Marshall McLuhan’s Culture Is Our Business (1970) Republished



This new edition is in paperback format and is published by Wipf & Stock of Eugene, Oregon, with a Foreward by Eric McLuhan. This is from the Author’s Note to the original edition, published by McGraw-Hill in 1970 in hardcover:

This book is not about ads, but about our time. However, if some archaeologist in some remote future were to get access to the ads that appear in this book, he would consider himself very fortunate. Ads are the cave art of the twentieth century. While the Twenties talked about the caveman and people thrilled to the art of the Altamira Caves, they ignored (as we do now) the hidden environment of magical forms which we call “ads”. Like cave paintings, ads are not intended to be looked at or seen, but rather to exert influence at a distance, as though by ESP. Like cave paintings, they are not means of private but of corporate expression. They are vortices of collective power, masks of energy invented by new tribal man. 


Culture Is Our Business is Marshall McLuhan’s sequel to The Mechanical Bride: Folklore of Industrial Man. Returning to the subject of advertising newly armed with the electric sensibility that informed The Gutenberg Galaxy, Understanding Media, and The Medium Is the Massage, McLuhan takes on the mad men (a play on the ad men of Madison Avenue) of the sixties. Approaching commercial messages as unacknowledged art forms and cultural artifacts, McLuhan delivers a series of probes that pick apart their meanings and underlying values, their paradoxes and paralogisms, and their overt function as persuasion and propaganda. Through humor, satire, and a poetic sensibility, he provides us with a serious exploration of the consumer culture that emerged out of the electronic media environment. In keeping with the participatory ethos of the Internet that McLuhan so clearly anticipated, this is a book that is meant to open the door to further study, reflection, and discussion, and to encourage the development of critical reception on the part of the reader.

Imprint: Wipf and Stock   –   ISBN: 9781625648280   –   Paperback   –   336 Pages   –   Publication Date: 2/12/2015   –   Retail Price: $37.00   –   Publishers Listing

Endorsements & Reviews

“Culture Is Our Business represents an essential component of McLuhan’s body of work and provides an important contribution to media ecology, cultural studies, and media literacy. As with most of McLuhan’s scholarship, its value and relevance has only increased since its initial publication.” – Lance Strate, Professor of Communication and Media Studies, Fordham University, and author of Echoes and Reflections, On the Binding Biases of Time, and Amazing Ourselves to Death

“Here is an interactive playground a la McLuhan that takes you on a hilarious and revealing journey across Western, or better, ‘American Civilization.’ Reading this book is rediscovering the brave new world of (electric) advertising in its prime; most incisively, it suggests a tactic to escape the enchanting songs of corporate art to fully see the Emperor’s new clothes.” – Elena Lamberti, Professor of North American Studies, University of Bologna, and author of Marshall McLuhan’s Mosaic

One Response to “Marshall McLuhan’s Culture Is Our Business (1970) Republished”

  1. A true visionary, a modern day mystic,.thanks for post.from a proud Canadian just like himself.!!!!

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