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 is!

Marshall McLuhan (January 21, 1971, age 59). Frankly, I’m baffled!

What baffles me is the assumption many people make when they read my work.  The assumption that whatever happens ought to happen. And taking things one step further whatever can happen should happen.  These seem to me to be recipes for disaster.

Me (April 2010, age 57).  Me too!

This should be obvious, but apparently it’s not.  (These assumptions are made repeatedly in the discussion of social media.  Facebook and Twitter have happened but is it clear that they ought to have happened?  Or just because you can tweet you ought to tweet?)

A closely related idea to “Whatever happens ought to happen” is “Everything happens for a reason.”  A comforting idea for people trying to deal with evils by reframing them as goods.  For example, if my mother had not died I would never have known how much I loved her.  Everything then has its silver lining.  And nothing just happens.  It happens for a good reason.

Or not.

When life deals you a lemon do you try to make it into lemonade?  Or do you say, “Look a lemon, I wonder how it got here?”

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading for this post

Letters of Marshall McLuhan, 1987, p. 421.

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Michael Hinton Friday, April 30th, 2010
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Culture, Vol. 1 No Comments

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