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 McLuhan up to at Bilderberg?

Marshall McLuhan (April 28, 2010, age 98).  Something important, believe you me!

“Corinne, that Hinton bloke is on my case again.”

“What about?

“The Bilderberg Conference in 1969.  Says I used foul language, and was incomprehensible.”

“Marshall, is that true?”

“Yes, I lost my temper.  They weren’t getting it.”


“The delegates, the political heavies, the MacNamaras and Rusks.  They did a double take when I told them that it was futile to understand our world of technology “without a knowledge of all the poets and painters and artists from Baudelaire to Joyce.  But they didn’t get i.”

“What didn’t they get?”

“That ‘a knowledge of all the poets’ does not mean to understand all the knowledge of all poets.  The key is to approach the world as an artist.  As Wyndham Lewis taught me, to observe, just observe.  Their problem is that they come to the world with a point of view.  And as a result they learn nothing from the world.  They only see what they’re prepared to see.”

Me (April 2010, age 57).   Mea culpa

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading for this post

Letters of Marshall McLuhan, 1987, pp. 372-73 and 531.

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Michael Hinton Wednesday, April 28th, 2010
Permalink Communication, Vol. 1 1 Comment

1 Comment to What was McLuhan up to at Bilderberg?

  • Michael Edmunds says:

    McLuhan (speaking through student Sheila Watson’s thesis)
    uses Lewis to note I think that being numbed by our own self extensions ain’t no “laughing matter.” Observe-Laugh- repeat as necessary.

    The characteristic work of conscious personality, Lewis believed, is to overcome the mechanical ascendency imposed on it by birth and environment. Its mark is the mechanical incompetence which separates it from matter. It resists the hysterical somnambulism which results from its identification with his own projections or extensions. In the interests of truth the mind must sneeze, then laugh. “Laughter is the Wild Body’s song of triumph…. Laughter does not progress. It is primitive, hard, and unchangeable”

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