Thus far the Trump presidency has exemplified exactly the opposite of these qualities. And it isn’t just the matter of the president shunning books. Like McLuhan, Postman knew very well that the medium is the message. The shift from a print-oriented culture to an image-oriented one threatens democracy because in order for the Great Experiment to work, it’s necessary that a certain degree of rationality be fostered among a reading public.

The tragedy of our times is the same as Ray Bradbury’s dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451. Like the character Mildred we have been conditioned to the Wall Screen and the White Clown. Trump signals the unfortunate reality that we will now vote for the shrillest voice over all the others.

Arthur W. Hunt III is Professor of Communication at the University of Tennessee at Martin and author of  The Vanishing Word: The Veneration of Visual Imagery in the Postmodern World (2003) and Surviving Technopolis: Essays on Finding Balance in Our New Man-Made Environments (2013). (Source: