Obama: The Message Is The Strategy

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Fifty years ago the brilliant and always challenging philosopher of communication theory, Marshall McLuhan, wrote Understanding Media, in which he exclaimed,  “In a culture like ours, long accustomed to splitting and dividing all things as a means of control, it is sometimes a bit of a shock to be reminded that, in operational and practical fact, the medium is the message.”

Marshall McLuhan

Marshall McLuhan

McLuhan propelled us, even inspired us, to look beyond the obvious.   With “the medium is the message,” McLuhan prompted us to pay attention to subtle changes in our societies and cultures, and to even faint changes affecting the medium, independent of content.  His entreaties prefaced the advent of the Internet, although he predicted its coming, and McLuhan forewarned us to pay attention to the creeping medium.  Today we find our lives completely invaded by technology, much of which we do not see and do not control.

As I listened to the latest salvos from this Administration’s teleprompters, I was struck by the continuing dearth of “content” and lack of meaningful strategy flowing out once again.  Even after almost six years of banality and platitudes, and sinking poll numbers, it remained too much to expect a consequential strategy from this Presidency.  The teleprompter didn’t fail to deliver feeble, “we are not exceptional” bromides.

McLuhan asked us to make distinctions between form and content.  How do we apply his insights to  Obama’s dumbed-down and numbing presentations?  Forget “the medium is the message.”  It seems that in the age of Obama, the message is the strategy.

Government’s first and most important priority is to keep the Nation safe.  Yet here we are.  A foreign policy which has completely failed its people.  A southern border out of control.  The whole Middle East in chaos.  China doing as it will wherever it will.  And Dictator-For-Life Putin disregarding foreign, sovereign state borders.  There is no determination. There is NO grand plan.  There is no leadership.

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The telepromptered speech is all the strategy there is.

McLuhan suggested, “Control over change would seem to consist in moving not with it, but ahead of it.  Anticipation gives the power to deflect and control force.”  This decade finds us slipping behind change. As many have observed, this Administration leads from behind.  The Nation looks forward to the arrival of a new Presidency.

 

A constituent of the vast baby boomer generation with a career which has been fortunate to know the ponderous corporate worlds, as well as the intimately pressurized, and invigorating entrepreneurial domains of high tech and venture capital, I have harvested my share of mistakes meandering through corridors of enterprise from Silicon Valley, to London and endless, colourful, sometimes praetorian points in between. The voyage has provided an abundance of fodder for a pen yielding to an inquisitive keyboard, a foraging mind, and a passionate spirit. Whether political or business or social or economic or personal, is it not all political? It is a privilege to write, and an even greater privilege to be read by anyone, and sometimes with the wind at my back the writing may occasionally be legible. I do not write to invite scorn, nor to invite respect, but if I get really lucky the writing can stimulate thinking. I also write for the very selfish purpose of animating my own processes, and engaging the best of what life offers. Above all, whether biting fire or swatting shadows, I am grateful to be gifted the freedom to write and publish whatever flows down to the keyboard. To all those who enabled this freedom, and to all those standing guard to preserve it, I am indebted.

6 Responses to “Obama: The Message Is The Strategy”

  1. 1

    Skook

    author

    “The message is the medium” Now that one line got my attention. I’ve never heard of McLuhan, but we have been living a nightmare version of his theory. This old story came back to me while reading this article.

    A conman always has a pleasing personality or else they couldn’t make a living. During my career as a horseman, I have known many of these two bit hustlers, they are pathetic specimens always on the lookout for someone who will fall for a story and be willing to lay their money down like a fool.

    Conmen, short for confidence men, have a method of endearing themselves to you and inspiring confidence in their abilities and character; yet in terms of reality, they are frauds, empty vessels without honor or integrity; who will let you down every time and leave you feeling foolish for having trusted them.

    http://floppingaces.net/2010/02/05/the-problem-with-a-manufactured-man-reader-post/

  2. 2

    James Raider

    author

    @Skook: #1,
    Skook, leave it to you to nail right to the heart of it, . . . absodamnedlutely! The glad-hander in the W.H. practiced on the streets of Chicago — as you say, . . . a fraud and empty vessel without honour or integrity, honing his skills as a conman. No substance, just a speech. Flash a smile, and teleprompter to the believers what they want to believe. He never did anything for blacks in Chicago. Now he does nothing for the Nation. In fact, he is placing America in danger, and destroying what little hope might have existed for the jobless.

  3. 3

    Budvarakbar

    @James Raider:

    No substance, just a speech. Flash a smile, and teleprompter to the believers what they want to believe. He never did anything for blacks in Chicago. Now he does nothing for the Nation. In fact, he is placing America in danger, and destroying what little hope might have existed for the jobless.

    The PERECT DemocRAT!

  4. 4

    Ditto

    @James Raider:

    No wonder the smoke, mirror and sound bite propagandists in the MSM, television industry and Hollywood are so enamored of Obama. He is The epitome of their art, their Facade Godling. They have been invested in creating the mystique and marketing of this arrogant figurehead since he first appeared on the public stage. His very arrogance mirrors their own self importance and has become a cascading, self perpetuating culture of personality. After all, their entire lives are built on the exaggeration of their importance. Nothing can be allowed to diminish deconstruct or detract from the imagery that they have sold to America, because to do so reflects directly back on their own delusions of grandeur. They are so emotionally vested in Obama that they don’t care about the lies he tells, because they all lie. The don’t care about what his pogroms will do to the nations because they are secure in the belief that it will never touch them.

    The bubble-headed solutions of Marie Antoinette were but mild musings, compared to Obama’s teleprompter-sonnet induced fainting and fawning by these Wonderland fantasy-blinded elitists, whom even the Hatter’s party would consider mad.

  5. 6

    James Raider

    author

    @Ditto: #4

    The don’t care about what his pogroms will do to the nations because they are secure in the belief that it will never touch them.

    There is little doubt that if any other President had done what the first black President has done and is doing, impeachment would be a serious discussion. Constitution? What Constitution? Laws? What Laws?

    There is plenty of evidence to also fault all those who give his empty “message” some legs, from the media to the Hollywood loons.

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