From A Saturn 4

“All My Trying Is Up, All Your Bringing Is Down”.

rudy carrillo
3 min read
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Authors note: these thoughts came to me as I traveled through town in my automobile, listening to the radio. I believe that I began to have these thoughts, transcribed here, to the best of my recollection, just as the song “Green Manalishi with the Two-Pronged Crown” (not the Peter Green/Fleetwood Mac version, but a ponderous one performed by Judas Priest) started playing.

Isn't radio obsolete yet? Radio as we have come to know it; isn't that trundled away like wooden wheels into the closet of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: finished like the telegraph and the phonograph and the hardwired telephone line? Replaced by the Internet, by satellite radio, by the quickly ubiquitous ipod? It is too easy to imagine and hope for the aforementioned “digital” sunrise, all of those new and shiny accoutrements of the early twenty-first century covering over some of the remains of what came before. It's progress, after all, transforming light and sound into numbers and then back again.

Our species' communications and recordings and our constantly sharpening facility with the tools used to manipulate those communications and recordings have evolved quickly within a one hundred and fifty year span. Interestingly, as radio in our culture has developed, it seems to have inexorably linked itself with an equally Darwinian reductionism to economic motives. Thus, the electronic medium becomes the electronic marketplace, and not necessarily a marketplace of ideas and cultural progress, either. This capitalism-infused medium of human expression has seen itself reduced from a cultural arbiter and enunciator to the homogenic homunculus of global communications conglomerates, a looming and bland giant which, while not so much dispensing propaganda, settles comfortably for exalting consumerism, pedestrian musical fare and populist politics. As radio has sought to compete with other rapidly evolving electronic media, it has lagged in every measure, except the economic. One might further argue that this has in fact limited radio's artistic and philosophical reach. The direction American radio has taken has exposed millions of Americans to a type of repetitive, shallow and ultimately dangerous form of communication that they have seemingly and sadly grown accustomed to, even as the money man inside the colossus dishes out endless commercials, diatribes against the left (read: any forces that oppose hyper-capitalism) and the one millionth playing of “Livin' on a Prayer”, sung by a shaggy-haired youth who has long since lapsed into complacency and acceptance, all prayers aside.

More Later.

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