Natalie Orta, Assignment 2, Team 2

Natalie – Your writing is excellent. Well edited and concise. However, your analysis could have gone deeper into McLuhan’s use of the critical perspective.You have a good handle on McLuhan’s questioning commonly held assumptions. The betterment of society was only briefly mentioned, and your short paragraph on expanding the bounds of debate sounds a lot like challenging assumptions.

A better example might be his inclusion of the perspective of children in the debate over the problem of modern education. Rather than blaming children for doing poorly in schools (Why Johnny Can’t Read was a famous book of the time), McLuhan argued that the system of education was the problem. The perspective of children, that school was not “relevant” to their lives, had been ignored. He expanded the bounds of debate by including and legitimizing the perspective of a group of people that had been given consideration.

Thesis statement: McLuhan uses the critical perspective by questioning commonly held assumptions, expanding the bounds of debate, and aiming for the betterment of society. 
McLuhan questions commonly held assumptions by bringing up what people believe to be truths. He does this by contending that, “all media – in and of themselves and regardless of the messages they communicate – exert a compelling influence on man and society.” This is something that to this day continues to question the commonly held assumptions we all have. It shows how ahead of his time he really was. His viewpoint of technological advances and where they were and where they would show that people weren’t, and still don’t, pay enough attention to what they should be focusing on; in this case being that the fact that you can watch the local news live from nearly anywhere is much more important than what the news is, for example. He unquestionably makes sure to question what we know by shifting our focus to how we know it. 

McLuhan expands the bounds of debate by calling into question what we believe. The proof of his writing can be seen in his example of the printing press. People were so enamored by the idea that they could now read books they would have otherwise never been able to see and skimmed over the fact that there was now a machine that allowed this in the first place. 

McLuhan sets out to improve society by helping us see how important our surroundings are. We are living in an era of information overload, McLuhan’s ideology has us pay more attention to the things we use every day. He aims for us to improve ourselves and in turn our society by having us put our heads above the water to see more than that we’re so accustomed to. 


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