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Did Gutberg help to wed the Estab and the Gospel?

June 8, 2011

In the semiannual journal Alphabet: Number Thirteen

(June, 1967) there are a few pages tucked inside. One of them

is folded in half, and below I’ve transcribed the writing.

It is in pencil, except for one paragraph at the end of page ‘b’

starting ‘the age of electric…’. which is in black ink.

Page ‘d’ is blank.





Why not say:
We are on the edge of a great
religious Renaissance?
a Natural reversal after
centuries of materialism
ie consumer Utopias
ie visual values of super-
ficial non-involv

The image of materialism
never stronger than in
the mirror of the new
elect age of info >
Satellites = super human
env around planet =
end of “Nature”
end of outer world in-
clines of people to inner
trip and mediation

Super human env of info=
planet as teach machine
calls for super natural
programming : Invites
us to recall an
earlier satellite that
announced the re-
programming of Nature:
The star of Beth:
The Incarn. as a new medium
conveyed a new message

The age of electric or all-
at-once ^ is the age of the
breakthro, of depth involv
It retribalizes man in the
image of The FAMILY

old          areas  new
To the ^ backward ^ the ^ electric
env spells POWER, just
as the old Civ. env of visual
detach and specialism
spelt weakness and alienation

In our own cities we see
This process of ^ power for
the weak in the behav of
children. It is the Estab. that
feels helpless.

cf clash bet Press coverage of
Vietnam and TV. The hot
med. leaves us uninvolved?
Literacy leaves The negro cold
not cool

The poor and humble heard our
Lord’s cool message
gladly, The Estab didn’t
get it. Did Gutberg help to
wed the Estab and the Gospel?


Thanks for reading,


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Mark Stahlman permalink
    June 9, 2011 8:19 am


    This a *very* powerful statement and an important find! Perhaps you have seen the last words of “Take Today” —


    What was important to him wasn’t just the Incarnation but also the Resurrection!

    As you know, your father Eric often talks about our being in a “renaissance” today, which he believes is part of a 400-year cyclical pattern (which I interviewed him about at the recent McLuhan Initiative seminar). Your grandfather also mentions multiple renaissances in his PhD thesis.

    The publication where HMM contributed the most (even more than in Explorations?) is called RENASCENCE. It was started by the Catholic Renascence Society and was edited by John Pick, who was HMM’s “godfather” at his 1937 conversion.

    Marshall contributed 36 articles/reviews and at least two speeches to Renascence and was on their editorial board from 1954-62. Unfortunately for McLuhan scholarship, this material is almost completely unknown. I will be guest-editing a Special Issue on McLuhan for them later this year.

    A “renaissance of religion” is exactly what HMM hoped was happening and, with the current shift from analog “electric media” to digital media, I suspect that he was on the right track.

    Mark Stahlman
    Brooklyn NY


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