How New York City Can Get Its Groove Back: Pleasure Principles

New York Times, June 12, 2005.

MARSHALL McLUHAN waited for the reporter’s lips, mine, in fact, to stop moving, leaned back in his seat in the rear garden of that year’s (1967) restaurant of the century, Lut?, looked up at a brilliant blue New York-in-May sky, lifted a forefinger and twirled it above his head in a loop that took in the 30-, 40-, 50-story buildings that rose all around and said, apropos of nothing anybody at the table had been talking about:

”Of course, a city like New York is obsolete. People will no longer concentrate in great urban centers for the purpose of work. New York will become a Disneyland, a pleasure dome …”

At that stage of his mutation from unknown Canadian English teacher to communications swami and international celebrity, cryptic, Delphic, baffling, preposterous predictions were McLuhan’s trump suit. Intellectuals argued over whether he was a genius or a dingbat. If the case of New York is any proof, however, the man was a pure genius…

New York Times