Michael McLuhan on Being Raised by a Genius

27Mar14

 

Michael McLuhan, son of communications visionary Marshall McLuhan, shared an intimate look at his childhood with Toronto high school students [Marshall McLuhan Catholic Secondary School]

 Television, Marshall McLuhan proclaimed, was the most significant electronic medium of his time.

“It permeates nearly every home in the country, extending the central nervous system of every viewer,” he told Playboy Magazine in 1969.

What McLuhan didn’t mention, in between his mind-bending pronouncements on the differences between “hot” and “cool” media, was that for him, television was also a favourite after-dinner pastime.

In the evenings, he’d gather his wife and children to watch Perry MasonHave Gun — Will Travel and, on Sundays, The Ed Sullivan Show.

“Television was a family activity,” said Michael McLuhan, the youngest of Marshall McLuhan’s six children.

In a candid talk to a gymnasium full of high school students on Wednesday, Michael shared stories of his childhood as the son of the communications visionary responsible for modern media studies and aphorisms such as “the global village” and “the medium is the message.”

“I think a lot of us have already heard some of his important phrases or theories,” said 17-year-old Kaelan Brooke, a Grade 11 student at Marshall McLuhan Catholic Secondary School.

Brooke said the talk was a chance to learn more about the personal life of her school’s namesake.

To illustrate his presentation, Michael brought with him a collection of rare photographs taken in January 1966 by renowned photojournalist Henri Dauman for a profile of Marshall McLuhan in LIFE magazine.

The black-and-white photos, many of which have never been published, gave an intimate peek into the daily routine of the media prophet, who was 54 at the time.

They show Marshall shoveling snow off the front walk of his Toronto home; skating in Nathan Phillips Square; sitting with students at his office at the University of Toronto; lying on the living room couch, a beer bottle balanced on his chest, books stacked along the back of the sofa.

A natural speed reader, Marshall would blaze through a dozen books a week, Michael McLuhan said.

“Today he would be considered a pathological workaholic,” he said.

His father was a fervent Catholic and would rise at 5 a.m. to read from the New Testament in several different translations. Through the routine, he taught himself about eight different languages, Michael said.

“He knew an awful lot about everything.”

Michael McLuhan recalled being joined at dinner by such 20th-century icons as architect and inventor Buckminster Fuller and cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead. (Read the rest at http://tinyurl.com/l3ngqpa )

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Related – see also:- Rare Photographs of Marshall McLuhan Revealed, Portrait Presented to School   

Michael McLuhan, son of the late Marshall McLuhan, presented a slideshow of never-before-seen photographs of his famous father taken in 1966 by master photographer Henri Dauman for Life Magazine. He was invited to visit Marshall McLuhan Catholic Secondary School on March 26th.
Artist Shelley Adler presented a portrait of Marshall McLuhan to the school, which was established in 1998 and named after Marshall McLuhan, a communication theorist who spent his life exploring media and communication in our culture. The school’s curriculum focuses on the use of information and communication technology.
Mr. McLuhan delighted students and staff with stories of his life with his famous father, giving students and staff a glimpse professional and private life of the icon and man of deep faith. (See pictures at https://goo.gl/4I2Suk )
 
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