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.

What’s the good word?

Marshall McLuhan (1973, age 61-62).  “Dad, you’re in the dictionary!”

“Of course I’m in the dictionary, Eric, I’m looking up a word.  Here it is, ‘corniche’ from the French – ‘a road along the edge of a cliff.’  Exactly where we are today, literally and metaphorically, don’t you think?

“No Dad, I don’t mean you’re using the dictionary, I mean you’re actually in it.  There are now words based on you.  ‘McLuhanism,’ McLuhanize,’ ‘McLuhanite,’ and get this ‘McLuhanesque.’

“Well that’s vurry satisfying.  Northrop Frye isn’t in the dictionary is he?  But hold on, which dictionary?  the Oxford?”

“No, The Barnhart Dictionary of New English Since 1963, first edition, 1973.”

“What a shame.  I’d have preferred the Oxford.  After all, it is the Dictionary.”

Me (August, 2010, age 58).  McLuhan would have been pleased

McLuhan did make it into the second edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, which was published in 1989.  Unfortunately he did not live to see it.  However, it is safe to say that he would undoubtedly have taken great pride in this mark of the power of his influence on what he considered to be the most powerful of all mediums, our language.

Cordially, Marshall and Me



The Oxford English Dictionary, second edition, 1989.

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Michael Hinton Thursday, August 12th, 2010
Permalink 1970s and 80s, Communication, Culture, Vol. 1 No Comments

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