The Ghost(s) of Marshall McLuhan

Here at Second Nature we’re celebrating Halloween and All Saints’ Day by channeling the ghost(s) of Marshall McLuhan. How you ask?

We’re reading the only e-mail Neil Postman ever sent in which he poses as the ghost of Marshall McLuhan:

mcluhan jackolantern

This is the Ghost of Marshall McLuhan speaking to you. I don’t have to tell you from what world I come. I am using Chris Nystrom’s facility in order to reach you. I will say what I have to say only once. You will not hear from me again unless you persist in your foolishness.

Continue Reading: One Email in a Lifetime: Neil Postman at The Constructive Curmudgeon.

We’re also reading the famous Wired interview with Marshall McLuhan, conducted via email 16 years after his death in 1980. If this isn’t a good ghost story, what is?

The fallacies of this interview with McLuhan are as follows: About a year ago, someone calling himself Marshall McLuhan began posting anonymously on a popular mailing list called Zone ( Gary Wolf began a correspondence with the poster via a chain of anonymous remailers . McLuhan (who would have been 85 this year) said he now lives in a beach town in Southern California named “Parma.” (This town does not exist.) One after another, tiny hints, confirmed by third parties close to McLuhan decades ago, convinced Wolf that if the poster was not McLuhan himself, it was a bot programmed with an eerie command of McLuhan’s life and inimitable perspective. After many rounds of e-mail, the conversation got down to the meat of the matter: What does McLuhan think about all this new digital technology?

Continue Reading: Channeling McLuhan at

Happy Halloween/All Saints’ Day!

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About the Contributor

Benjamin Robertson

Benjamin Robertson
Benjamin Robertson is a founding editor at Second Nature. He has worked in advertising for the Chicago Tribune and Gannett, and now is a web developer at Mediacurrent. He studied Communications and Media Studies under Dr. Read Schuchardt at Wheaton College in Illinois. He has presented papers on Marshall McLuhan, media ecology, and Christianity at the Media Ecology Association, National Communication Association, and the McLuhan's Philosophy of Media Centennial Conference in Brussels. He lives with his wife, Ruth, in Greenville, SC. His personal website is

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