Deciphering the Message of a Medium, Considering Multiple Points of View

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Assignment: the purpose of this 3-5 page essay is for you to look critically at technology, using Marshall McLuhan and/or Chester McCovey’s writings.
You have two choices for this assignment: (CHOOSE ONE)
1. Write an essay where you use McLuhan’s idea that the “medium is the message” to do your own analysis of a technology (but NOT one that we’ve already talked about in class) MEDIUMS THAT ARE NOT ALLOWED: planes, cellphones, television, internet, no vague mediums. To do this, you will need to construct a thesis that makes a clear point about the unobvious personal and social consequences of the technology you choose (the “message” of this “medium”).
2. Write an essay where you respond to McLuhan AND McCovey’s ideas, possibly with your own analysis of a medium as support. To do this, you will need to construct a thesis statement that makes a clear point about BOTH McLuhan and McCovey.
You may consider the following questions as you develop your analysis: What have you thought about differently since you read McLuhan or McCovey? If you’re thinking about Option 1, how does this medium shape our behavior? How did this medium change the world compared to what came before it? How would McLuhan respond to it? What do you think about this medium, compared to McLuhan? If you’re thinking about Option 2, what are the positions of McLuhan and McCovey on technologies? Where do they overlap, and where do you see differences? What do YOU think about what each other says about technologies – do you agree, disagree, agree and disagree? What evidence do you have for your thoughts on their thoughts? Can you support it based on something you’ve seen or experienced around technology? As always, these are just questions to ask that might get you started in approaching this assignment, not an exhaustive list of questions you need to answer in your essay.
Helpful Hint:
The most difficult part of an analysis essay is going beyond just summarizing what you see in the sources you’re using. In order for your essay to be successful, you will need to look past what your medium is outright doing, or what McLuhan and McCovey are outright saying, and discover and analyze something deeper.
That said, it will also be critical to summarize and explain the ideas of McLuhan or McLuhan and McCovey to your reader, so that they can follow your analysis of those ideas. That means your essay, whichever option you choose, should include both summary and analysis.
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