Marshall McLuhan gravesite
Marshall McLuhan
Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery
Thornhill, Ontario
Canada



Marshall McLuhan's most famous and influential book, Understanding Media, first published in 1964, is still in print and widely available in several different editions. Try Amazon.com. This book is on the 101 Bananas Required Reading List for the Human Race, and the staff and management of 101 Bananas encourages everyone to read it. In 1994 a Canadian group called Radio Free Vestibule released a CD entitled "Sketches, Songs and Shoes." (Now out of print.) One track was a hilarious parody, sort of a spoken poem with musical chorus interludes called "The Ballad of Marshall McLuhan." It brings to mind John Wayne in "Stagecoach" or Gary Cooper in "High Noon":

Once upon a time there was a town
A town where chaos reigned
Lawlessness was everywhere
And there was no cohesive theory existing which properly
      explained the mass media and their impact on society
      and man's thinking
And then one day a stranger came riding into town
And all the townsfolk gathered 'round and asked him
      his name
Well he tipped his hat and he said,
"Marshall. Marshall McLuhan."

      Marshall....
      Marshall....

Well they gave him a star and put it on his chest
And gave him his own office with his name on the door
Well, wouldn't you know the very next day a fight broke
      out in the Last Chance Saloon
It was an argument concerning the externalization of the
      senses and it's subsequent effect on man's
      psychological makeup
It was about to come to blows when Marshall stepped in
And he said, "Boys, a theory of cultural change is
      impossible without knowledge of the changing sense
      ratio affected by various externalizations of our
      senses."

      Marshall McLuhan
      You're such a groovy thinker
      And we really dig what you say
      'Cause you've got the best insights into mass media
      This side of the Rio Grande

Well then came the fateful day when a tall dark man all
      dressed in black came riding into town
All the townsfolk ran inside and locked their doors and hid
And the bad man stood in the town square and he called
      out for Marshall McLuhan
He said, "Marshall, I don't agree with your description of
      television as a tactile medium in the context of a
      visual notion of causality."

So Marshall shot him.

      Marshall McLuhan
      You're such a groovy thinker
      And we really dig what you say
      'Cause you've got the best insights into mass media
      This side of the Rio Grande
      Marshall McLuhan....
      Marshall McLuhan....
      Marshall McLuhan....