Happy 100th, Marshall McLuhan

In honour of Marshall McLuhan’s 100th birthday, here’s a vintage clip of the famous Canadian media theorist laying down some of his trailblazing ideas in a CBC interview.

McLuhan, who died in 1980, is being celebrated everywhere today as the great prophet of the information age, a man who saw into the distant future. But part of what comes across in this brilliantly stagey piece is how much hasn’t changed since his day. The talk about the shifting role of the book, the anxiety about its fate against the heavy competition of new media forms—it’s all carried on into the present, in remarkably similar terms.

And of course, there’s the truly hilarious moment when one of the hosts chucks a book aside after hearing the siren call of rock ’n’ roll:

And if that’s not funny enough (and it probably isn’t), here’s McLuhan’s immortal cameo in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall:




Jul 22, 2011 at 6:35am

Amazing CBC interview, thanks for posting it! The video clip confirms Marshall McLuhan's own observations (see Understanding Media): "The movie, radio,and TV: classroom without walls." "It was not until the advent of the telegraph that messages could travel faster than a messenger" "The global village is not a place where one thing happens at a time. Everything happens at once."

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