48-hour News Blackout: Veronica Martinez, Team #5

After throwing myself in a Twilight Zone of partial solitude, I realized how immersed I am in the culture of celebrity and connectivity.  good

Following a news blackout experience for 48-hours, my world was turned upside down. I underestimated how much I rely on technology and the need to know constant information around me, whether it’s from the local news to the latest celebrity gossip. I found myself desperate for any sort of digital freedom that could ease my mind after feeling a form of partial solitude during those incessant 48-hours. In the article, “The End of Solitude” by Deresiewicz, he mentions that, “Not long ago, it was easy to feel lonely. Now, it is impossible to be alone.” This quote stood out to me most throughout the article since it was relatable during those isolated 48-hours. As I disengaged from the digital universe, I was left mesmerized after methodically examining how people were able to function without social media or any form of technology in earlier times. 

Loneliness and boredom had never crossed my mind, but, after this 48-hour experiment of disconnecting myself, I learned that those two feelings make me nervous and unsettled. Deresiewicz states that, “Technology is taking away our privacy and concentration, but it is also taking away our ability to be alone.” I realized that technology acts as a substitute and distraction for things that should require more attention, such as building meaningful relationships and being more productive. The quality that validates us is the way we are seen by others. 

By blocking myself from my normal news induced lifestyle, I had ample time to reflect on my choices. I did not realize how immersed I was in the culture of celebrity and connectivity, defining every move I make throughout my daily routine. Like many millennials, I am constantly on social media and taking selfies. The thought of a day without Snapchat filters destroyed the way I operated, driving me to mere insanity. Only stepping away from my delusional bubble was I able to see my robot-like, technological consumed, life and it terrified me. Apprehensiveness, also, played a significant part throughout this 48-hour news concealment since I was unequivocally thinking of what might be happening in the outside world and how I was going to catch up with all of the information as soon as the end of the 48thhour strikes the clock. I filled in the gaps by spending time with my family and going outside more. By being absorbed by technology for so long, I never really paid attention to how breathtaking nature can be and it broke my heart. 

To conclude, the 48-hours spent in the digital Twilight Zone were brutal but, it helped me realize how dependent I am on technology and news. Having said that, it is also important to understand that news is a necessary intrusion of our solitude. News not only forms a connection with those close to us, but, keeps us connected with others around the world. 


very well done analysis, organization of thoughts and writing and references to assignment questions and readings.


McLuhan and the Critical Perspective: Veronica Martinez, Team #5

Canadian professor, Marshall McLuhan, demonstrates his use of critical perspective and a series of detailed observations on how media has revolutionized society, leading to the creation of the notorious phrase, “the medium is the message.”  excellent thesis!

McLuhan sufficiently questions commonly held assumptions while applying critical perspective in his 1969 interview with Playboy Magazine and his published book from 1964, Understanding Media. For McLuhan, what’s most important is not the content of the message but more, how men communicate with one another over time. Societies change throughout the evolution of media, not by the subject that is being delivered directly from the media. All media, from the phonetic alphabet to television and computers, have caused deep and lasting changes that have transformed the environment we live in, not the subject that was perceived by individuals at the time throughout those mediums. With this observation, McLuhan questions the commonly held assumption that what is important is the content and not the media that it is being delivered from. 

Although McLuhan believed that medium is the message, society, on the other hand, did not necessarily agree with this concept. He expanded the bounds of debate by introducing his idea that the medium itself is more influential and significant than the content that it provides. McLuhan states that, “The content or message of any particular medium has about as much importance as the stenciling on the casing of an atomic bomb.” In his interview with Playboy Magazine, McLuhan suggests that all technology has the property of the Midas touch. When society develops a new sense of itself, all other functions throughout society adapt and begin to accommodate its new form. This example illustrates a vital point that new technology and media revolutionizes, the content or message does not. Only by standing aside from any phenomenon, or in this case, new technology, to re-evaluate how it has impacted the current environment, can one discover and make sense of its true purpose. 

Aside from questioning commonly held assumptions and expanding the bounds of debate, McLuhan also aims for the betterment of society. The Canadian professor was always stimulating society to become more aware of what is happening around them throughout the environment. “…man must, as a simple survival strategy, become aware of what is happening to him,” McLuhan said. If we can fully comprehend the transformations generated by media, we can easily control them, but, if society continues in a media-induced trance, we will be held captive to its power. By sharing his observations and ideas, McLuhan allows society to view how medium can function through a new perspective.

In summary, Marshall McLuhan demonstrates his use of critical perspective throughout his observations on how media shapes mankind and the role it plays in society. His idea of how medium is the message allowed him to question commonly held assumptions viewed by the public in his findings, expand the bounds of debate for media’s purpose and aim for the betterment of society to allow mankind to evolve gracefully. 

Rhetorical Analysis: Veronica Martinez Team #5

Thesis Statement: Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J. Simons, authors of The New York Times co-ed article, “Why Our Memory Fails Us”, apply compelling arguments through their use of the rhetoric triangle.  great thesis

Authors Chabris and Simons delivered a series of compelling arguments in the op-ed article “Why Our Memory Fails Us”. Logos is evident throughout the article using facts and experiments that were presented to include rational appeal towards the reader. An illustration of logos conferred by the authors is demonstrated by their mention of an experiment conducted by two cognitive psychologists, Roediger III and DeSoto, on how well people could recall words from lists they had studied and how accurate they were in their recollections. Here, logos is apparent due to the logical reasoning and analogies used during the experiment on how well memory can function. 

Pathos is also apparent throughout the structured article. Chabris and Simons use examples of how people like Tyson, Bush and Clinton have been caught misremembering their past. The authors mention “Do our heroes have memories of clay?” which ties an emotional appeal towards the reader. Even people who are in power and looked up to by so many can have their memories “fail” them, making everyone susceptible to recalling the same event differently. Examples like these can make the reader not question why people like Tyson and Bush’s memories have failed, but how cases like these can make one feel a connection of being more human and relatable.

Chabris and Simons also demonstrate a use of ethos throughout the “memory failing” article. The authors mention how inaccurate witness recollections have become such a problem that an expert panel was called in to review the topic. The panel eventually released a report that recommended procedures to minimize chances of false memory and mistaken identification, including videotaping police lineups and improving jury instructions. Using this scenario, the reader can feel a sense of reliability and credibility since it was conducted by an expert panel and not based solely off of the opinions of Chabris and Simons. The mention of psychologist Bartlett’s series of “telephone” experiments also displays ethical appeal since the experiment was developed from a reliable source and expert testimony.

To conclude, Chabris and Simons used a tone of being direct with their readers and delivered a series of compelling arguments through their use of the rhetorical triangle. Logos, pathos and ethos were all demonstrated throughout the article showing examples of how each plays a part when it comes to how and why our memory fails us. Overall, the authors relied more on facts and studies than the emotions of their audience due to the consistent display of proof between experiments and logical reasoning.

The top three comments featured under the “Readers Picks” column demonstrate examples of all aspects of the rhetorical triangle. The first comment was written by none other than Neil Degrasse Tyson, one of the most mentioned individuals in Chabris and Simon’s article. Tyson’s comment demonstrates ethos in his attempt to create a sense of credibility and fairness, providing two links to his notes of when he discussed his comment about Bush in greater detail. The second comment illustrates the use of logos. Keith Dow mentions that Chabris and Simon’s interpretation of Bush being intelligent is erroneous, showing proof that verifiable quotes from Bush can make one question his intelligence altogether. The third comment, written by Jacob Sommer, uses pathos. The comment mentions how people make “honest mistakes” and how it’s okay to forget and acknowledge our mistakes as a whole, showing a sense of sympathy and understanding. 


excellent but 99 words too long (it’s ok for this one). be sure to practice concise writing.