The Medium Is The Message and The Message Is An Insult

In the 1960s, Marshall McLuhan said that social scientists should study the medium itself, not the content in it. He said that the characteristics of the medium dictates the message. He coined the phrase, ‘The medium is the message.’

In the 1960s entry to almost every kind of medium was controlled by the gatekeepers, so there wasn’t a whole lot of experimental stuff to see. There were a few counter-culture papers, but that was about it.

What would it be like, we wondered, if the gatekeepers who allowed access to publication were removed and everyone could say their piece?

Fast forward to today where people on all sides can speak to an audience.

And with what result? People have burned the bridges that connect them to people of opposite opinions. Politicians of all stripes have shown they are not statesmen: They too are caught in the fashion of hurling insults.

The medium encourages it, with isolated, insulated insults hurled by people whose intent is to cause hurt and pain. What pain are they in that they must give vent the way they do? What confusion swirls about them that they feel driven to do it? Will they grow tired of it?

Is this a blip on the road to a global village when we unite in recognition that we are all in this together? Whether kicking and screaming or dancing, it is going to happen.

A Week In Washington

In the US, Government keeps its hands off businesses for the most part and lets them get on with it. It is a big part of what makes the USA successful.

And it is businesses that erected social media, and businesses and not the Government that have banned Trump et al.

I guess Twitter, Google, and Facebook were in part outraged. And I am sure that in part they thought it was a wise move to ban Trump in order to avoid risking politicians questioning their claim that they are platforms and not publishers of content.

The story has not played out yet, and white supremacy may be on its last legs, or not. The day of the inauguration will go some way to answering that. So with the knowledge that things could still change dramatically, I think what happened in Washington shows the resilience of American democracy. In some countries the news blackout would have been total and people would have been picked off the street and ‘disappeared’. So all in all, a good week for the decent majority.