Trumping McLuhan

Today I read a blog about Donald Trump – that it’s words and not ideas that change us.  We don’t look for reasoned facts and big ideas, we look for factoids, catchphrases, and memes to express our heart and our emotions.  And our hearts rule us. 

Trump used small words to skip the hard work of structure and analysis, and in a few scribbles, spoken with passion and visual flair, he expressed big ideas.  Big ideas that are emblazoned on a generation.  We will spend years trying to analyze the structure of those ideas found in his speeches, while followers and foes will say they knew the idea from the start.

Do Donald Trump’s words and catchphrases really just mean what they “say”?  Or do you have to be in the crowd, in the spirit of the moment, to hear what was said beyond the “literal” meaning? 

Words tend to find the heart much more easily when they are attached to an emotion, a visualization, a medium.  In many ways the medium becomes as much a part of transferring the message to the hearer, perhaps more so than the words.

Maybe this election is just pointing out what Marshal McLuhan had prophesied years ago – “The medium is the message.”

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