The medium is the message.

What does the medium of a personal blog on the Internet say…

What would Marshall McLuhan think about the Internet? The obvious place to launch this inquiry:

Interestingly he crept back into my consciousness the other day watching an episode of The Sopranos. Which is sort of a circular pattern here. Currently I’m binging through the six season run of this television series. When it originally aired starting about twenty years ago I was not able to watch it. This was because I was busy with other things and watching this television series as an entertainment really wasn’t an option for me. Even when it became available as a DVD set or whatever, the cost would have been a factor in my passing over. Now I am in a position to acquire a copy of all the episodes and finally have the opportunity to watch it. Voilá, a blog topic.

A Google search for “marshall mcluhan refernce sopranos” and we are back to Wikipedia:

So we live in a world now where not only are these references made in the media, they are documented on the Internet.

One of the nurses in the hospital laughs at the U.S. Marshal sent to fix an electronic bracelet to Junior’s ankle when he mentions his last name is McLuhan. His professional name is therefore Marshal McLuhan, similar to the name of Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_Arrest_(The_Sopranos) retrieved the date this blog post was published, duh.

So that grabbed my attention. And my first thought goes to a Woody Allen movie, which maybe I can embed or link here, surely there is a clip on YouTube:

What a great scene. But what do these references in film and television mean, when they invoke McLuhan? In both the Woody Allen movie and the Sopranos they are used for comedic effect. Why had this Canadian philosopher become a punchline in a joke? This is one of those Canadian things right? I’m making fun now, but it is very difficult to put your finger on it. It’s very common to make some particular nationality the butt of a joke, but I don’t think that is what is going on here. Still it’s interesting since one of the main themes running through the Sopranos is the issues around portrayal of stereotypes. Italian Americans as gangsters front and center obviously. So maybe there is some underhanded sarcasm here.

So where was I going with this. The act of me writing and publishing on the Internet, the activity of watching a television series, and having that refer to one of the godfathers of media theory. What does it all mean? I don’t really know but I would like to keep exploring this.

Now it occurs to me what the difference is between a category and tag. I might create a category of media theory and write several articles there, but The Sopranos is not a category for this blog. It’s something I’ll write about again, so if I apply the tag “sopranos” to it, then I can link the various articles which may or may not fall into various categories other than media theory. I’m not sure if I am even comfortable with media theory as a category here, but I’ll give it a go.

What’s in a name?

It’s easy to order up a bunch of domain names and then do nothing with them. I purchased my first domain – newimprovedmeda.com – over twenty years ago now. I let it go, someone else registered it and then they did very little with it for many years. When they let it go I purchased it again for nostalgia sake. I’ll own some of these domains for the rest of my life. Some I may let go.

Speaking of names, the name I use for this blog and write with here is something of a bad habit. Too late to shake it now. We didn’t want to use our real names on the Internet back in the day. This one has stuck.

So I guess the question you ask yourself when starting a blog – AGAIN – is why do it? Exploring WordPress and seeing what it can do is one reason. What can it do? Store a bunch of text in a database. Display text on computer screens. Allow you to create categories and tags for the things you write about. I think I will categorize this post as “Meta”. Blogging about blogging. I am sure there are a few of those – blogs about blogs – out there.

Chinese. I want to learn Chinese. 中文。 That is something I will write about obviously. Another category. So self discovery through blogging. Self directed learning. It’s a thing right? Got to type somewhere and I am interested in a lot of things. Improving my ability to write being one of them.

Ok this is long enough. But where is the image? Every blog post should have an annoying stock image attached. Well here is a link to a relevant image:

It’s been around for a while, so should be there for you to click on for the foreseeable future. I posted a comment on it eleven years ago as I write this.

Today’s feeds

Escapes from captivity:

The first one I noticed about that man freed from Syria lead to his blog:

  • http://searching4sam.com/

It is somewhat inspirational, an ambitious project.

A book about Rewi Alley, the author interviewed by Kim on the Saturday Morning show today. I’ve heard him mentioned before but now I am more interested in his story:

The NZ China Society has some information on him, for instance:

I’ve been walking around house questioning my own motivations today in writing a blog. It is primarily a journal. A personal journal. So I wonder if I should move it to something like floydwilde.blog. I anticipate the name being confusing to those people who may encounter the site, and for the people I would like to direct here. Maybe I will look into it.

Audience

There once was this hard bound magazine. A real visual feast. Tactile as well, since it was hardbound. The musty waxy smell as you turned through the pages. They were already about twenty years old when I encountered them. They would be about forty now. Over forty I guess.

https://archive.org/details/TNM_Audience_magazine_subscription_offer_20180505_0047/

Unlike the Audience “workaday” staff whose median age remain 28.7 years old, as preserved by the Internet Archive.

We are they.

Today’s phrase for the day:

我们是他们 (Wǒmen shì tāmen)

Which is of course what I hear in my mind when I see or hear it:

They are us

他们是我们 (Tāmen shì wǒmen)

These are words and characters I’ve learned early on starting to study Chinese. Though I could still use some practice writing the characters. It’s a simple phrase, but I can’t help turning it around and around in my head. It’s a slogan no more or less dangerous, ok maybe less dangerous, that what is floating around America right now. Turning it around though, gives it a more sinister edge. We are them. We are the ones that let this happen. With our indifference and self indulgence. Is it though? Those are just words that popped out of my brain, I’m not saying they really mean anything. Bad things happen. Bad things perpetrated by misguided people. Who is doing the misguiding though? Is it they? Are they us?

My theory is to learn things you must experiment. To know something you must first not know something. Those people who are good at learning are not afraid of not knowing things. I don’t know so many things.

我不知道 (Wǒ bù zhīdào)

One thing I do know is how to say that.

Saying they are us is not far enough away from saying they are not us.

We are them.

I had no idea what I was doing, still don’t.

It was a website, yes. I payed $50 dollars to some third party to register the domain. I wrote about this here:

https://nimhq.net/?q=blog

Which was a Drupal site I am/was experimenting with. Like I said, I still have no idea what I am doing. But instead of trying to figure out, I’m just going to do it. Keep a regular blog. Post random thoughts. Just like everyone else in the world could do if they wanted to. Which is obviously not true, but I wish that it were.

So it has been 20 years now of not really getting how the Internet works. Let’s look at the way back machine:

https://web.archive.org/web/19990827022547/https://floydwilde.blog/main.htm

A hand written HTML site for the purpose of what? I didn’t really know. All I know is that I wanted a platform to publish my own art and to collaborate with others. I cleaned floors at night in the Electric Shadow Internet Cafe for computer and Internet access. It was an exciting time, learning about technology and doing something, and mostly failing to do anything productive. Which is fine. This is fine.

I remember making a few collages that I was happy with. Gosh, now a cut-up poem that I used bubble gum to glue the cut up words to a piece of paper comes back to my mind. That piece has been lost, but I held on to it for a while. In a big grey file cabinet I dragged around several places of residence. There is a suitcase full of items I’ve managed to hang on to. And this blog may be a place where I can examine some of these artifacts from my life. Why? Why not.