Address at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York

February 22, 1967


Saratoga Springs, NY

When Marshall McLuhan told us that in this century, ” the medium is the message, ” he was doing more than merely giving us a phrase to go with “Keep the faith, baby.” He was, in my judgment, giving us an insight into modern politics, and a disturbing one, at that. For more and more, as our population increases, as the problems of our society become more complex, and as the cost of political campaigns continues to mount—it becomes more and more clear that the package is often more important than the product; that’s a perceived “image” of a candidate is often more important than what he says. This is one reason—I believe—why political parties are turning more and more to the pre-packaged, pre-sold candidate. In the state that brought movie making to a high art, this has produced the new phenomenon of the actor as candidate—and a successful candidate at that. I think this is no accident. The cost of campaigning has become so high that to make a candidate and his views well enough known in a state like California or New York is impossible without either a well-known personality or enormous sums of money.