Lily –

Excellent work!



Please see email for paper.


Week 2

Lilly –


Your summation, though brief, accurately states McLuhan’s idea of the medium is the message. However, the purpose of the assignment was to show how McLuhan did, or did not, use the critical perspective. Specifically, with the idea of the medium is the message, did he challenge assumptions, expand the bounds of debate, and aim for the betterment of society? This is all but ignored in your short essay. Your writing is excellent, but you have neglected to engage with class concepts and as a result have failed to complete the assignment.


The Canadian professor and philosopher, Marshall McLuhan, changed the way that we interpret information through his message, “the medium is the message”.

McLuhan liked to challenge the views of his audiences and their arguments. He changed the way we looked at media. Before him, people would take information that was given to them at face value. They would think in a more linear path. Marshall McLuhan paved the way for us to have a more radical view. Throughout his work, Marshall McLuhan showed in many cases that the way the message is presented is more important than the message itself, “the median medium is the message”. Mr. McLuhan used critical thinking and critical perspective to teach the public audience about media and its capability to influence them. How?

While researching McLuhan, he could not stress enough that what is being said was only a fraction of the entire meaning of the message. A possible revision: 

For McLuhan, what is being said is only a fraction of the meaning of the message.

He was a trailblazer for a lot of the advancement in how media was portrayed. In his Playboy interview he mentioned that the way we understand and react to the media and the information it presents is determined by how we are exposed to it. In understanding our environment, what is happening around it, and how it influences us then we can eventually gain control of it.

Week 1

Lilly –

Unfortunately, I don’t think you got the point of the assignment. The bulk of your essay should be an analysis of the rhetoric used by C&S in the article and the top 3 comments. You address this in the 2nd paragraph, and answer the question of the efficacy of the NYT ranking of comments. There just isn’t enough rhetorical analysis. 

However, your writing is excellent. You show what you are capable of with the superior work on your 48-hour blackout assignment. Make sure to look over assignments carefully, and ask questions of your coach (me) if you are unsure of what is expected. 

Thesis: Memories are fickle things that we rely on heavily, the authors of this article present us an example as to why we cannot rely on them. This is the thesis of C&S. Your thesis should be about the rhetoric they use.

What is rhetoric?  Rhetoric is the art of persuasion and discourse. Don’t need to establish that you know what rhetoric is. Just launch into your analysis. In Charbis’s and Simmon’s article, “ Why Our Memory Fails Us”, we are asked to deconstruct and dissect the rhetorical arguments presented by the authors. Again, no need to restate the assignment. Your coach knows what it is. We read about a mistake that Neil Degrasse Tyson, and astrophysicist makes in his TV series “Cosmos”. In the article, Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson mistakenly accused President George W. Bush for being prejudice towards the Islam community so that he may make a broader point about scientific awareness.When in fact, Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson just relied on his memory instead of referring back to tangible resources citing what the President actually said. In the article, we learn that often times we believe that whatever information we have in our memory is sound information that is correct. When in reality, as time goes on, we apply reductionism to the information that we retain. Reductionism is the process of explaining a form of information in its most simplified form.  Again, you are summarizing the article, not analyzing the rhetoric.

I believe that the tone that the authors wanted to portray in this article is informative. Meaning that they have a logos approach when they present this information. By taking this approach, the Charbis and Simmons do not play on the emotions of their audience. In fact, they made their approach very effective due to the fact that they were not biased. They presented the audience, the readers, with the information which allowed them to then debate in the comment section of the article. This is good, but you need evidence to back up your argument.

In the comment section of the article, the readers were able to “like”, “recommend”,  or “share” comments of other individuals. This is how the New York Times would sort out the comments from most popular to least popular. I feel that the way that the most popular comments are selected is a good way to coerce the audience to interact. The most popular comment was from Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson himself. The astrophysicist provided links that dive further in the situation that was used as an example for Charbis and Simmon’s article. The other two top comments either agree or disagree with Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson. But what rhetoric was used in the comments?

Individual Assn. 3 Lilly Cosme Group 2

Lilly –

Your essay was a pleasure to read. As an IR student you bring an interesting perspective. The essay is well-written and a clear explication of your argument. Impressive use of critical thinking in examining Deresiewicz’s thesis in your experience. Great job!

I believe that we are doomed to live in an inevitable state of limbo if we do not develop the discipline to manage our time between our life on the phone and our everyday lives. Good thesis.

Solitude is the state of being alone or isolated from the outside community. The question is, however, are we too dependent on interaction through technology or are we too isolated to interact with the outside world. In my opinion, it’s both, I believe that we are doomed to live in an inevitable state of limbo if we do not develop the discipline to manage our time between our life on the phone and our everyday lives. (2 sentences would be good here):

In my opinion, it’s both. We are doomed to live in an inevitable state of limbo if we do not develop the discipline to manage our time between life on the phone and our everyday lives.


In William Deresiewicz’s article, The End of Solitude, he states that solitude has changed through the years, and that technology and media has have almost caused the cessation of any need or desire to be alone. Deresiewicz states that, “the computer is creating a culture of connectivity… we live in relation to others”. Human beings are social animals. We need human interaction. In the article, we read that privacy is a thing of the past, and in some ways it is true. We, as a community, interact with other people virtually more than we would in person. Active voice is usually preferred:

As a community we interact with other people virtually more than in person.


We have the world at the end of our fingertips, and we utilize it without actually going out into the world. Good turn of phrase. So in this aspect, having Having privacy or alone time is virtually unattainable unless an individual goes out of their way to get it.

However, with all of this information supporting the fact that we are all connected and basically cannot be alone for long due to social media, we are also more alone than we think. In submerging ourselves into our phones and other electronic devices we separate ourselves from our everyday lives and everyone that we would normally be in contact with.

During the forty-eight hour news blackout, we were asked to refrain from receiving any news and to record our actions. Speaking for myself, I listen to podcasts, NPRs, and I also read theSkimm. In addition to all of that, I am constantly on social media and post almost once everyday. However, if I were asked to take a break from all forms or social media or news it would be no problem for me. When I went on this forty-eight hour blackout I was so swamped with obligations and errands that it did not phase faze me much. I did, however, binge on all the information I missed out on the days prior. I did not experience any solitude that Derewicz describes. Although, I did substitute my usual social activities with other faux social activities to fill the gaps. I would play games on my phone or just scroll through random notes or photos left in my camera’s archive.

Being a title holder that is heavily involved in pageantry and as an International Relations major it is imperative that we stay in contact with current events and develop our own opinions. It is so important that we stay connected to the outside world and know what is going on. But if you were to ask anyone on the street any current event, more times than most would these individuals not know what is going on. We take the news and how easy it is to access for granted. Personally speaking, technology is a tool that is wielded by the audience. We need it, but in moderation. I do believe that it is a necessary intrusion of our solitude. Good.