As luck would have it this Sunday morning, I was up early working on my Marshall McLuhan project. I was trying to fathom what on earth he meant when he said that one medium contains another, and that other contained medium represents the message in his famous cliché/archetype, “The medium is the message.” Don’t even begin to think that message = content in McLuhan’s equation. Message = effects. The content is us.
So, the first media consumed after pondering McLuhan’s enigmatic koan was this marvelous video clip of Lady Gaga and 10-year-old Maria Aragon performing Born This Way. Maria had recorded a cover of the song in her bedroom in Winnipeg; as of this morning, her cover has had 19,245,026 views on YouTube. She realized every fan’s wildest dream when she was invited to join Lady Gaga onstage at the Air Canada Center in Toronto on Thursday night. Call it fan culture, call it participatory culture, call it one medium absorbing another – the effect is wildly moving, transcending the boundaries of fan and superstar, performer and audience.
I’ve watched half a dozen versions of the duet on YouTube, with attention ranging from 31 to 1,349,337 views. Each clip is slightly different in presentation and editing. Each could be analyzed closely in terms of McLuhan’s media effects. If you are looking for a doctoral dissertation topic built around Lady Gaga , go for it!
Thanks to Ms. Modigliani for pointing me to this. As ever, you are my paradigm for pop culture intermediation.
See the Winnipeg Free Press account of the concert.