I gave a talk at Ohio State on April 24 titled “If Disability is the Medium, What is the Massage?” The venue was the annual Multiple Perspectives on Access, Inclusion, and Disability Conference. The talk is based on Marshall McLuhan’s 1967 book, The Medium is the Massage, itself a pun on his well-known trope, “The medium is the message.” I’m still working on the accessible text layer of the PowerPoint presentation, so I’m not ready to post it on this site.
One the slides uses this still shot from the 1977 Woody Allen film, Annie Hall. McLuhan plays himself in a scene in which Allen argues with an academically officious film professor who cites McLuhan while waiting in line to get into a movie. McLuhan steps in from the wings to tell the pedant, “You know nothing of my work!”
While planning the talk, I contemplated showing a video clip of the scene. Then a friend reminded me that I had a reputation for accessibility to maintain, and showing a clip without captioning would be unacceptable at Multiple Perspectives. In the end, I had more fun acting out the scene for my audience.
Here is the video clip, and below is a transcript of dialogue at the scene’s end (quoted in Douglas Coupland’s 2010 book on McLuhan, which reprises the “know nothing” quote in its subtitle.)
Coupland (p. 190) identifies the film professor who “blathers on about McLuhan’s media theories” as BORE in this transcript:
WOODY ALLEN: You don’t know anything about Marshall McLuhan’s work.
BORE: Really? Really? I happen to teach a class at Columbia called “TV, Media and Culture,” so I think that my insights into Mr. McLuhan, well, have a great deal of validity. WOODY
ALLEN: Oh, do you?
WOODY ALLEN: Oh, that’s funny, because I happen to have Mr. McLuhan right here. Come over here for a second?
WOODY ALLEN: Tell him.
MARSHALL McLUHAN: I heard, I heard what you were saying. You know nothing of my work. How you ever got to teach a course on anything is totally amazing.
WOODY ALLEN: Boy, if life were only like this.
And here, thanks to Ken Petri at OSU, are two sites where captioning can be added to the video, if anyone has the time , motive and tech savvy to make it happen.
Ken notes: “DotSub will do any uploaded video. Universal Subtitles will do Vimeo and your own hosted HTML5 video, as well as YouTube.”