An AR Essay
RADIO NEEDED IN A DISCORDANT LAND
Angel Fire, N.M.
April 14, 2011
IN THE LAND OF LIBERTY -- And dissent filled the Land.
So it was that the Party of Tea and the People of Me sent out word that the funding of the Kingdom should be halted, the monuments and parks closed, and the Knights of the Realm, squires and mounts, go without food and water. It was at a time of sadness.
But the Prince became aware of the magic picture show of a decade or so earlier, and the Silver Lantern Screen made appear the "Radio."
The Radio beheld the image of Edward of Harris and Cuba Gooding the Younger. A tale, yea it be a true one, about a man and a boy. A coach and a lad. The viewers beheld the Province of Carolina the South, in an Age just beyond but still within the memory of James the Crow. There was tension and turmoil, yet teaching and tutoring and training and love.
And the Prince saw the Silvered Screen and observed the story unfold. It was a timeless tale, yet seemingly forgotten in time. It was a time when exceptional people were still unlearning the themes of hate from their youth in the jousting fields and hearths of home and struggled to do better.
The Radio foretold and reflected on other times in the Land, when People of the Dark Skin often walked in fear of harm. Fear of what was said. Fear of what was unsaid.
Although the Prince well knew the Purpled Pomposity and Prose of his Court, the excuses always seemed to cover a basic distrust of the People of the Dark Skin. Who are they? Where were they born? Can the prove it? Why should they ever be considered the equal of the Lords of Ivory?
And so the Radio went. Forgotten for many years, but reappearing for some in the Realm to again learn The Lesson.
The Prince recalled that half a generation earlier, when there was again a wave of hatred in the land, the spark was the Schism of Simpson. It was the Age of Orenthal James. The "OJay" who had thrilled the throngs in the Coliseums and Stadia, entered homes as a favored guest each Sunday on the Magic Box, and even starred himself in some Silver Lantern Screens.
Lo, he was accused of slaying a lovely damsel and her friend.
The Magistrates and Barristers and Solicitors all agreed it was the biggest case they had seen. Throughout the Land the subjects' eyes were glued to the flickering Magic Box in their homes, villages, castles, vineyards, fields, and shops. Even the Prince took note of the hypnotic impact of the trial on the Subjects, and joined in the speculation of the outcome. When the declaration of not guilty surprised some, and Orenthal James was exonerated, there was much mean speech and spitefulness.
Too often the conflict divided among the People of the Dark Skin and the Lords of Ivory.
The Prince waited for evil words and thoughts to subside and for the Subjects to return to their shops and furrows but it was not to happen.
At the time in the Age of Orenthal James the Prince would address his People each night when the clock struck 12, the Stars Shone or the Moon was High.
He tried to speak wisely and with wit, and the People listened over the Marconi Machine. Sometimes hey were turn it down so as not to awake the sandy-eyed wrath of spouses and offspring, kin and neighbors, lovers and sloths. Since it was late at night, the Prince could take much time, chat with listeners on The Ameche and learn of the Subjects who worked nights in Bars and Brothers, Fire Brigades and Food Emporia or patrolled the Realm as Guardsmen of the Peace.
One night when the talk on The Ameche again turned to Orenthal the Lords of Ivory stigmatized and stereotyped all People of the Dark Skin as such-and-such, who believed in this-and-that, and were scum because of something-or-other, and the Prince felt chagrined. This came after People of the Dark Skin had called to denounce each every Ivory visage and vowed to vehemently vex vindictiveness because of centuries of watch-a-ma-call-its, and whodunits-to-whom, and because of injustices caused by the grandfathers of so-and-so.
The Prince was sad and dismayed. His heart felt empty. His soul was troubled. And one night he ordered "Stop It!" When the Prince had first viewed The Radio troubadours and jesters Edward Harris and Cuba Gooding the Younger, it proved an old adage that the "amusement" was not really filled with myth and mirth, but fine instructions of The Lessons that need to be learned and re-learned. That is why The Radio reminded the Prince of the Age of Orenthal James. He had smiled quickly and also that he might someday tell Harris and Gooding that it was their finest work and they might sup together and raise a glass of wine.
But that would be for another day, and the Story must return to that sad night many seasons earlier... . On that night the Prince halted all calls and conversation on the Marconi Machine. He had a different idea.
The Prince would start reading the book of the life of a Beloved General in the Land. It was the story of Sir Colin Powell of The Kingdom of The Broncks. Sir Colin's family had fled New Kingston Isle for better times in New Holland and although he hailed from the People of the Dark Skin, he was honoured in War and in Peace and in the Halls of Highest Ivory, for achievement and fairness. It was a story not all had heard. That would change.
So night after night, week after week, and month after month the Prince read hundreds of pages to the Subjects listening in the Province of Florida the South. The Nobles who controlled the Marconi Machines and their distributions laughed at first. A few days later they balked and threatened to depose the Prince. Then they thought again and started listening, and wondering, and watching, to see if the climate of hate might change.
At first the reading of the pages of Sir Colin drew little interest. But on one Sunday the Tymes of New Holland printed something about what the Prince was doing in his far away Province.
Not longer after the Duke of Fox dispatched a Crier and Vision Crewe to make enquiry about this strange Prince in a strange part of the Land who was said to defile the conventional wisdom of the Marconi Machine with a nightly verbatim tale from a book.
The Crewe viewed the Prince and his reading and returned to New Holland with their report that it was a good thing being done.
And so when the readings were finally completed, the book was ended.
The Prince - a bit calmer, a bit wiser, and a bit hoarse - again opened the Marconi Machine to listeners and The Ameche callers.
The People of the Dark Skin and the Lords of Ivory still argued, but perhaps not so much. Sometimes they laughed. Sometimes they recalled the days of Sir Colin sweeping floors in a bottle factory. Sometimes they spoke of his service to the Land and his sacrifices along with his men in the Empire of Ho Chi Minh many oceans away.
At the stories of Sir Colin inspired dialogue on common interests and the things that were Great and Good about all the Subjects, and it seemed to the Prince, at least for those moments in time, that some of the hate had subsided. ` The Prince grew older. His Father E2 80 99s others sons and daughters took their honored places as leaders in the Realm, and the Prince spent his last decades reflecting with family and friends on what had been and what might have been. The Prince was wise enough to know his failures and frailties far outnumbered any small victories. It would be for others, alas, years hence, to judge lest the Prince imagine accomplishments that never were.
But in these times when the Prince and some others sense a new epidemic of deep and distinct hate. It was hate not for who you really are and what you really dream for you and your family, but for whom others "think" you are.
The Prince again reflected: had it not been for the "Radio" he might have let it pass. He might never have remembered the Age of Orenthal James, the Book of Sir Colin, and those times that seemed O So Long, Long Ago.
So now devoid and stripped of any power or authority, the Prince just told some old friends about the spirit imbued in The Radio and suggested they might want to watch The Radio and learn the lessons of Radio for it could be a good thing.
It was late. The Cougar and Rabbit were stirring in light pre-dawn snow.
The Prince had been awake all night troubled by watching The Radio, and not yet knowing how to spread the Word. He no longer controlled a Marconi Machine. His Heirs and former Subjects mostly laughed at his silly ideas and jokes and on good days were polite before they wandered through their own Lives.
The Prince finally dropped off to sleep as the Sun rose and awakened a few hours later. He noticed a moist spot on his pillow case. Then he remembered there had been tears in his eyes when The Radio ended and the Lantern went dark.