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.
Marshall McLuhan (March 27, 1967, age 55).Â The ringing, the ringing!
â€śMrs. Stewart, if that phone rings one more time Iâ€™m going to go stark raving mad.Â That was from another kid with a bad case of the giggles who asked me to tell him the message.Â There it goes again.Â Â Iâ€™m going deaf with the ringing.â€ť
â€śProfessor McLuhan, Iâ€™m going to do what we should have done two hours ago.Â There!â€ť
â€śSilence.Â Merciful Mary, how did you do it?â€ť
â€śA little trick my husband told me about he saw in Popular Mechanics.Â Put some carpet between the bell and the hammer.â€ť
â€śMrs. Stewart, you are a genius.â€ť
Me (December, 2010, age 58). The power of the press
Marvin Kitmanâ€™s comedic review of The Medium is the Massage by Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore appeared in the New York Times on March 26 1967.Â Among other things, Kitman said, â€śWith all the zeal of a convert, I would like to urge everybody not to buy this book, in either the paper medium or cloth medium.Â McLuhan argues forcibly that the invention of television makes books obsolete.Â Anybody who purchases a McLuhan book is playing into the hands of McLuhanâ€™s enemies in the intellectual establishment; high sales figures can only tend to discredit him as a modern thinker.â€ť
As Marshall McLuhan and his secretary Marg Stewart were soon to discover, it was funnyman Kitman who was responsible for the unending ringing of his number.Â For Kitman also told his readers that if you really want to get McLuhanâ€™s message you needed more than a medium, such as the telephone, you also needed â€śto establish a connection.Â [And that] Marshall McLuhanâ€™s telephone number at the University of Toronto is 416-WA 8-3328.â€ť
Cordially, Marshall and Me
Marvin Kitman, â€śGet the Message?â€ť The New York Times, March 26, 1967.