Friday, March 13, 2015

In 2015, the debate is the debate

I hope that all three of my regular readers are happy to have my analysis back for the upcoming election.  I don't think that this will be a long one, but I just wanted to offer some initial analysis of what directions we could be heading in.

 As all three of you know, I don't go riding by riding and have no interest in doing so. In fact, I hardly blog about Canada at all as I'm much more interested in the social construction and narrative than the blunt facts. For this election, it might sound pretty obvious to simply say that voters haven't made up their minds.  For one, they aren't even paying attention.  At least that's what the research and common wisdom says.  The narrative at play here not get too deep, not unified.  There are several stories all going on at once.  There is a view of the clash of civilizations very much playing out, and a view where human rights and freedoms trumps all else. There are different media versions and different worldviews contributing to this political confusion.

Where Harper says "Islamic Fundamentalism" others simply refer to "terrorism".  Similarly, whether it's "reasonable accommodation" or "being soft on terror" is also a symptom of the break-down in the once, unified view as portrayed by the media.

Something interesting is also occurring.  McLuhan's "media is the message" seems like pure description when one reads articles like what Andrew Coyne noted today , he said that context and language do matter when politicians speak to Canadians.  I couldn't agree more.  I also agree that they do have a moral duty to calm people down and not to needlessly frighten them.  But, what I want to note here is that the debate has gone from one of the issues to one of the narrative itself.  How we frame issues, the language we use, the stories we tell via the news and other media is, itself a big part of the news.  The media is the message indeed.  

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