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.

Who should I invite?

Marshall McLuhan (1959-1967). The Monday Night Seminar.

Monday nights I like to hold an informal seminar to discuss the breakthroughs we are making in understanding media and think things through.  Someone asked me if we shouldn’t have some sort of admission requirements or selection criteria.  I said certainly not, requirements and criteria will only serve to reduce the intelligence of the group.

Me (August, 2010, age 58).  Pure speculation

Actually I don’t know if Marshall McLuhan said any such thing.  What he says, here, I must admit, is more purely my invention than is traditional on From Marshall and Me.  And for this lack of discipline I apologize.  Yet I imagine this is something McLuhan might have said given his views on the problems created by specialization in academia.  At any rate judging by the remarkable diversity of the people who took part in the Monday Night Seminars he clearly welcomed and encouraged the participation of people from widely different backgrounds and with widely different interests.

For example, here is a list of the participants who attended one Monday night in 1967, as recalled by Bob Rodgers, who at the time was a graduate student in English at Toronto and a next door neighbor of McLuhan’s on Wells Hill Avenue: an anthropologist (Ted Carpenter), three beatniks, a young man with a guitar, an Eagle Scout, an academic couple (Wilfred and Sheila Watson), a man in advertising, a CBC news announcer (Stanley Burke), a magician, a fortune teller, an Inuit carver, a wrestler (Whipper Billy Watson), and three graduate students.  I don’t know how smart this group turned out to be, but the conversation was undoubtedly stimulating.

And, as those of you have been following this blog know, I was at University of Toronto in the 70s.  Wish I’d gone.

Cordially, “Marshall” and Me

Reading

Bob Rogers, “In the Garden with the Guru,” Literary Review of Canada, January 1, 2008

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Michael Hinton Thursday, August 5th, 2010
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Communication, Education, Vol. 1 No Comments

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