Extraordinary Canadians: Marshall McLuhan
The importance of Marshall McLuhan and his communication theories cannot be overstated, but his written works—dense, at times even daunting—are more often cited than read. Nonetheless, his predictions have been borne out: in the early 1960s, McLuhan wrote that visual, individualistic print culture would be replaced by what he called "electronic interdependence," creating a new "global village" characterized by a collective identity with a tribal base. Novelist Douglas Coupland regards the celebrated academic as primarily an artist, a kind of performance artist offering profound but sometimes obscure insights into how technology was reshaping the world and its inhabitants. Coupland—prolific novelist, sculptor, visual artist, theatre performer—is a true child of McLuhan, whose body of work examines and often embodies McLuhan's famous aphorism that "the medium is the message." Written with his trademark humour and brilliance, Coupland's McLuhan is a revelation.