If you’ve gone into Google today, you’d have seen the above doodle and a ‘happy birthday’ message to one Marshall McLuhan.
And if you’ve done even the most minimal of media studies, you’d be familiar with that name.
Born in 1911, before television was even invented, and way before we would enjoy the wonderment of the world wide interwebs, Marshall McLuhan grew up to become a professor and philosopher in the modern field known as media theory.
His studies and findings on the effects of media on society (and vice versa) have had practical applications in modern advertising, marketing, promotions and even academia itself.
Known for coining the expression “the medium is the message” and the term global village, McLuhan was like the Nostradamus of media predictions, even having imagined the internet 30 years before it was invented.
He also went a bit ‘Andy Warhol’ with some of the things he’d say, such as “The public has yet to see TV as TV; broadcasters have no awareness of its potential” and “Advertising is the greatest art form of the 20th century”.
McLuhan’s name and theories were regularly bandied about in media discourse of the late 1960s, though his influence began to wane in the early 1970s when other theorists began challenging his views.
Decades after his death, McLuhan continues to be a controversial figure in academic circles, especially since the advent of the internet and the evolution of contemporary media concepts such as reality TV and podcasting.
Indeed, the medium may be the message but we just wanted to say Happy Birthday, Mr McLuhan, via that revolutionary medium you predicted all those years ago. Thank you for having us scratch our heads to this very day with half the stuff you waffled on about… Antonino Tati