Nicholas Carr at TNR reviews Douglas Coupland’s biography of Marshall McLuhan. Here’s an interesting bit:

The central fact of McLuhan’s life, as Coupland makes clear, was his conversion, at the age of twenty-five, to Catholicism, and his subsequent devotion to the religion’s rituals and tenets. Though he never discussed it, his faith forms the moral and intellectual backdrop to all his mature work. What lay in store, McLuhan believed, was the timelessness of eternity. The earthly conceptions of past, present, and future were, by comparison, of little consequence. His role as a thinker was not to celebrate or denigrate the world but simply to understand it, to recognize the patterns that would unlock history’s secrets and thus provide hints of God’s design. His job was not dissimilar, as he saw it, from that of the artist.

So Marshall McLuhan was Catholic and it was a big part of his life. This, I think, gives a nice little heuristic device. We can read that fact as consonant with his most famous dictum: the medium–mass–is the message. Participating in mass is performing the truth. This is something I think of as fairly particularly Catholic (with a bit of it in Anglicanism) and specifically alien to evangelicalism. Here’s McLuhan in Annie Hall (or perhaps these are his most famous words…):

(via The Daily Dish)

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