Was Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) one of history's greatest thinkers?
Tom Wolfe, who met McLuhan in 1965, praised him in the New York magazine as a thinker on par with 'Newton, Darwin, Freud, Einstein, and Pavlov'.
Critics remained unimpressed, calling McLuhan a 'false prophet' and 'one-idea man' and his work 'pretensious nonsense' or at the very least 'slightly dotty'.
Since McLuhan's death in 1980, the advent of the Internet and the vindication of McLuhan's theories has led to something of a McLuhan renaissance.
He was declared 'Patron Saint' of Wired magazine in 1993.
"These new media of ours ... have made our world into a single unit....the world is now like a continually sounding tribal drum, where everybody gets the message.... all the time. A princess gets married in England and boom boom boom go the drums and we all hear about it; an earthquake in North Africa, a Hollywood star gets drunk...away go the drums again. I use the word tribal....it is probably the key word ..."
- Marshall McLuhan (1960)
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"Suppose he is what he sounds like, the most important thinker since Newton, Darwin, Freud, Einstein, and Pavlov ... suppose he is the oracle of the modern times - what if he is right?
- Tom Wolfe (1965)