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Marshall McLuhan Center

WIINDMILL PRESS publishing (Canadian publisher of media books and resources)

"One of the major intellectual influences of our time."--Fortune

"What remains paramount are McLuhan's global standpoint and zest for the new. He has given a needed twist to the great debate on what is happening to main in this age of technological speedup."--New Yorker

Welcome to the Marshall McLuhan Center! Marshall McLuhan is a central figure in the teaching of media literacy. His understanding of how media worked and affected culture was so prophetic, we are only understanding some of his statements today. The media, McLuhan predicted, would shrink the world and the intellectual process. Considering the number of hours we watch television, play video games, purposelessly surf the internet and the social scars left by some of the content of these media, McLuhan's voice rings hauntingly in our new millenium culture where students carry cell phones and e-mail pictures to each other. Enjoy your visit to the McLuhan Center. If you have questions or suggestions to improve the site, feel free to drop us an e-mail.

Marshall McLuhan: A brief Bio

Herbert Marshall McLuhan was born on July 21, 1911 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Influenced by his mother's interest in elocution, he developed such a fascination for poetry that he memorized substantial passages from the greatest English poets before entering university.

McLuhan entered the University of Manitoba in 1928 and came out in 1935 with an MA before going on to study literature at Cambridge University where he earned a PhD in 1942. After teaching at a number of universities in the states, he wound up at the University of Toronto in 1946 where he remained for the rest of his teaching career. He established his intellectual base-camp, The Center for Culture and Technology which opened in 1963. With the establishment of the Center, McLuhan devoted himself to studies of the effect of electronic technology on the human community.

He enjoyed great popular success in the 1960s, and although his popularity waned somewhat in the 1970s, his ideas have re-emerged in the 1990s with the advent of the World Wide Web. Wired magazine has adopted him as their "patron saint" and a number of new books have emerged using McLuhan's ideas. It has been almost 20 years since Marshall McLuhan's death on New Year's Eve, 1980, but his visions and prophecies are more significant today than they were in his own time.

McLuhan Works of Note

The Mechanical Bride (1951)

The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962)

Understanding Media (1964)

The Medium is the Message (1967)

War and Peace in the Global Village (1968)

Culture is our Business (1970)

From Marshall McLuhan in a 1966 interview:

When asked the question what originally led to McLuhan's interest in media and the effect of media upon our culture, he answered:

"I find media analysis very much more exciting now simply because it affects more people than most anything. One measure of the importance of anything is: Who is affected by it? In our time, we have devised ways of making the most trivial event affect everyone. One of the consequences of electronic environments is the total involvement of people in people."

McLuhan Quotations

Use these quotations in your media classroom. During your study of media, you may want to write a quotation a day on the blackboard and spend the first 5-7 minutes of class discussing the meaning and application of the quotation. Ask students to keep a journal of quotations about the media and a personal commentary of each. For younger students, choose quotations that are simpler to understand--global village--for example and explain them in applicable language.

"We are increasingly living in a global village."

"People don't actually read newspapers. They step into them every morning like a hot bath."

"With telephone and TV it is not so much the message as the sender that is being sent."

"One of the nicest things about being big is the luxury of thinking little."

"When a thing is current, it creates a currency."

"If it works, it's obsolete."

"Tomorrow is our permanent address."

"The peculiar and abstract manipulation of information is a means of creating wealth."

"The medium is the message."

"The medium is the massage."

"The user is the content."

"Television is teaching all the time. It does more educating than all the schools and all the institutions of higher learning."

"We look at the present through a rearview mirror; we walk backwards into the future."

"The future of the book is the blurb."

"The ignorance of how to use new knowledge stockpiles exponentially."

"Technologies are not simply inventions which people employ but are the means by which people are re-invented."

"Once we surrendered our senses and nervous systems to the private manipulation of those who would try to benefit from taking a lease on our eyes and ears and nerves, we don't really have any rights left. Leasing our eyes and ears and nerves to commercial interests is like handing over the common speech to a private corporation, or like giving the earth's atmosphere to a company as a monolpoly."