What it is, is positive proof that in the race between disaster and education – disaster is forging ahead. Trump is the first post-literate President of the United States. As Philip Roth notes, Trump is ‘wielding a vocabulary of seventy-seven words that is better described as Jerkish than English’
Now that’s pretty funny. And the media, the internet, is awash with scathing, humorous critiques of the new President and his entourage. But as we all laugh at these ad hominem attacks and reassure ourselves that we haven’t replaced thinking with laughing – have we paused to consider what it is we’re laughing at and whether we’ve stopped thinking while we laugh?
Before the Election, the television-viewing public was already consuming Trump; Waiting for his admonishment; Gratified by his judgement. Legitimised by his ‘You’re fired!‘ volleyed at an unfortunate contestant. There’s really no difference between that and firing Boeing or a Security Advisor is there? No more than there is telling Putin that he likes him and his product – and will back it.
So while we figure out whether the medium is still the message and whether or not we can somehow restore our attention spans to the degree necessary to withstand the media deluge – we’ll also need to re-establish our desire to have that same media at the forefront of the eternal struggle for decency and compassion. It’s either that or the noxious hybrid of an Orwellian prison hosting an insane vaudeville. And that’s no laughing matter.