Assignment 2: Dylan Adams-Martin (Team 2)

Dylan- I think you have a basic grasp of McLuhan’s central idea, but your writing lacks clarity. Try reading aloud to another person and ask them if they get it. Getting another perspective can be helpful. You might consider an appointment with the writing center in the library. You can schedule a 45-minute appointment, in-person or via Skype, with a consultant who can go over your work.

Thesis: Looking over the Playboy interview, the chapter from Understanding Media, and the lectures from class, it is evident that McLuhan uses critical perspective in his theories and explanations that the medium is the message.

This quote that “the medium is the message” is a perfect example of how he uses critical perspective by questioning common assumptions and by expanding the bounds of debate. His idea on how the medium has had substantial effect and impact on society in the way that we receive and perceive information that we receive on a daily basis. This is a tighter and more focused sentence:

Media has a substantial impact on society and an effect on the way we receive and perceive information.

McLuhan stresses about that the medium is the message because in most cases, the medium is more important than the content, the content just plays an ordinary role.

The readings go on and on about that today’s society only care caring about the content instead of the medium, and this would be where we begin to lose all the changes of understanding the message correctly. He goes into questioning common assumptions when he says that when we over stress the content and not the medium, we would be unprepared and stuck in the current period of technologies instead of making revolutionary innovations and inventions. Interesting, but not quite McLuhan’s point.

McLuhan begins to theorize that by placing most of the stress on the message and not the medium, we are going then to be oblivious when it comes down to the impact that new technologies are going to have on mankind. The way that we interpret the message when we see something on the internet is how we can impact the world instead of focusing on the content of that message. Media in today’s society can have a major impact for the society and the people in it.

McLuhan used example examples of how the radio and television industry shapes our concept of the consumption of information, and the medium itself would have an even greater impact on the society if we consume the right message in the medium instead of looking at the content.

McLuhan expands on the idea of “the medium is the message” and expands on the bounds of debate by claiming that our very own survival can be predicted on if or if not, we can understand the nature of our environment in these quick changing times. The media can portray the culture, values, and attitudes of society in a flash because of how easy it is to convince people when they are only skimming and not diving deep down.

He constantly uses critical perspective to show how easy media can change how we work, how it has shaped our life, and how media can keep on doing such things until we have a society can begin to see that the medium is the message, and the content can be very misleading. In my opinion, McLuhan barely touched on how “the medium is the message” aims for the betterment of society.


Critical Perspective: Team 21

Please proofread your essay.  There are quite a few errors here that could easily be remedied.  I suggest going to the Writing Center before posting for a better grade. I had a somewhat difficult time understanding your analysis due to the sometimes vague nature of your writing.  Also, please put your name on all assignments.

The meaning of having a Critical perspective is when an individual can gathering different views and attitudes from about a subject and then be able to compare and discuss them. This also means that the individual one is able to understand the idea behind the idea itself. Marshall McLuhan’s idea was “medium is the message” and his idea is presented using critical perspective. this idea is presented by him using critical perspective. (Good intro!!)

The medium that McLuhan speaks upon addresses is the information that we receive and how it has significant importance or substantial influence on our society based on we perceive it. He stresses that the way we receive information is more important than the actual information itself. This is why he expresses medium is the message, not the content itself. The content is inferior compared to how we receive the content. But our society thinks otherwise. (We don’t typically begin sentences with And or But, however here it works for me!) He states that we as humans tend to adapt to a new environment that the medium brings us like the internet. It had become accessible to everyone along with social media and messenger and became to evolve and changed the way that we communicate with other.

McLuhan emphasizes on how we receive new information because if we were to focus on the information only, then we will be missing out on the chances of perceiving and influencing the impact of new technologies on man. This idea is an example of questioning the commonly held assumption because he thinks that if we focus solely on the medium then society will be unprepared and stuck on the current stage of technology. (shorten your sentences) He compares technology as an extension of our own body and mind, and how we produce this self-numbing affect which hazes us from seeing what social affects the media has on us like the affected area on our body. (one thought per sentence) 

Within In the Playboy interview, McLuhan expresses that the electric media is the transformation of culture, values, and attitudes. This type of media is contributing to the expansion of the bounds of debate. Furthermore, which??? says that society’s survival is based upon the understanding of nature in our new environment because of electric media.

McLuhan aims for betterment of society by informing us about the impact of media has on us and the influence of our surroundings. He is trying to get everyone to see through his perspective and how he sees the world around us. I think this could be something key for this society going on.(awkward?) Also, he explains that how we communicate and react to media impacts our surroundings. In the past, our main way of communication was listening and speaking which proved that the dominant sense organ was the ear. Whereas now that the alphabet had been created and we had a print-based culture. In which McLuhan thought the printed word encouraged an emphasis on the visual. (these are not sentences!)

Anthony E. Orezzoli Team 1 – Assignment 1

Anthony – Overall, your rhetorical analysis is good. There seems to be a bit of confusion on ethos. Ethos is the credibility and authority of the writer (or speaker). Logical arguments can establish ethos, but so can pathos. The keys to establishing ethos are:
What are the qualifications of the speaker? What is their tone (measured and reasonable, or ranting and extreme)? Is the speaker honest in dealing with facts, or are they hiding things to make their case? Does their writing or speech show care and polish in grammar, spelling, and quality of prose?

Try shorter sentences for greater impact and clarity. Omit needless words. Usually the active voice is preferred to the passive:

When speaking, he is good. vs. He is a good speaker.

Your analysis of the comments was especially good.

Thesis Statement: Humans as a collective species tend to recollect memories in fragmented pieces. Psychologists Chabris and Simons take an approach appealing more towards logic and facts when unearthing information about how our fragmented recollections are altered, and how these changed memories can convince us that they’re true.  Good thesis.

Chabris and Simons meticulously observe Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson’s speeches to find that Dr. Tyson has been falsely quoting President Bush after his speech delivered for the 9/11 Terrorist attack. The authors use a tactic where they give credit to Dr. Tyson for being a well-known astrophysicist and television host for the show “Cosmos”, but follow up with information to prove that Dr. Tyson should not be considered a reliable candidate to speak publicly.  That may be a bit more than they contend.

The Authors also made it a point to tell readers The authors state that President Bush himself had “misremembered” what had happened after his speech for 9/11. Chabris and Simons begin relieving pressure off Mr. Tyson and talk more about President Bush to come off less biased to readers. Here it can be argued that the The authors utilize Ethos well enough as a sort of “cover” to their intentions through Pathos.Not clear how ethos fits in here. As previously mentioned, the authors are trying to discredit Dr. Tyson’s reliability as a public figure which can be seen as spiteful.

Both Chabris and Simons criticize that Mrs. Clinton has also been an influential person of interest that has displayed how fragmented memories can have an impact on what we believe to be true. Another way to write this:

Chabris and Simons note that Mrs. Clinton, an influential person of public interest, has also displayed fragmented memories. Such memories influence what we believe to be true.

The authors state that Mrs. Clinton was never fired at directly in Bosnia, but in fact, she was simply at a location where local altercations took place. Authors Chabris and Simons stay unprejudiced throughout their observations in the article Why Our Memory Fails Us as they continue to keep a tone of voice that follows reason logic and informational value. OK, that’s their ethos.

When observing how Dr. Tyson defensively responds to the this article, he begins his comment by being defensive and stating “It’s not often somebody’s OpEd begins with your name. Usually means you did something really good or really bad.”. In this quote, you can see he clearly uses Pathos in his text. Following the links he provides in his comment, you can also see that Dr. Tyson has no proof to any of his failed recollection. Dr. Tyson also chooses to excuse his lack of tackling any response with logos and would rather redirect the conversation to appeal to his knowledge of scientific information. Appealing to his ethos as a scientist.

Through a study of Keith Dow’s comment, you can unarguably notice that Keith’s tone of the text demonstrates that he has acted on Pathos. A study of Dow’s comment reveals his use of pathos. Continuing in his text he states “I think your memory of Bush being an intelligent person is faulty.” and proceeds to link reliable sources of President Bush’s text not making any sense. Mr. Dow may have acted on Pathos but follows through with Ethos to demonstrate that he has evidence to believe in his opinionated statement against Chabris and Simons.

Finally, in careful reading through Jacob Sommer’s response, you can see that his tone through text remains calm, relaxed and even carefree. Mr. Sommer takes an approach that correlates well with Ethos. Sommer’s tone is calm, reasonable, almost carefree. This establishes his ethos as a rational, authoritative observer. He seems to want fairness for everyone that has made a mistake in their memory. It can also be argued that Mr. Sommer may have acted on Pathos when you see the underlying message may be that he felt pity towards these influential people that Chabris and Simons had spoken about in their article. Good.

I think the NYTimes approach to ranking comments is effective because it allows subscribers to be exposed exposure to different points of view. The comments are dynamic in the way that each can represent a point of view in the rhetorical triangle and how each angle interacts with another. Good.

Assignment 2 by Jessika Lathulerie Group 21

Hi Jessika,

Your writing is a bit wordy. Try to be more concise. Please proofread your writings. Watch your sentence structure, word choices, and overall language. I realize this is some tough material to analyze but I would suggest writing short, clear, to the point sentences. Your sentences try to do too much.  I was confused about what it was you really wanted to say. Start simply and clearly and you will improve!

To have Critical perspective is being able the ability to have a different point of view that questions something’s (too vague) legitimacy and its facts. Marshall McLuhan’s main purpose in “Understanding Media” was to present a different point of view, a different way to view things where what matters is the content and how it is given but not the media itself.
The commonly held assumptions of media are whether the media is good or bad and whether it helps or harms, and Marshall McLuhan argues his point of view explaining how that is not what is important. He argues that the media can be assumed to be good or bad but that at the end of the day its information no matter if it helps or harms, is not what truly matters, what truly matter is how exactly they get that media to us.

In past generations the media producers of the media was were quite different, (run-on sentence) it has evolved overtime, (over time is two words – overtime is when someone works or a football game or something like that runs over)  it can be considered that even humans are producers  now due to technological advances. Televisions and radios would be examples of how media was projected to audiences but now a days (one word) or you could just say ‘but now…” because of social media, (no comma)  is spreading information is extremely easy (easily) and very common; although all these changes have allowed society to evolve in learning about different resources and spreading the information Marshall McLuhan believes that what is most important is the measures and how the media is actually gathered rather than the content that it is portraying. The way that we send and receive information is more important than the actual information. (run-on sentence, needs work)

“Every aspect of Western mechanical culture was shaped by print technology, but the modern age is the age of the electric media, which forge environments and cultures antithetical to the mechanical consumer society derived from print” – Marshall McLuhan. Technology and changes in the media impact society as a whole. ” It is impossible to understand social and cultural changes without a knowledge of the workings of media.” -Marshall McLuhan. These quotes are part of how Marshall McLuhan takes critical perspective by thinking more of the media, questioning it, and viewing it in a different way than others. He recognizes that in contemporary times it is very different than the society that derived from print. This changes affect our culture as well and different information reaches different audiences which is why he is more focused on how the information is sent rather than what is sent.
He recognizes that society is completely involved in the media which is why it is crucial to use it in smart ways and to try to see it in different points of views, to help society as a whole,  and to better it.

Team 1 Sebastian Saavedra

Sebastian – Remember that the assignment is analyzing how McLuhan did (or did not) use the critical perspective. Much of your essay is only about McLuhan and his ideas. You need to specify where McLuhan questions assumptions and expands the bounds of debate.

Try to spend more time editing. Watch your tenses (debate/debated, deliver/delivered). A lot of the writing is unclear. Try using shorter sentences to convey just one point or idea.

 Marshall McLuhan McLuhan’s idea of the medium is the message is an accurate critical perspective on the way we take information, especially as how this idea on communication was ahead of its time as Marshall saw that technology would take a big part in communication.

Marshall McLuhan‘s take on communication was big as his idea in the medium is the massage message explore people communication. Not sure what you mean here. The assumptions for of his idea are on how people take information, we could say that depending on the value of the information is how the person would react upon receiving the information. Not sure how this connects to McLuhan. It might be true that we might not care on about the information and only focus on how we delivered and get presented with information, but if the information we’re getting is either personal, in our interested or entreating then we would take that information different from something that is not in our interests. This should be 2 or 3 sentences:

McLuhan argues that what matters is not the information, but how it is delivered through media. But if the information we receive is personal or in our interest, we would take that information differently.

From this, we could lead to the bounding of debates regarding on the type of person taking the information as the medium is the message explain on the information part but not so much in the type of person that is taking the information. Not sure what this means. We could debate on the age of the person and how this can affect the information and how the person can send information. Also, this can be explored and debate debated on how a young person and an old person would react to information whether both are obtaining it together or how they would take it from each other.

As a betterment of society, we could say that Marshall McLuhan medium is the message can help people understand communication not only form from the past but also in the modern take as McLuhan was ahead of his time as he knew that in the future technology would be a higher (?) part of communication and the way we would send and take information. So, this can help us understand how to send information and delivered information. McLuhan the medium is the message is using critical perspective in the idea of the communication and information as it is true that we do not care so much what the information is, but rather how we obtain the message. Also his work on the medium is the message will always be used in the future do due to technology being part of communication but as well as culture being change on information on how people might take it.

As a betterment of society, we could say that Marshall McLuhan medium is the message can help people understand communication not only form from the past but also in the modern take as McLuhan was ahead of his time as he knew that in the future technology would be a higher (?) part of communication and the way we would send and take information. So, this can help us understand how to send information and delivered information. McLuhan the medium is the message is using critical perspective in the idea of the communication and information as it is true that we do not care so much what the information is, but rather how we obtain the message. Also his work on the medium is the message will always be used in the future do due to technology being part of communication but as well as culture being change on information on how people might take it.

Assignment 2 Chabelis Leal Team 22

Hi Chabelis,

Nice intro, body of post and conclusion. Your posting is clear and concise. Well-done.

Thesis: In Marshall McLuhan’s playboy interview, and his book “Understanding Media” he uses the critical perspective to present his major idea: The medium is the message.

According to the article “Critical Theory” by James Bohman, critical theory as described by the Frankfurt school “seeks human emancipation from slavery, acts as a liberating influence, and works to create a world which satisfies the needs and powers of human beings”. Critical theory is a social theory oriented towards critiquing and changing society rather than just understanding and explaining it.

In the “Marshall McLuhan interview from playboy, 1969” McLuhan mentions “if we understand the revolutionary transformation caused by new media we can anticipate and control them, but if we continue in our self-induced subliminal trance, we will be their slave” This quote is just one of the many examples of McLuhan using the critical perspective in one of his most famous ideas, the medium is the message.  Marshall McLuhan believed humans pay too much attention to the content rather than the medium it is being delivered in. Effective study of the media deals not only with the content, but with the media themselves. The medium has more cultural impact than the content that is delivering. For example, Facebook has had a greater impact on culture and society than all the content that is being shared on the site. (good point!) 

In McLuhan’s letter to Ezra Pound featured in his Rolling Stone (proper nouns are capitalized)article he states, “I should prefer to de-fuse this gigantic human bomb (technological culture and society) by starting a dialogue somewhere on the side lines to distract the trigger- men”. When he mentions trigger-men he is referring to people who use media to control and influence others. He uses critical perspective as an attempt to get people to understand how media is impacting their lives. He does not want humans to be controlled or manipulated by technology and media.

Overall, Marshall McLuhan uses the critical perspective when presenting his major idea, the medium is the message. He questions commonly held assumptions such as the content is more important than the medium itself. He believes the medium is what has an impact on society. During McLuhan’s time technology was nowhere near where it is today. The majority of his arguments expanded the bound of debate because people could not imagine a time when media and technology would control almost everything around us. Although McLuhan uses jokes, puns and humor in his theories, looking back at them now it is clear to see he was aiming for the betterment of society. He wanted to make humans aware of the impact technology has on our lives. If we were aware, we can anticipate and control them, instead of them controlling us.

Ursula Muñoz – Team 22 – Assignment 2

Hi Ursula,

Well-done! I enjoyed reading your post. Your writing style is solid and your analysis equally good. 

With his burgeoning ideas pushing him at the forefront of media theory in the 1960’s and 70’s, famed media philosopher and intellectual Marshall McLuhan became quite the cultural icon, earning him a rightful place among the discipline’s brightest intellectuals. Through the critical perspective of his “medium is the message” theory, McLuhan questioned commonly held assumptions about how we should analyze media, expanding the bounds of debate and aiming for the betterment of society

First and foremost, McLuhan uses “Medium is the message” to challenge the commonly held assumption that the messages put out by the media are more important than the mediums that they are sent from. People are so hung up on citing particular messages as evidence of their media literacy that they become mostly blind to the envelope of very particular wording and editing of these messages, as well as the mass outreach of the apparatuses that they come in. In other words, rather than criticizing Laura Ingraham’s rants as we so often do, we must consider the right-wing nature of her channel, the rhetorical and technical strategies that her program uses to appeal to a vast demographic, and the nature of broadcast news and television operations that cause programs like hers to have such a wide outreach. (this is a not a complete sentence) – (did you mean to have a comma instead of a period after the word ‘outreach?’ Because these variables affect us more than the weight of her ideology.

As a result of his innovative ways of thinking, McLuhan expands the bounds of debate through his incorporation of other disciplines. Be it historical and literary allusions or any one of the natural sciences, his theories engulfed a wide range of knowledge outside of the average conversations around media studies, and “medium is the message” is no exception. “My work is a depth operation, the accepted practice in most modern disciplines from psychiatry to metallurgy and structural analysis,” he said in a 1969 Playboy interview, in which he also used man’s history and his development of the phonetic alphabet to explain why he considered new technology to be a “revolutionizing agent” and explain how technology’s penetration of society goes on to affect every aspect of that society.

Because of all of this and more, McLuhan’s “medium is the message” theory serves to better society by offering a more effective way of consuming media and creating awareness of its effects on us. His critical perspective encourages us to be aware of the mass media’s vast influence over us. It is unfortunate that we don’t tend more advantage of such ideas, as it results in a general lack of knowledge and further subjugation of our society to electric media—a fear that McLuhan was right to have, even back in 1969. “They are becoming cyclops, desperately seeking to wallow in the book as they do in the TV screen,” he said of schoolchildren of that time, once again pointing to the effect of the format of media rather than the particularities of its content. At an age when we’re far past the rise of television and our technology is seemingly without limits, it is up to us not to become these cyclops and pay attention to how we receive information, rather than taking media messages at face value.