Marshall McLuhan on YouTube

There’s a great scene in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall in which Allen, overhearing a guy in line for a movie refer to Marshall McLuhan, produces McLuhan with the words “as a matter of fact, I have Marshall McLuhan right here.” It’s a hilarious bit of comedy. I can’t produce McLuhan, but I did find him on YouTube.com. I looked for him on YouTube because I wanted to quote McLuhan’s theory that every medium has a prior medium as its content. I’ve been thinking about which medium YouTube has as its prior content (more on this soon). To find McLuhan as content on YouTube, is, well, a bit Annie Hall… (sorry, it’s not the *real* McLuhan but only a trailer for a History channel special… the comparison deepens… is the internet a parallel medium to tv? Is an actor playing mcluhan in a video on youtube about a television program about a man who said the content of television is theater a simulation of the real thing quoted in a communication medium or a message circulated in the mass media sampled by a consumer and posted to the mini media or a marketing ploy by the mass media or is it simply the content of my post? things get strange in the mediated world…)

So, which medium is the content of YouTube?

“The electric light is pure information. It is a medium without a message, as it were, unless it is used to spell out some verbal ad or name. This fact, characteristic of all media, means that the ‘content’ of any medium is always another medium. The content of writing is speech, just as the written word is the content of print, and print is the content of the telegraph.” Understanding Media, p 8.

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