Assignment 2: McLuhan Critical Perspective

Rosy, your essay is very well done. Articulate, flowing. You touch on major tenets of the McLuhan doctrine.

I think the essay would have been even stronger if you had dived right into the subject:

McLuhan questions society’s assumptions, expands the bounds of debate, and aims for the betterment of society.





I think you can dispense with a lot of the stuff in blue below. Just go right for the heart of the issue.

You’re a good writer. This is just advice for future essays.


Rosy Ayala



Professor Pearson

Team 5

Marshall McLuhan was a Canadian philosopher, professor, and public intellectual that left behind the foundation of Media Theory. With his astounding insight, we use our knowledge of today’s technological advancements to decipher what he meant when he coined the term “the medium is the message” in the ‘70s. What’s made McLuhan’s teachings so memorable, and continuously relevant in today’s society, is his approach to mediums with respect to critical perspective in delivering his message. McLuhan invited questions towards his assumptions, expanded the bounds of debate, and aimed for the betterment of society.

After reading the 1969 interview by Playboy magazine, and listening to his 1977 ABC Radio lecture, McLuhan’s message remains the same: the form of a medium embeds itself in any message—influencing how a message is perceived. McLuhan does this by answering questions and understanding his demographics. His ability to connect to the audience is a demonstration of critical perspective—comparing and contrasting different attitudes and interpretations towards a subject. For example, in his ABC Radio interview below, McLuhan gives his perspective on radios, televisions, and the effect it has on literacy. McLuhan does not shy away from the audience, but instead questions and invites reporters to give their opinion, and to contribute to the conversation. Unfortunately, there weren’t any in the audience, yet this was an example of inviting inquiry towards his assumptions that “radio people are far more literate than T.V. people.”

With statements described as “pithy,” “simple,” and “provocative to the point of being outrageous,” by the ABC Radio host, McLuhan had no trouble expanding the bounds of debate. In the interview, a woman questioned that “if the medium is the message, and it doesn’t matter what we say on T.V., why are we all here tonight?” McLuhan reassures her otherwise, that what he meant was that “the message is quite independent of the program.” In other words, it is the usage of the product/technology (in this case T.V.) that determines the value, not the other way around         McLuhan has always promoted the betterment of society. He describes media as the “folk art of the 21st century,” and stresses media as “extensions of [the] physical.” Particularly in McLuhan’s Playboy interview, when his interviewer asks him why he is “attempting to dispel [media] and alert man to the changes in his environment,” McLuhan makes a valid observation. McLuhan emphasizes that society has a “rearview” perspective on life, and “if we understand the revolutionary transformations caused by new media, we can anticipate and control them; but if we continue in our self-induced subliminal [narcissistic] trance, [we risk becoming their] slaves.”

All in all, McLuhan’s foreshadowing has come to pass. Regardless of what critics had to say about him, McLuhan’s thinking utilized critical perspective to his advantage, and was never arrogant when questioned. His insight for media was far beyond his era, which is why he’s still such an important figure studied in media today, allowing us to question assumptions, expand debate, and recognize media’s effect.




Assignment 1 Rhetorical Analysis

Rosy, as it turns out, one of your two postings did show up, so you ARE

doing the right thing! Congratulations!

Excellent writing below. Intelligent analysis. I had a somewhat different

interpretation (see below), but I can see where you are coming from.

Also, you are on team 5, so you can send your future essays directly to

category five.


Using the rhetorical triangle, Chabris and Simons persuade us that our memory is not always reliable. Therefore, we should admit when we are wrong, apologize, and forgive others’ memory lapses.

HERE IS MY INTERPRETATION OF THE ESSAY: Ethos, pathos, and logos are used by Chabris and Simons to persuade the reader. These authors use logos (scientific research, facts, statistics, evidence) to argue their case that memory is faulty. They also use ethos (their reputation as expert scientists) to persuade us that they really know what they are talking about, so we should believe them. Finally, they end with pathos (human emotion) to persuade us to forgive our fellow man when his memory fails him. We all do it, so we should apologize and forgive.

Rosy Ayala



September 5th, 2018

Assignment 1 Rhetorical Analysis

As the article starts, the use of ethos is immediately used. Ethos—a Greek word meaning “character” and a characteristic acknowledging credibility, is apparent in the first sentence of the article “Why Memory Fails Us,” by Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel Simons. The first sentence states “Neil Degrasse Tyson, the astrophysicist and host of the TV series ‘Cosmos,’ regularly speaks to audiences on topics ranging from cosmology to climate change to the appalling state of science literacy in America,” promptly affirming his credibility and knowledge for the foundation of the article.

Tyson’s credibility is relevant, because as the article proceeds, readers take note of former president George W. Bush’s lack of ethos, and or credibility. Known as the punchline of countless jokes, the former president has been known to lack reasonable facts for many of his statements. When the former president addressed Congress after the 9/11 terrorists attacks, emotions were running high for the people of the United States especially after Mr.Bush made pathos-charged statements such as, “Our God is the God who named the stars.” Pathos—Greek for “suffering,” is the characteristic that describes evoking pity or sadness. This is important because Mr. Bush was using the high-charged emotions of tragedy (pathos) to his advantage, and unintentionally drive a wedge between people with differing religions, aimed indirectly towards Muslims.

When Tyson heard his former president make the statement, he quickly, and rightfully, reacted. The whole purpose of the article “Why Our Memory Fails Us,” is because the former president didn’t recall making the statement, but the fact that Tyson took the initiative to correct him online, with logic and reasoning—and or the use of logos—proves that Mr. Bush’s memory had failed him. Tyson used his knowledge of cosmology and astrophysics to educate his readers that the stars were actually named with Arabic names when Muslims led the world in Astronomy, while also reestablishing the importance of written history—making point that “when he was first asked for the source of Mr. Bush’s quotation, Dr. Tyson insisted, ‘I have explicit memory of those words being spoken by the president. I reacted on the spot, making note for possible later reference in my public discourse.”

Keeping Victoria Heffernan’s “Comment is King” article in mind, the density of comments of either political figures, or figures with any influencing-power is crucial in driving matters one way or the other. Since there was no other documentation of Bush’s quote, Tyson’s ethos was questioned by other scientists. Thankfully, in order to please and deter angry readers, the editors have allowed for the public to pin their favorite comments on the article. Tyson’s comment is the first of the picks in the “Reader’s Picks” section where he goes into fuller detail and recollection of events. This is truly a genius strategy on New York Time’s end to allow readers to decide on a basis of logos, the logical way of reasoning with the use of facts and recorded events, or even pathos and ethos. After carefully reviewing the comments, I am convinced that the majority of the audience has made informed opinions on the topic, and can conclude that memory is subjective and it is wise to record important events, lest one forgets.