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 means everything is mixed in 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, mixed in, blurred. 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.
Marshall McLuhan, renown media guru and my University of Toronto professor of yore, 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 flatscreens. Not a book in sight. Make America great again.
‘You can be very smart but have no brains’ — my grandma Fanny’s wisdom–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 show biz 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? (Yitzhak Rabin resigned from the government in 1977 because of his wife’s illegal US bank account.) How many would think of doing so now when it’s all just show biz — one big reality show of the vulgar, the immature, the stupid whom ‘we the people’ judge by television standards and expect little of.
Dare to hope people get the irony? Build that wall. Between politicians and entertainers. Between truth and lies. Between good and evil.
Mel Solman is a Montreal-born writer and professor who lives in Toronto and has a great number of worried American cousins who want to move North.