You probably watched the Buffalo Bills-Kansas City Chiefs NFL game on TV recently. How would I know that? Well, I can say that with some confidence because I do know that the TV viewing audience was about 40 million in North America. That is right. It is hard to believe that that many television sets could be tuned in to a single event but it is so. It is part of the world in which we live.
Singer Taylor Swift didn’t hurt the audience. A world superstar dating KC’s Travis Kelce reaches out to people beyond the Xs and Os of an NFL game. The caliber of that game didn’t hurt things either. They are two of the best teams in the sport and the game was great.
What also didn’t hurt is the reality of what many decades ago Marshall McLuhan called The Global Village. Communications has done that. Television has done that. The world has become smaller. On that January Sunday afternoon, we watched the NFL. It is part of the reality of the world we live in. It doesn’t matter how many thousand miles away the game is or that it is in another country. It doesn’t even matter that there is no NFL franchise in all of Canada. The game and its popularity has spread around the world because of the “Global Village” effect.
That phenomenon foretold by McLuhan has us glued to our sets now for the American Republican primaries and the presidential election to follow. We watch to see if Donald Trump will get another shot at running for president despite his legal problems and bizarre behavior. We follow it as if it had something to do with us which in an odd and real sense, it does. There are at least five American television networks that are front and centre in our television universe in our living rooms here in Newfoundland and Labrador these days. We hear about the race to the White House as if it were our own national election and we get hourly reports on Biden and Trump and whoever else on what they are saying.
None of this is to say that this is in any way a bad thing. It isn’t. It just means we are involved in a bigger world. Just because I can see the world outside of Newfoundland and Labrador doesn’t mean I am losing my heritage. That is what I have been saying about television in Newfoundland for years. When CJON came to our screens we correctly billed it in our advertising as “Your window on the world”. That it was and that it is.
We have seen recently in St. John’s regular protests about the war being waged in Gaza by Israel. It is estimated that the number of Gazans killed since early October is in the neighbourhood of 25,000! There is in the world a mounting outrage in that whole situation, and it is because we have been brought together in the global village.
Many years ago, I had an English lecturer at Memorial University who referenced TV as the boob tube. He snickered at it. I would like to meet him today in our modern world of communications. Did he ever get things wrong. I will bet the house and farm he isn’t snickering now.
You can contact Jim Furlong at [email protected]