If Marshall McLuhan were alive today, this would be his 100th birthday. Rather than write another post about him, I’d like to point out three great articles that take a raw look at what McLuhan got right, what he got wrong, how his faith informed all of his thought, and the legacy he left behind.
- McLuhan at 100 – by Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, wrote an article for the Republic that he reworked for his blog. He offers a balanced look at McLuhan’s quick rise, slow fall, and recent resurgence, and he gives as few thoughts about how McLuhan might look at today’s technology like Facebook and the iPhone.
- Why Bother with Marchall McLuhan? – from Alan Jacobs, author of The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction, comes a slightly more negative take on McLuhan. Like McLuhan, Jacobs is a literature professor, which leads him to follow some of McLuhan’s literary strands and influences. He takes issue with several of McLuhan’s contradictory statements and ideas, and suggests that his students like Neil Postman and Walter Ong may the best thing he left behind.
- Divine Inspiration – Jacobs and Carr mention McLuhan’s conversion to Catholicism, but this article spends more time on the subject arguing that it was McLuhan’s faith that made him one of the twentieth century’s most important thinkers.
- MarshallMcLuhan.com – Also be sure to check out the official Marshall McLuhan website which has links to dozens of articles, reprints of his books, and other goodies to celebrate his 100th birthday.
If you find other good centennial summaries of McLuhan’s life and thought, make sure to leave them in the comments.