Marshall McLuhan would have loved Super Bowl XLVII. Not that the Canadian had a particular taste for American football, but rather because this Super Bowl spectacularly featured a break down in the medium. A local transformer blows after several hours of hype and pomp, and the field is largely thrust into darkness.
Every time there are televised political debates, I repost a video of McLuhan on the Today Show in 1976. The debate between Ford and Carter featured a break down in the microphone amplification which thrust the circus into silence. McLuhan famously says in his Today Show commentary, “With the breakdown in the technology the audience finally got in on the act.” This is a popular McLuhan refrain, which can be best understood in combination with his assertion that all environments are invisible, like water to the fish.
When the lights go out, so do the microphones in the play-by-play booth and the TV audience sees the man behind the curtain, if only a glimpse.
If only the whole thing would have happened during Beyonce’s halftime show, we would have been treated to an even more spectacular revelation of the circus, but the show went on and in its own technicolor dream coat fashion wove a spell over its audience.
Truly a shocking development. Are you not entertained?