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 was Marshall McLuhan up to?

Marshall McLuhan (December 13, 1977, age 66). I’m stunned!

Peter Gzowski actually suggested on television today that I had failed grade six!  The fact is – as told him – “I never failed any grade ever.”

Me (June 2010, age 57).  What was McLuhan up to?

What Gzowski asked was whether ordinary people who hadn’t attained McLuhan’s academic stature (Full Professor Toronto, Cambridge Ph.D.)  should be able to feel better knowing that McLuhan had failed grade six.  An easy question.  At least one would think so.  At any rate, McLuhan’s response clearly surprised Gzowski.

Why did McLuhan deny he’d failed?  It is a fact that he did fail.  And you can read about it in the biographies of McLuhan by Philip Marchand and Terry Gordon.  It is also a fact that his Mother persuaded the school to let him go on to grade 7 and prove he could do the work, which he did.  So why didn’t McLuhan say this?  What was McLuhan up to?

Cordially, Marshall and Me

PS:  For something completely different see yesterday’s post

Reading for this post

W. Terrence Gordon. Marshall McLuhan: Escape into Understanding, 1997, p. 10.

Philip Marchand, Marshall Mcluhan: the Medium and the Messenger, 1989, p. 17-18.

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Michael Hinton Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010
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