McGraw-Hill hardcover edition (1964)

St. Michael’s Book and Media Program

 Cordially invites you to

An Event Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the

Publication of Marshall McLuhan’s Book Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man

A Dialogue with Professors B. W. Powe, York University  and Robert K. Logan, University of Toronto

Moderator – Marc Glassman

Understanding Media Cover (1964)

Signet Paperback edition (1964)

B. W. Powe is a former McLuhan student, a professor of English at York University and author of the recently published Marshall McLuhan and Northrop Frye: Alchemy and Apocalypse (2014)

 Bob Logan is a former McLuhan collaborator, a U of T physics professor, St. Michael’s College Fellow and author ofMcLuhan Misunderstood: Setting the Record Straight (2013)

 Marc Glassman is a Ryerson University adjunct professor and founder of the Pages Unbound Festival

 Date: Monday, November 10th, 2014

 Time: Pre-Event Reception: 4:00 pm, Dialogue Event: 4:30 – 6:00 pm

Location: Fr. Robert Madden Hall, Carr Hall

 100 St. Joseph Street, St. Michael’s College, Toronto, ON M5S 1J4


A NOTE TO READERS: I’ve been informed that the McLuhan Estate purchased “The Medium is the Massage” film, described in my posting below, from McGraw-Hill with the intention of making it available on the Official MM site: . The party tasked to do that erroneously assumed that it could also go to other sites, including YouTube. But that was not the intent, and it has been removed from YouTube and other places and hence the code linking my posting below to YouTube no longer works. Michael McLuhan, who runs the estate, has informed me that the film will become available on the official site in a couple of weeks. I will post a note here and inform my subscribers of its availability at that time and provide a direct link to it. Sorry for the inconvenience………..Alex

I posted a note on this blog about this film on August 14, 2011 (see ) with the  comments below:-


The Medium is the Massage – The book (1967)

All McLuhanists know the book by Marshall McLuhan and graphic designer Quentin Fiore titled The Medium is the Massage (1967) and most are familiar with the LP that came out around the same time with the same title. But I suspect that few are aware of the film that was distributed that same year (1967) by McGraw-Hill Education under the same title. The only public showing this 54 minute film appears to have had was on NBC TV, as the entry below from TV Guide indicates. I saw it at the New Museum located in the Bowery in New York City in August, 2011, viewing it on a 16 mm copy of the film loaned by the Pratt Institute, which was red with age and in deteriorating condition. It’s essential that someone preserve a copy of this valuable film and digitize it for the posterity for the insights it gives on Marshall McLuhan’s ideas and era.

Somebody must have read what I said, because the film has now been digitized and made available on YouTube. The time length of the film is just under 54 minutes. Most people will not have seen this film, which is well worth watching; in it McLuhan discusses the need for pattern recognition at a time when media communication is at the speed of light, among other ideas….Alex

Here’s the YouTube video, narrated by actor Edward Binns:

McLuhan’s Global Village Today

Edited By Carmen Birkle, Angela Krewani, Martin Kuester

2014 | Pickering & Chatto | 242 pages

Marshall McLuhan was one of the leading media theorists of the twentieth century. His work extended beyond academia, making him part of the ‘popular culture’ which he helped to define. This collection of essays explores the many facets of McLuhan’s work from a transatlantic perspective. Balancing applied case studies with theoretical discussions, together the chapters provide an insightful look at the legacy of the man who coined the term ‘global village’.

McLuhan’s Global Village Today: An Introduction – Carmen Birkle, Angela Krewani and Martin Kuester

Part I: McLuhan and Media Theory
1 In-Corporating the Global Village – Richard Cavell
2 Metaphorical Effects: McLuhan’s Media – Jana Mangold
3 Hot/Cool vs Technological/Symbolic: McLuhan and Kittler – Andreas Beinsteiner
4 Global Immediacy – Florian Sprenger
5 The Complementary Aspects of Marshall McLuhan and Postmodernism in the Literary Study of the Internet: Exemplified in the Rhizome Theory of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari – Martin Speer
6 Dubjection: A Node (Reflections on Web-Conferencing, McLuhan and Intellectual Property) – Mark A McCutcheon

Part II: McLuhan and Literature
7 Herbert Marshall McLuhan: Before The Mechanical Bride – David Staines
8 ‘Cambridge was a Shock’: Comparing Media from a Literary Critic’s Point of View – Bernhard J Dotzler
9 Master, Collaborator and Troll: Marshall McLuhan, Wilfred Watson and Brian Fawcett – Martin Kuester
10 Taking Action: What Comics Demand of Their Recipients – Anne Hoyer

Part III: McLuhan and Technical Media
11 Radio Voices: Reflections on McLuhan’s Tribal Drum – Kerstin Schmidt
12 McLuhan’s Paradigms and Schafer’s ‘Soundscape’: Parallels, Influences, Envelopes, Shifts – Sabine Breitsameter
13 Literary Modernists, Canadian Moviegoers, and the New Yorker Lobby: Reframing McLuhan in Annie Hall – Paul Tiessen
14 The Animated Medium is the Animated Message (?): Reading Animated Moving Pictures with Marshall McLuhan – Philipp Blum
15 Marshall McLuhan and the Emergence of American Television Theory – Angela Krewani
16 ‘The Medium in Your Pocket’ – A McLuhanian Approach to New Media – Raphael Peter (Source: )

Thanks to Martin Speer for informing me about this book, which is the product of a conference held at the University of Marburg in Germany in May, 2011, that I posted information about in this blog here: .

Logo der Philipps-Universität Marburg

The First Joint Conference 

International Institute for the Study of Technology and Christianity (IISTC)

and The Marshall McLuhan Initiative


McLuhan’s Faith and Works

Click on image for expanded view

October 18-19, 2015 St. Paul’s College, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, CANADA

Conference Coordinators: Read Mercer Schuchardt ( Wheaton College ; Howard R. Engel ( St. Paul’s College

St. Paul’s College at the University of Manitoba is delighted to host the First Joint Conference of the International Institute for the Study of Technology and Christianity (IISTC) and The Marshall McLuhan Initiative.  The IISTC, founded in 2013, is the publisher of Second Nature Journal (online at  St. Paul’s College is the major Catholic institution of higher learning in the province of Manitoba, Canada ( The University of Manitoba, Marshall McLuhan’s first post-secondary alma mater, was founded in 1877 as Western Canada’s first public university.  The purpose of The Marshall McLuhan Initiative, founded in 2007, is “to honor, celebrate, and extend the life’s work of Herbert Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980), who grew up in Winnipeg, graduated from the University of Manitoba, was a devout Catholic, a beloved professor of English literature, prophetic poet, satirist, and the renowned communications theorist, visionary, and media guru that we recognize today.” The Marshall McLuhan Initiative has a special interest in the religious thought and life of Marshall McLuhan, and in his Canadian Prairie roots. The International Institute for the Study of Technology and Christianity has a special interest in the religious thought and life of Marshall McLuhan in that he was a founder of the school of thought now known as Media Ecology, was the direct inspiration for Neil Postman’s program at New York University, and was a lifelong adherent to the faith of Christianity.  It is with this unique perception of the importance of McLuhan’s faith on his work that we proceed to explore in depth both the concepts and percepts of McLuhan’s Faith and Works

“Faith is a mode of perception” according to McLuhan.  McLuhan had this faith and practiced it daily by reading scripture and attending mass, and yet he rarely mentioned it or wrote much about its role in his life’s work of analyzing and understanding media forms.  Or perhaps all McLuhan ever did was analyze media from the detached observational viewpoint that the faith had granted him?  Scholars, critics, biographers, colleagues and interlocutors both inside and outside his faith tradition disagree and debate about the nature of his faith and the nature of its role (or lack thereof) in his otherwise “secular” academic work.  Until 1999, with the publication of The Medium and The Light, knowledge of McLuhan’s faith was itself fairly limited.  As more material comes forth and as more of the religious aspect of sensory perception is allowed into academic discourse, now is the time to have an open, provocative, invigorating, and challenging discussion of just what, how, where, when, and why did McLuhan’s faith play a role in his life’s work. 

The conference organizers invite papers, panels, debates, workshops, short films, videos, musical or theatrical entries, artworks and poetry that explore this theme.  McLuhan once observed of his prairie roots, “I think of Western [Canadian] skies as one of the most beautiful things about the [Canadian] West and western horizons.  The [Canadian] Westerner doesn’t have a point of view.  He has a vast panorama, he has such tremendous space around him… he has a total field of vision.”  In keeping with McLuhan’s perception of this “total field of vision,” the conference organizers welcome submissions that address the conference theme from the widest possible angle.  Submissions on any topic of interest to the IISTC (and to readership of Second Nature Journal) are also encouraged, but centrality of the conference theme in received submissions will play a role in prioritizing conference presenters.

Please send 3-paragraph proposals or completed papers to by March 15, 2015 for consideration. We will notify you of acceptance by April 15, 2015.

The conference site at University of Manitoba is surrounded by the beautiful and historic city of Winnipeg, where Marshall McLuhan was raised from age four until he left for Cambridge University in 1934. Attendees will note that 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the McLuhan family move to Winnipeg.  The private house in the Fort Rouge area of Winnipeg was the McLuhan family home from 1919 to 1934, a time which represents the longest McLuhan lived at any address in his whole life.  Winnipeg is known as the cultural cradle of Western Canada, at the junction of the Assiniboine and Red Rivers.  In addition to the conference, visitors can enjoy world-class cultural, historic, and geographic attractions, such as the newly opened Canadian Museum for Human Rights (  See for a more complete offering on what’s happening in Winnipeg and how to maximize the enjoyment of your visit. We encourage conference participants to extend their visit one or more days to avail themselves of Winnipeg’s offerings.

The registration page for the “McLuhan’s Faith and Works” Conference is here:


For your convenience, we provide you with the following accommodation information: The conference organizers suggest booking your rooms at the CanadInns Fort Garry Destination Centre (204-261-7450; toll free: 1-888-332-2623) on 1824 Pembina Hwy, which is offering a special rate of $118 (reg $150) for a standard (2 queen beds) room per night for conference attendees, and runs a complimentary shuttle service to/from the Winnipeg Airport from 8am to 9pm daily.  The CanadInns reservations Web site is at

The Queen Bee Hotel (204-269-4666; toll free 1-866-431-4666) at 2615 Pembina Hwy is slightly further away, but offers low cost rooms at a smaller establishment, and is offering rooms at a $10 discount to conference attendees.  Please mention the McLuhan Conference to receive a preferred booking rate at either hotel. Discounted rates apply for stays ranging from October 16 to October 20. See their Web page through Tourism Winnipeg at,102743/01025/queen-bee-hotel

Guidelines for Submission of Abstracts (Deadline: March 15, 2015)

For Manuscripts:  1. Manuscripts should be 2,500- 7,500 words (approximately 10 to 30 double-spaced pages).  Include a cover page with your academic or professional affiliation and other contact information.  Include a 150-word abstract with the title.  Please use APA style.

For paper and panel proposals:  1. Include title, 150-word (min) to 500-word (max) abstract, and contact information with your proposal.  2.  Outline, as relevant, how your paper or panel will fit the conference theme.

Inquiries should be directed to the Conference Coordinators:  Read Mercer Schuchardt, Wheaton College, 630-752-5943 or Howard R. Engel, 204-253-0419

For more information on the International Institute for the Study of Technology and Christianity please see or our publication Second Nature Journal at .

507 Gertrude Avenue, Winnipeg, Marshall McLuhan’s childhood home

507 Gertrude Avenue, Winnipeg

An Excerpt From Culture Worrier by Journalist Clarence Page 


Culture Worrier: Reflections on Race, Politics and Social Change by Clarence Page, Foreword by Chris MatthewsCulture Worrier: Reflections on Race, Politics and Social Change by Clarence Page, Foreword by Chris Matthews

When the pioneer media guru Marshall McLuhan visited my university during my student days, he said something that has stuck with me. A student asked what he thought of the “black power” movement that was simmering at the time. “White America is detribalizing,” he observed in his characteristically prophetic fashion, “and black America is re-tribalizing.”

He said more, but the elegant imagery and symmetry of that statement has stayed on my mind ever since. McLuhan used the term “tribe” a lot. He spoke and wrote about “tribal man” versus “technological man,” for whom modern media are extensions of the self. In these and in other ways, he was far more often quoted than understood. But what he was saying made clear sense to me. It was the civil rights era. White America was relaxing its historic customs, institutions and traditions of white privilege. Black America, particularly my young generation—presenting cool but feeling very cautious—was turning inward, rejecting the melting-pot assimilationist values of our elders and reaching back to discover our roots in a place to which we never had been, a romanticized Eden called “Africa”—or in some super-righteous circles, “Afrika.”

Fast forward. Were McLuhan around today in the new media age of Twitter, Facebook, Google, Instagram and the cloud—and once he got through with his I-told-you-so’s—I believe he would observe something quite the opposite of what he said about racial tribes in the 1960s. He might well observe that African-Americans in the age of Barack Obama have been detribalizing while white Americans in the age of tea party politics are re-tribalizing.

Or maybe he, like the world, would be more complicated than that. In McLuhanesque terms, I have seen all Americans re-tribalize—as in, rearrange ourselves less strictly along lines of race or ethnicity than along lines of shared culture, values, interests and attitudes. Today’s tribes are less distinctly racial and ethnic than cultural and political. Such is the new neotribalism that has defined my career as a reporter and my past three decades as a columnist, from which the works in this book were selected. I’ve written a lot about race and ethnicity, but race only has been the most obvious marker of far more significant cultural and tribal relations in our society. Ambrose Bierce got the point with his dour Industrial Age definition of “the Conservative” as “a statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.”

———- [ snip ] ———-

McLuhan, who died in 1980 at age 69, had an idea of what was ahead. “The tribalizing power of the new electronic media, the way in which they return us to the unified fields of the old oral cultures, to tribal cohesion and pre-individualist patterns of thought, is little understood,” he wrote. “Tribalism is the sense of the deep bond of family, the closed society as the norm of community.” Had he stuck around long enough to have seen increasingly vast and diverse new political media and vast audiences tuning in not only to their own favorite opinion but also their own favorite version of facts, I suspect he once again would have said, “I told you so.”

Reprinted with permission from Culture Worrier by Clarence Page, Agate Bolden, September 2014. (Read the rest of this ecerpt at:


Along with tribalism and race, the author of this book should have included  identity and its loss, which was of even greater concern for Marshall McLuhan, who he cites throughout this excerpt. Identity and loss of identity are at the root of much of the violence and discord that we see in the world today. A McLuhan quote:-

 “The violence that all electric media inflict in their users is that they are instantly invaded and deprived of their physical bodies and are merged in a network of extensions of their own nervous systems. As if this were not sufficient violence or invasion of individual rights, the elimination of the physical bodies of the electric media users also deprives them of the means of relating the program experience of their private, individual selves, even as instant involvement suppresses private identity. The loss of individual and personal meaning via the electronic media ensures a corresponding and reciprocal violence from those so deprived of their identities; for violence, whether spiritual or physical, is a quest for identity and the meaningful. The less identity, the more violence.” – “Violence of the Media”, Canadian Forum, 1976

See McLuhan speak about identity on this video excerpt from Marshall McLuhan Speaks 

Any loss of identity prompts people to seek reassurance and rediscovery of themselves by testing, and even by violence. Today, the electric revolution, the wired planet, and the information environment involve everybody in everybody to the point of individual extinction.  - Marshall McLuhan

On the Media is a weekly one-hour National Public Radio program devoted to media criticism and analysis. See .

WNYC’s Sara Fishko left us with some intriguing questions [regarding Marshall McLuhan]. To answer them, Brooke speaks to Nicholas Carr about how Marshall McLuhan’s theories have held up, 50 years later. Carr’s latest book is called The Glass Cage: Automation and Us, and examines the impact of our growing dependency on computers.

Friday, October 17, 2014

GUESTS: Nicholas Carr     –     HOSTED BY: Brooke Gladstone

Click on the following to hear the interview with Nicholas Carr:


About Nicholas Carr:

  Nicholas Carr

From The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects by Marshall McLuhan & Quentin Fiore, Bantam Books, New York, 1967.

 Penguin Edition

You are invited to the launch of Rita Leistner’s unique book 

Looking for Marshall McLuhan in Afghanistan: iProbes & iPhone Photographs

The Time: October 29, 5:30PM to 8:00 PM

The Place: Alumni Hall, Victoria College, University of Toronto 


The Northrop Frye Centre, which is hosting the event, has asked that people rsvp if they can (so they will know how much food & drink to provide):

See website:

From a recent review:-

This book is astonishing!

Rita has an MA in Comp Lit, and she has written essays for other people’s books on conflict photography, but here she gets philosophical and whimsical in ways that will surprise everyone. She really takes the idea of photography as a communication technology and runs with it.

Here is what the back of the book says better than I can paraphrase:

“In 2011, Rita Leistner embedded with U.S. Marines in Afghanistan as a team member of the experimental social media initiative Basetrack. What resulted is Looking for Marshall McLuhan in Afghanistan. In this insightful and provocative, playful and original merging of theory and practice, Leistner applies the pioneering Canadian media theorist’s ideas on language and technology to contemporary warfare and increasingly ubiquitous smartphones.” ( )

Originally posted on Miss Rosen:

book-of-probes_i6 med_probes_sprd_1-jpg81zGOB8eVPL

“All the new media, including the press, are art forms which have the power of imposing, like poetry, their own assumption,” Marshall McLuhan observed. We live in a time when new media is so ubiquitous as to be omnipresent and the only escape from the world we’ve built is to be out of satellite range—or, even more difficult, to simply turn it off.

But we don’t because we won’t because, like the greatest pharmaceutical drugs, new media has rewired our brains to change the way in which we perceive ourselves and the world itself. The way in which we live has become so extreme that we are hard pressed to remember how we operated any other way. We take for granted the way in which these interactions create and define experience, allowing ourselves to fall under the spell, whether we want to or not. At a time when to…

View original 821 more words

Derrick, who used to work closely with Marshall McLuhan, is a Professor of the French Language department at the University of Toronto and of the Sociology department at the Federico II University in Naples, scientific director of the Italian magazine Mediaduemila and research director at the UOCDerrick de Kerckhove [was] Director of the McLuhan Program in Culture & Technology and Professor in the Department of French at the University of Toronto. He was an associate of the Centre for Culture and Technology from 1972 to 1980 and worked with Marshall McLuhan for over ten years as translator, assistant and co-author. He co-edited the book The Alphabet and the Brain (Springer Verlag, 1988) with Charles Lumsden which scientifically assesses the impact of the Western alphabet on the physiology and the psychology of human cognition. Brainframes: Technology, Mind and Business (Bosch & Keuning, 1991) addresses the differences between the effects of television, computers and hypermedia on corporate culture, business practices and economic markets. The Skin of Culture (Somerville Press, 1995) is a collection of essays on the new electronic reality. Derrick’s latest book,Connected Intelligence (Somerville, 1997) was launched in 1997.

This is an edited English translation of a recent interview in Spain taken from .


You started studying French language and Literature.

It was an accident. Actually, it wasn’t too bad. It cultivates your sensibility and you do become critically aware… you learn methods of looking and feeling. But I think I would have probably been a better architect. I loved being an architect, but I didn’t realize it was so good.

Afterwards you studied Sociology and new technologies.

That was an accident too. Now that I think of it, my life is nothing but a series of wonderful accidents. I was very much bored by French Literature and my wife, who was my fiancée then, said that if I was bored at the University of Toronto because you are only at the French department you are stupid. You should go and listen to the famous people here, who are really well-known around the world for being who they are. She gave the names of Marshall McLuhan, Northrop Frye and Robertson Davies. Robertson Davies was a writer, a novelist, and he was OK. Frye was a really famous literary critic, a big guy, but I didn’t find it that exciting. But McLuhan… that was amazing! I couldn’t understand anything he said. Maybe that’s why it was interesting!   …..

Let’s talk a bit about Marshall McLuhan. You consider him your master.

Absolutely. Without him I wouldn’t be here.

He said that “the medium is the message”. Does this mean that everything is done and said and we cannot expect anything new to appear in arts or culture?

No, what is happening now is as big as the Renaissance, and it could be much bigger. It is a big change of being. It is not just a change of mood or politics, it is a change of being. Exactly where we are going I am not absolutely sure, but we are exploring possible ways of being. Cinema is a good example, I call it “Pinocchio 2.0”: Blade runner is one example of being a replicant, Tron is going inside the machine, Avatar is going 3D into the screen and beyond, The Truman show is being the focus of attention of the whole world not knowing that one is such… I used to throw away the American cinema because of the happy endings and so, but no, they are very intelligent and they know what they are looking for. I have always been fascinated by the way we project our image.

McLuhan wrote also about the “global village”, and it was in the sixties, when no one could even imagine internet. Was he like a 20th century Jules Verne?

No, it was different. He discovered that teaching Literature to young American students was hopeless, they didn’t get it. So he questioned which was their culture, and he saw this advertising. He wrote a book, The Mechanical Bride, where he was actually analyzing pictures and asking the people what did it say to them. They thought that was interesting. And that’s how he began studying culture as an object of analysis.

The Skin of Culture


Derrick de Kerckhove lays the foundation for his provocative ideas by reviewing the roots of  literacy. Starting with the emergence of the alphabet, the reader is taken on a journey of man’s  quest to learn who he is and what he wants in an ever-changing universe. There is a full  elaboration on the more recent developments. He places us in the transition from an age of  broadcast technologies to that of a networked global environment. We are brought from the  collective mind, as influenced by television, to the convergence of individuals being productive  within a broader system. Empowerment, we are told, is now possible as a result of these new  forms of consciousness.


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