TORONTO – After getting back her essay in Critical Approaches to Literature, second-year English major Justina Chu noticed that, once again, the only comment her teacher’s assistant made was, ‘the medium is the message.’
“I was flipping through my paper on postcolonial criticism to find out why I got a 60,” said Justina. “But all I could gather was that the medium is the message.”
Sources close to Justina’s TA Erich Nowak report that Marshall McLuhan’s famous expression is ‘the only thing’ that the sixth-year English department Ph.D. candidate ever writes on the work he grades.
“Sometimes ‘medium’ is capitalized, and sometimes ‘message’ is, and sometimes it’s ‘the medium is THE message’,” said Samishka Dhunna, who had Nowak as a TA for a course on Victorian realist novels. “Occasionally he’ll double underline the whole thing or add a question mark at the end or, if he’s feeling artsy, enclose it a speech bubble coming out of McLuhan’s face. But the words are always the same.”
Nowak, who is in the process of writing his thesis ‘The Medium: Is it really the Message?’ explained his unique approach to grading.
“The medium is the message,” said Nowak.
At press time, Chu complained that her Intro to Philosophy TA keeps writing ‘to be is to be perceived’ on her assignments, while Dhunna’s Magic of Physics TA responds to all of her questions with ‘entropy is non-decreasing’.