Politics – Entertainment – Culture
WORD COUNT: 350 Words
Updated: date
Published: October 2016

Donald Trump and the death of private space

Writing from Toronto


Editor’s Note: Our guest columnist Mel Solman is a Montreal-born writer and teacher who lives in Toronto and has a great number of worried American cousins.

Open concept living space is the perfect metaphor for the times – the destruction of private space. Who needs a place where you can close a door, have a private thought, think, analyze, reflect, judge with evidence? Instead, just tear everything down. Everything open.

The implications of this mean everything is mixed and blurred. Show business and politics. Academia and popular culture. Open concept. No use for the evil binaries anymore – good and bad, truth and lies. Everything is open, confused. The living room, the dining room, the kitchen all run into each other. Who needs walls, privacy, and quiet places in which to be separate, alone and thoughtful? To envisage consequences for actions.

The late Marshall McLuhan, my University of Toronto professor who was internationally renowned for his studies about the effects of mass media on thought and behaviour, warned that this was coming. The loss of privacy and private spaces. The loss of spaces in which to read and think and the destruction of the desire to do so. No private space, no deep reading, no thinking, analysis, perspective, nor real understanding. Even those living areas with doors have huge flat screens. Not a book in sight.

“You can be very smart but have no brains” (as my grandma would say) applies to Rush Limbaugh and Fox News. They manifest the mentality of “open concept living space” – entertainment AND politics, expert AND showman. Worst of all, the standards applied to showbiz are blurred into the standards for political life. In other words, no standards. Anything goes. Kitchen and living room AND bedroom. Entertainment and politics.

And you reap what you sow. How many politicians in the past resigned for an error of judgment or for a horrible action or an intemperate utterance? How many think of doing so now when it’s all just showbiz – one big reality show of the vulgar, the immature, the stupid who “we the people” judge by television standards and expect little of.

Dare to hope people get the irony? Bring back the walls. Between politicians and entertainers. Between truth and lies. Between good and evil.

© Mel Solman. All Rights Reserved. Publication by 2012-2024.
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