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.

Try it sometime.

Marshall McLuhan (June 18, 1974, age 62).  Don’t be shy.

I just got back from England, where my oldest son Eric was married.  I was delighted to run into Hugh and Winifred Lane at the wedding.  Hugh and I were students together at Cambridge in the 1930s.  I was telling them about my work which concerns the effects of technologies on human society and psyche.  You may be wondering how one goes about identifying those effects.  The answer is simply to ask yourself about any item around you:  What it is doing to its users and to other artifacts?  For example to study the effects of Xeroxing make an inventory of the changes Xeroxing has had on your life.

Me (May 2010, age 57).  You as a student of media

I remember one of my professors at the University of Toronto, John Dales, saying that students spent too much time photocoping and not enough time reading.  By photocoping – he insisted – all we were doing was delaying the act of reading.  Why not cut out the middle man and read it?  Another way to look at it is that we were too caught up in publishing to bother about reading.

How are the artifacts about you changing your life and the artifacts about them?

 

Cordially, Marshall and Me

 

Reading for this post

Letters of Marshall McLuhan, 1987, pp. 500.

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Michael Hinton Friday, May 14th, 2010
Permalink 1970s and 80s, Technology, Vol. 1 No Comments

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