Much of the discussion on the Republic National Convention (RNC) has been focused on words.
Melania Trump was caught in the word whirlwind when charges of plagiarism dominated the media early in the days following the RNC.
More interesting to me -- and better managed by the Donald Trump forces -- is non-verbal imagery as presented by Mrs. Trump. Her words matter less to Trump's supporters than her appearance.
The same applies to the rest of the sculptured Trump kids.
To understand what is going on, I recommend The Stepford Wives. The Wikepedia posting on the wives is very helpful to heighten your understanding of Melania Trump and the RNC in Cleveland. An excerpt:
The Stepford Wives is a 1972 satirical thriller novel by Ira Levin. The story concerns Joanna Eberhart, a photographer and young mother who begins to suspect that the frighteningly submissive housewives in her new idyllic Connecticut neighborhood may be robots created by their husbands.
The term 'Stepford Wife,' which is often used in popular culture, stems from the novel and is usually a reference to a submissive and docile wife. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, it was sometimes used in reference to any woman, even an accomplished professional woman, who had subordinated her life and/or career to her husband's interests and who affected submission and devotion to him even in the face of the husband's public problems and disgrace.
All the elements are there in the Trump campaign. In my pretend, updated version of the novel, the "idyllic" town in today's political climate, regrettably, is where there are no Mexicans or Muslims. Closets are dual purposed: clothing and gays. The maids who tidy the closets are Black.
Think I am exaggerating? Spend a few unpleasant hours on YouTube watching the roster of speeches that oozed out of Cleveland.
I am almost sure that Mrs. Trump is not a robot like the women in the book version of the Stepford Wives. I say this despite the sculpted face and the generally 1950s Playboy Bunny appearance that seems to defy human aging.
I am in dangerous territory when commenting on women's appearances. But I do so only in the context of the communications strategy behind the Trump brand. (If it is any comfort, there was an adaptation of the movie version called The Stepford Husbands.)
As I said, much of the talk since Melania's speech at the RNC has been focused on the plagiarism issue. While it is interesting in many ways -- ranging from how amateurish the Superbowl of world power has been to a tutorial on how not to handle a crisis -- it is the appeal to base male fantasies that I find more compelling.
And here the Trump campaign is less amateurish. They know their audience and its fantasies (aspirations?).
So far, the pundits have focused on the words of her speech. Effective communicators know that, while words matter, images are nuclear. They also know that logic and facts only go so far. At the 2016 version RNC, they don't play a role.
What really counts is emotion. The real question is "how do people feel?" It is not what is true that matters, it is what people think is true. Mrs. Trump represents a world they desire.
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