Monday, September 4, 2017

BOOK: Marshall McLuhan by Douglas Coupland

Marshall McLuhan by Douglas Coupland, 243 pages
Extraordinary Canadians Series

The medium is the message

a global village

the impact of the internet

Coupland was probably the perfect author to write about McLuhan as he pushes the same limits and experiments with the medium as the famous professor. It may not be the proper way to write a biography, but I also felt like I got an insight into Coupland as well as McLuhan. (He includes a chapter from one of his books, Generation A "inspired by Marshall, in which the collapse of the inner voice - and the sense of self - collides with the eternal plane.")

McLuhan was weird. Very cerebral, gave lectures which involved him just talking and talking and then sometimes something profound happened. He didn't get along with many colleagues, and yet he did predict the effect of media and provoked new ideas. Quite honestly, I have very little idea what his ideas are about, but the fact that Coupland does makes me impressed even more with one of my favourite authors.

The book includes pages describing each of McLuhan's books on resale pages; famous phrases like 'the global village' and 'marshall macluhan' are anagrammed; paragraphs are re-written in different fonts. Coupland plays with form and conventions - just listing Marshall's friends and foes, for example. Coupland is even able to deal with some of Marshall's more extreme views, for example on homosexuality, without judging MM on today's standards.

If you ever wanted to find out a bit about Marshall McLuhan and why he is so famous among academic types, this would be a great place to start. Also for fans of Douglas Coupland.