jobÂ and an obsession, but I have never found it dull.Â And that’s the way I want to keep it.
Before I go here is one last idea of Marshall’s to ponder:Â ”The media,” he wrote to Walter Ong in November 1961, “as extensions of the sense organs alter sensibility andÂ mental process at once.”Â But, heÂ adds,Â we are unaware of what they are doing because of theirÂ ”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.Â He sometimes got it wrong.Â 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 encouragementÂ of many people.Â Â I would like to thank, especially,Â Deborah Hinton, David Hinton, Ramon Campos Salazar,Â Jeff Swann,Â Michelle Sullivan,Â Julien Smith, Mitch Joel, and Michael Edmunds.
Reading and listening:
Lament for Marshall McLuhan, composed and played by Sebastien Joseph [then 15 years old]
Letters of Marshall McLuhan, selected and edited by Matie Molinaro, Corinne McLuhan and William Toye, 1987, pp. 280-281.