C.A.T.: People’s Revolutionary Television goes online | Street Jazz

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

C.A.T.: People’s Revolutionary Television goes online

Posted By on Tue, Jan 6, 2009 at 3:05 PM

At long last, Fayetteville’s Community Access has gone online. Besides the fact that we (the producers) can now guilt-trip all of our friends around the world into watching or stuff - at least once - it actually means a lot more than that.

To check out the programming:

http://www.catfayetteville.org/

It’s in “real-time,” which means that whatever is on the channel at the moment - whether it be a talk show, music program, church service pr the message board - will be playing.

Until Cox Cable decided that Springdale’s Jones TV was the regional channel that everyone needed, Fayetteville’s public access channel - whether it be known as Fayetteville Open Channel, Access 4 Fayetteville or Community Access Television - was pretty much the region’s (well, Washington County, anyway) arts, entertainment, political affairs, and educational channel.

In fact, with all due respect to the folks at Jones TV, on their best week, they can’t match the diversity that is shown on C.A.T. And if you want to be a station for the community, Jones TV, you need to show some respect for the diversity in your town.

Of course, we’ve seen what Jones has degenerated into on many occasions: reruns of western TV shows and old movies.

C.A.T., on the other hand, continues to open its doors to anyone who has a story to tell, a song to sing, a poem to recite, or any other purpose one can find for the station.

And now, thanks to the Internet, those without cable can enjoy the programming if they wish.

I think it will interest many in the area into investigating C.A.T., and the possibilities that lay behind its doors. And the truth is, that of all the programs the city of Fayetteville funds, C.A.T. may one of the ones that pay off the most.

Not in ways that one can see, like the tax revenues from Bikes, Blues and BBQ, but in a more meaningful way, perhaps.

Because C.A.T. really is a living tapestry of the community, and by watching it, and seeing the views, and talents of people in our town, we learn more about ourselves than from a dozen pamphlets from any Tourist’s Guide.

******

Quote of the Day

Why is it that you can sometimes feel the reality of people more keenly through a letter than face to face? Is it because the letter is focused spirit while in conversation the dross of matter is too in evidence? The very body of the person is a barrier. One is distracted by outward things and loses the essence. - Anne Morrow Lindbergh, "Bring Me a Unicorn"

*****

All Hail the First Blogger

January 6, 1838: Samuel Morse demonstrated the telegraph for the first time.

****

Madman or Freedom Fighter?

It's hard to get a good grasp on the enigmatic John Brown, the abolitionist who led the infamous raid on Harper's Ferry, in the hopes of igniting a slave rebellion across the southern states. Most of what people know seems to come from "Santa Fe Trail" - an entertaining though grotesquely
inaccurate movie chronicling the early years of West Point graduates who later fought against each other in the Civil War.

If you ask someone with strong Southern roots, they may simply tell you, "John Brown was crazy." But other than that nugget of priceless information, they may be as clueless as anyone else about a man who embodies the troubled complexities of his age.

In "John Brown, Abolitionist: The Man Who Killed Slavery, Sparked the Civil War, and Seeded Civil Rights," David S. Reynolds makes the claim that while the Civil War was inevitable, Brown's actions helped bring it about that much sooner.

Of course, many southerners will calmly tell you that the Civil War was about "state's rights," usually without making reference to the fact that chief among these "rights" was the right to enslave men, women and children in conditions that were often nothing short of barbaric.

To understand Brown, one must understand the world in which he lived. The South was a conservative culture which saw itself as coming from aristocratic roots, and with an economic system blessed by God. Indeed, the Episcopal church - which today is one of the most progressive churches - was one of the staunchest defenders of slavery.

Reynolds has written a biography that deals not only with Brown but with the culture of both the North and the South. The puritanical nature of John  Brown's world view led him naturally to see the opposite of the teachings of Southern churches. He saw slavery for what it was, a cancer on humanity.

Brown began his violent career in Kansas, where he earned the moniker, "Pottawatommie Brown," following his actions against slave-holders who had been murdering and maiming those opposed to slavery. Realizing that pacifism was a lousy defense against folks who would cut your head off and laugh, Brown was essentially making the statement: "I've got your ‘‘Kum BaYa' right here, fellas."

Boy, were they in for a surprise.

John Brown proved that he could be just as cruel and ruthless as those who delighted in killing abolitionists. But his adventures in Kansas were not enough for him. Inspired by such slave rebellion leaders as Nat Turner, Brown hoped that an attack on Harper's Ferry would inspire local slaves to revolt against their owners. Such a revolt, he felt, could not help but have a ripple effect across the South, and slavery would come to a very bloody end.

To say that he miscalculated would be an understatement. John Brown was captured and hanged, along with several of his cohorts.

Brown's actions threw the South into what can only be described as a paranoid frenzy. Not only was he attacked by newspapers and politicians, but fearing slave revolts, Southerners indulged in a wave of killings that claimed the lives of slaves and Northerners alike.

And by claiming that Brown's moves were the acts of a crazy man, the South did not have to reflect on his motivations, or the larger issues that were at stake.

John Brown is a problematic figure, especially in the 21st Century. Who among us has not considered at some point that only violent action will solve the problems of society? The rational among us realize that violence is rarely, if ever, the answer. And in an age when abortion providers are murdered,, and killers like Paul Hill, John Burt and others openly invoke the name of John Brown in their defense, it's hard to look well on Brown's
actions.

Reynolds helps the reader to understand a time when the country was divided even more than it is today, and how the actions of one man were felt and debated throughout the whole nation.

rsdrake@nwark.com


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