Weighing in or the media is the message

I am old enough to have read the Marshall McLuhan ‘s book The Medium is the Message published in the 60’s. What I got out of it is the idea that culture shifts when new technology changes the way things can be viewed, preserved or communicated: for example the invention of the printing press which occurred in Shakespeare’s time. The radical new ability to print his plays allowed us to save his great words. However, the modern audience is challenged by the intricacy of Shakespeare’s language. His contemporary audience (of mostly illiterate people) came from an elaborate oral tradition and their ears were trained to quickly pick up nuances of speech that go under or over our heads. So shifts in technology change our perceptions and the way we process information.

During this election period, I read the New Yorker that for months has run scornful articles about Donald Trump not mention disdainful cartoons mocking the man. However, I also read the National Enquirer (embarrassed as I am to admit it) and this gossipy vehicle ran vicious anti-Hillary and Bill stories in every issue. Apparently they knew who the true American public was and what they were feeling. And now we know who will be our next President.

These days we have fast, cheap, thrilling and sensational media often hidden from my generation (the readers, the radio listeners). The ways in which information is being communicated and absorbed is changing. I hope that my grandchildren will make better sense and think slower and deeper than it is appears that they are doing. The world will be in their hands.I am in mourning for a society that gave me (a poor female on her own at 16 years old) a decent chance to be educated and upwardly mobile. I am worried that this will be a hard time for the environment, indigent children and certainly for women’s rights.

I tearfully say good-bye to a President (however history will view his abilities to govern) who was dignified, well educated, respectful of women, cripples and old folks…. a man who stood tall.

I wish the best for my country and hope to find the best in every person I meet.


Claire L. Haye