I've always been a big Marshall McLuhan fan. As a young graphic design student the books created in collaboration with Quentin Fiore changed my outlook on what a 'serious book' could look like. They helped me understand that the designer is never neutral or passive to the content. So when I found out about this deck of cards "Distant Early Warning" via @openculture I had to see if I could get hold of a set.
Well it was much easier than I'd have expected and also rather fantastic. You can get them from Eric McLuhan's website (Marshall's son) http://ericmcluhan.com/ not only that but you need to email him to get them. So I ended up dealing with Andrew McLuhan (Marshall's grandson), talk about a family business. This gave the whole experience a wonderfully personal touch.
The cards are fantastic and are real playing cards rather than simply prompt cards. I think this might be one of the first examples of playing cards as a non military political/social tool. Military propaganda units have used playing cards since before WWII as a means to both identify and lampoon their enemies. Considering the publishing date of 1969, (when anti Vietnam War sentiment was high) I couldn't help but be reminded of the anti Gulf War cards released to counter the real Gulf War 'Most Wanted' Cards - Alternative Regime Change. Although there's no overtly antiwar messaging in McLuhan's deck.
There are some wonderful statements in the deck. It's full of the humour, sharpness and provocativeness that you can't help but associate with McLuhan. A fabulous object with several pithy statements that seem as apt today as ever, especially these 4:
Here's the link again to get your own pack: http://ericmcluhan.com/