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: