Marshall McLuhan: You Know Nothing of My Work! by Douglas Coupland
By Douglas Coupland
A crackling examine the thinker whose founding rules have been right now vague and eerily prophetic.Marshall McLuhan, the distinguished social theorist who outlined the tradition of the Nineteen Sixties, is remembered now basically for the aphoristic slogan he coined to provide an explanation for the rising new global of worldwide verbal exchange: “The medium is the message.” part a century later, McLuhan’s predictions concerning the finish of print tradition and the increase of “electronic inter-dependence” became a reality—in a feeling, the reality—of our time. Douglas Coupland, whose iconic novel iteration X was once a “McLuhanesque” account of our tradition in fictional shape, has written a compact biography of the cultural critic that translates the existence and paintings of his topic from within. A fellow Canadian, a grasp of artistic sociology, a author who provided a defining time period, Coupland is the best chronicler of the uncanny prophet whose imaginative and prescient of the worldwide village—now often called the Internet—has come to cross within the twenty first century.
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Extra resources for Marshall McLuhan: You Know Nothing of My Work!
Arrrrr! In the summer of 1932, Marshall and his friend Tom had an adventure. They sailed to England on a cattle ship, tending to the animals on the night shift, Marshall spending the majority of the trip seasick. The two friends had a hundred dollars apiece to last them three months, but they didn’t care. Marshall, who had quite plausibly never seen anything built before 1900, was in a state of bliss: ancient things were everywhere, and with good luck, he could recite a nineteenth-century sonnet or ode to accompany the viewing experience.
But during his two English years he’d been close to the inner core of emerging twentieth-century critical theory. He’d become more of a man and less of a youth. He’d inhaled countless books. He’d toured France in his off time. He’d compared the Old World to the New and found he much preferred the Old. He had filled out a bit. He’d grown a moustache. But, now unemployed, he was entering a period of rootlessness and misdirection that almost anybody who’s ever graduated from school knows all too well.
In a way, McLuhan’s ideas become like a song we all know the tune of but not the full lyrics, and so we read into him whatever comes to mind. Forget poor-players and strutting; twenty-first-century life is karaoke—a never-ending attempt to maintain dignity while a jumble of data uncontrollably blips across a screen. Tellingly, Marshall’s fans tend to be hard core. For them he becomes a personal friend and guide, one who helps decode the karaoke of modern life with a charged intensity. It’s this intensity that tells me the man was foremost an artist, one who happened to use ideas and words as others might use paint.