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Understanding McLuhan, finally

He was a man of idioms and idiosyncrasies, deeply intelligent and a soothsayer. He had prescient knowledge of the Internet. Although educated in literature, Marshall McLuhan was known as a pop philosopher because his theories applied to mini-skirts and the twist. For his ability to keep up with the cutting edge, one colleague called him "The Runner." Critics said he destroyed literary values. Today, McLuhan's ideas are new again, applied to the electronic media that he predicted.

media clip
In 1995 Marshall McLuhan's idea of an interconnected world run by a circuitry system is no longer just a theory. A new medium called "the Internet" sounds a lot like McLuhan's ideas of world connectivity. In the 1960s the media theorist and University of Toronto professor predicted a system similar to the Internet.
Derrick de Kerckhove, once a student and assistant of McLuhan's, says the information highway has caught up with us.

In this CBC TV clip, de Kerckhove explains: "I think that McLuhan had predicted that. Had we all read McLuhan carefully ... we'd probably be faster and better, more ready to get on with it."

• As early as 1964 McLuhan predicted there would be a "discarnate experience" with the electronic age. He believed people would develop relationships through electronic means alone.
• In January 1996 Wired magazine listed Marshall McLuhan under its masthead with the job title "Patron Saint."
• Derrick de Kerckhove worked with McLuhan at the University of Toronto's Centre for Culture and Technology.

• The professor founded the Centre for Culture and Technology in 1963. After his death the centre remained open, run by his disciples, including de Kerckhove.
• De Kerckhove has since translated McLuhan's From Cliché to Archetype into French.
Medium: Television
Program: CBC Television News
Broadcast Date: June 14, 1995
Guest(s): Paul Benedetti, Derrick de Kerckhove
Reporter: Mike Wise
Duration: 1:33

Last updated: July 22, 2014

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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