By Donald F. Theall
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Additional resources for The Virtual Marshall McLuhan
4 Marshall's consciousness of his mission at the time, prior to the beginnings of the Ford Seminar, led to his producing a fluid-duplicated, usually one page, news sheet, Network, which he circulated by mail to his friends and handed out to his associates. Often he would come to our apartment to produce the ideas that were to form the handout, a precursor of such later items as "The Sheet" and the newsletter aimed at the corporate sector, The Dew Line. His growing interest in studies of language and art by anthropologists eventually lead to my inviting him and his wife, Corinne, to spend an evening with Carpenter and his first wife at our apartment where they could come to know one another better.
References to what he has to say turn up in work by major anthropologists and sociologists, futurists, government officials, and among executives all of which merely intensifies the myth of McLuhanism. He therefore becomes the objective correlative of what he preaches, a fact he himself illustrates again and again in references to himself in his latest work Culture Is Our Business (Theall 1971, xvi). Culture Is Our Business completes a process McLuhan began in earnest with The Medium Is the Massage, the process of converting himself into a mythology through conscious playing with his own previous work and his evolving public image.
When he arrived at St Mike's, McLuhan became the only lay member of the English Department, which primarily consisted of a handful of priests and three nuns. In 1953 I became the second lay member of this department; there were by then two or three other lay faculty in the Philosophy Department and one in languages. In this marginal and very quiet "backwater" McLuhan would meet Edmund (Ted) Carpenter, later editor of Explorations, and, through the support of his old friend Claude Bissell, then vice-president of the university and'starting in 1957 the president who made the University of Toronto into a major international multiversity, he and Carpenter would obtain a Ford Foundation grant of $40,000 and establish an ongoing multidisciplinary graduate seminar in culture and communications.