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REQUIEM

Below are the two final essays to be posted on Allegiance and Duty Betrayed. The first one is written by a friend -- screen name 'Euro-American Scum' -- who, over the past four years, has been the most faithful essayist here. He has written about everything from his pilgrimage to Normandy in 2004 to take part in the 60th–year commemoration of the invasion, to his memories of his tour in Vietnam. His dedication to America’s founding principles ... and those who have sacrificed to preserve them over the past 200+ years ... is unequaled. Thank you, E-A-S. It has been a privilege to include your writing here, and it is a privilege to call you my friend.

The second essay is my own farewell. And with it I thank all of the many regular visitors, and those who may have only dropped in occasionally, for coming here. I hope you learned something. I hope a seed or two was planted. But, even if not, I thank you for stopping by ... 25 March, 2010

12/06/2008

The Stranger

stranger1.jpg

A few years after I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was in town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around from then on.

As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me good from evil, and Dad taught me to obey. But the stranger ... he was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies.

If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future! He took my family to our first major league ballgame. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn't seem to mind.

Sometimes, Mom would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to the kitchen for peace and quiet. (I wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave.)

Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home ... not from us, our friends or any visitors. Our longtime visitor, however, got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush. My Dad didn't permit the liberal use of alcohol. But the stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly and pipes distinguished.

He talked freely (much too freely!) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing.

I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked ... And NEVER asked to leave.

More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first. Still, if you could walk into my parents' den today, you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures.

His name?

We just call him ‘T.V.’.

submitted by B4Ranch
(contributing Team Member of Allegiance and Duty Betrayed)

5 comments:

daveburkett said...

So true! If a human behaved the way "the stranger" behaves in our house, he'd be out on his ear. Yet we keep the infernal thing on day and night and allow our kids to watch 5-6 of programming a day. And the effect on our country over the past 5 decades has been devastating.

Very good points.

john galt said...

More than parents and more than education, television has molded the character of two generations.

And look where it's got us.

I say we go back to radio days, if it's not too late to undo the damage.

John Cooper said...

Great story, B4!

When the wife and I bailed out of the space program and moved up to the woods of NC, we didn't have "live" TV for over five years while we were building our cabin. We had a television set hooked to a VCR in our little travel trailer, and when we felt the need of entertainment we just rented a video tape.

In a weak moment, I broke down one Christmas and got us hooked up with a satellite dish. For the most part, though, live TV is still a real disappointment.

If it weren't for M*A*S*H reruns, Night Court reruns, RFD TV, and the Big Joe Polka Show, we wouldn't have much to watch.

cw-patriot said...

Excellent, Dave.

Like John and his wife, Rick and I have had experience enjoying a 'no television' time.

We took six of our summer vacations when the children were young on a remote lake in south-central Maine. The cabin had no potable water (we had to fetch our drinking water from a nearby spring), no television, no telephone.

We would spend our vacation swimming in the crystal-clear lake, canoeing, hiking, playing board games and card games, reading (sometimes to each other), etc.

Every year, on the drive home, we would all vow not to turn the television on anymore, 'except for special programs'. Even as young children, Dan and Mandy understood how much 'richer' our lives were without its influence.

But invariably, after a week or two, the number of programs we found ourselves watching would increase slightly each day, to point point where we eventually returned to 'business as usual'.

This is a great essay that only scratches the surface of the abominable influence television has had on every aspect of our society. It may even represent the most powerful contributor to our demise as a free nation.

Thanks. :)

~ joani

Anonymous said...

Even as young children, Dan and Mandy understood how much 'richer' our lives were without its influence.

Very interesting.