Marshall McLuhan, the Court Jester & Joker


“You mean my whole fallacy is wrong”, from Annie Hall (1977), directed by Woody Allen

“Marshall McLuhan was a skeptic, a joker, and an erudite maniac. He read too deeply from Finnegans Wake, had too great a fondness for puns, and never allowed his fun to be ruined by the adoption of a coherent point of view. He was dismayed by any attempt to pin him down to a consistent analysis and dismissive of criticism that his plans were impractical or absurd. His characteristic comment during one academic debate has taken on a mythic life of its own. In response to a renowned American sociologist, McLuhan countered: ‘You don’t like those ideas? I got others.'” – Wired 4.01: The Wisdom of Saint Marshall, the Holy Fool by Gary Wolf  ( )

“Technical critiques of McLuhan are somewhat beside the point. How does one logically attack a court jester, a man who declares the end of linear logic?” – Daniel Czitrom (1982). Media & the American Mind: From Morse to McLuhan, p. 128)

The Marshall McLuhan Estate has published 3 pages from the great man’s joke file on the Estate’s Facebook page (see and scroll way down). The first one below is of McLuhan one-liners, which McLuhan argued were all that listeners in the acoustic Electronic Era could pay attention to, because of their decreased attention spans in an environment of information overload; he opined that one-liners like this, often pun-intensive, at least those devised by McLuhan, had replaced the long form story line jokes. The second page below illustrates this obsolesced narrative style of jokes, a by-product of the visual era of print literacy.

(Magnify your screen view for easier reading.)

One Response to “Marshall McLuhan, the Court Jester & Joker”

  1. 1 More Gratitude for Postman and McLuhan – chad calease

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