Who was Marshall McLuhan?


last known address:

Marshall McLuhan

3 Wychwood Park

Toronto, Canada

In a Paragraph

Herbert Marshall McLuhan was a visionary educator of mass media. "The medium is the message", perhaps his most often quoted phrase, was one of his many advanced perceptions. In media, he studied both their overriding effects on society and their character as extensions of the senses of the individual.

On a Kiosk

Who was Marshall McLuhan was produced for a touch sensitive kiosk with the help of Apple Computer. It appeared in the lobby for a performance of The Medium. The kiosk also traveled to Siggraph 1995 in Los Angeles in the lobby for the ACM exhibit and before the Blue Man Group performance.


Understanding McLuhan - Voyager's CD-ROM made by Southam in Canada. It has the full text of Understanding Media and The Gutenberg Galaxy, the entire Fordham lecture, movie and audio clips. My only quibble is that the interface gets in the way of the facing. I want to use this digital medium to "SEARCH" for subjects and quotes and then mix and mash what I find. Sadly the CD embalms rather services the literature.

In a Library

To wit, a page from the Mechanical Bride is Freedom from the touch sensitive page of the kiosk. Also added are Offend and Know-How

In Time

Herbert Marshall McLuhan was born July 21, 1911 Edmonton Alberta of Scottish-Irish Episcopalean heritage. As a Canadian educator in mass communications he probed many concepts about media and society stimulated by his observations of American advertising. He was a professor of English literature, who all of a sudden at the age of 40 started writing a series of profoundly modern books about media, technology, and communications. He died on the last day of 1980 succumbing to a cerebral stroke which had plagued the last year of his life.

In an interview

  1. Short 1966 Interview.

Playboy Interview

March 1969.

In mind

The "content" of any medium is always another medium. The content of writing is speech, just as the written word is the content of print, and print is the content of the telegraph. [understanding p. 23]

All media are active metaphors in their power to translate experience into new forms. [understanding p. 64]

The new electronic interdependence recreates the world in the image of a global village. [galaxy p.31]

We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future. [medium]

In the name of "progress," our official culture is striving to force the new media to do the work of the old.

The world is a global village.

The effect comes before the cause.

Other citings

In a letter about

An open letter about McLuhan studies.

In San Francisco 1965

In 1965 Marshall Mcluhan visited to participate in the McLuhan festivals. Read Herb Caen's chronicle of a hot lunch with Marshall McLuhan .

In San Francisco 1995

The Medium The dance play.

The West Coast McLuhan Renaissance Media Festival

In San Francisco 1996

Understanding Media - The McLuhan Course San Francisco October 1996.

Understanding Media - The McLuhan Course San Francisco March 15-29 1996.

The McLuhan Presentation San Francisco Friday March 29 1996.

In a sentence

"Marshall McLuhan, What yuh doin?" Henry Gibson, Laugh-In TV show, late 1960's.
Other terms of endearment

In a Joycean phrase

... speared the rod and spoiled the lightning;...

On the web

other McLuhan beacons

In the end

McLuhan provoked both the intellectual and the commoner, both phobe and phile by saying that commercials are worth studying; that other cultures from other times offer the best insights into our modern technology laden lifestyle; that in recalling the lost original uses of old media we begin to recover their possible inventive value. His flabbergastingly direct statements and outrageous comparisons of media and their after-effects have stimulated many reexaminations of the consequences of digital multimedia. Marshall concluded we are emerging as a world-wide society electronically connected in a global village where our personalities exist at the speed of light.

Interpreting the digital era

Of course anyone can interpret and extrapoloate McLuhan's colorful base of communication thought. Here is mine.

As discarnate beings, carnate consumers and producers, we live our lives as ghosts, circling the earth and haunting the globe. The electrified over-the-air persona.of McLuhan's era is coming down to earth through digital feedback loops of multiple networks with a more personal presence. Phoney gets personal.


Reflections on McLuhan

copyright Mark Beaulieu 1995,1996,1997,1998,1999,2000,2001,2002,2003,2004,2005,2006,2007,2008,2009,2010,2011,2012

Your TV is tuned to www.digitallantern.net/mcluhan