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.

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