Chuck Haralson and Ken Smith were inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame during the 43rd annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism
It's said that you can't pluck a flower without troubling a star. I think that means that there are always consequences. Everything we do has them, everything we say, maybe every thought we think. At every turn, they radiate away to ripple the ether, and each ripple represents an everlasting change in the status of all that there is.
I'd guess that most of these astral disturbances aren't very big. J. Robert Oppenheimer thought the ones he'd caused were, but I'm fully confident of the utter cosmic insignificance of mine. Mine, and Sen. Inhofe's, and Sen. Lincoln's, and Stringbean's before his untimely passing circa 1973. And so on.
Very small disturbances mostly, but if you focus on size here, you miss the point, and the point is elusive enough already. There might not even be a point. If there is, though, it's embedded in those ripples. It rides along on them light year after light year.
So it's not the size so much as it's the purity, or the quality, or the integrity of the message sent wafting off into the void, and, give us credit, we did once send out Bach medleys that will someday raise the hair on constellations' necks. We showed some class there.
But what got me thinking about this, in this wretched century we also send out, every day, like an effluent, this great spew of hooey swanked as discourse, such a torrent of it that it might eventually fill the abyss if that were possible. It's an embarrassment already, and it just has to be only a matter of time until some unsuspecting wookie or tribble or schmoo on the other side of nowhere captures a thread of this stuff and deciphers it, and spreads the word. From that point our galactic reputation is down the crapper.
You can't call these signals back. You can't edit the shameful out of them once they're gone. You might send a follow-up apology — if the love of decency were in you, you might — but nobody does that, and anyway the damage would have been done already. You don't get a second chance yodda yodda.
So spew is spewed, wave after wave of it unceasing, and when the telltale ET dish operator parsecs away and aeons hence locks on to the drifted Limbaugh thread and gets out his Universal Translation Device, the gavel of judgment will soon after fall on us earthlings. From then on, everywhere this side of the Delta Quadrant, we'll be known — and universally avoided — as a race of intolerable blowhards.
What irks me about this inevitability is that the stain rubs off on the whole human kaboodle, the good as well as the bad and the ugly — on William Shakespeare and Tiny Tim, on Albert Schweitzer, on St. Francis of Assisi, on Don Quixote and the Von Trapps, on Nita Webb and on Dancing Cory shaking his little YouTube bootie. Across the cosmos, till time runs out, by reputation they all become blowhards too.
Dicks with ears, B.C. Hall used to say.
And what hope is there of reclamation when the very next intercepted wave likely features Bro. Copeland hogging his Jesus cookies or a smackdown montage from the WWF?
It's just not right. An injustice stretching from here to eternity.
And meantime here's something else, not altogether unrelated, that sticks in the craw.
I mentioned somewhere back yonder the possibility that projected thoughts might agitate telescopically as surely as sound waves or light waves. I'm not sure I believe that, any more than I believe semi-literate cows hoof out those Eat Mor Chikn crop circles.
True, there are people so focused they can bend spoons, but I'd hazard that my brainpower is a right smart closer to the norm, and it's at a level that even on a good day I couldn't pretzel up Gumby. That's wattage too low to hurt a fly, but despite that, in this area our vaunted Judeo-Christian heritage won't cut me or my fellow feebs one bit of slack. For our piddly-ass thought-crimes and thought-sins it judges us every bit as harshly as it does truly heinous characters such as gay adoptive parents or bread stealers like Jean Valjean.
I know that this is so from my long and close reading of Bro-Dr. Billy Graham's newspaper columns. He contends we're all pre-judged guilty and can escape fiery doom only if we've played our cards right beforehand. A clever but altogether unconstitutional scheme if you ask me.
I might not take Bro. Billy's word for it, but Deacon Jimmy Carter avows the same, which I infer from his nolo contendere in Playboy for long ago having lusted in his heart after some unidentified Georgia tail. You're equally guilty for doing it or just hankering to, they think, and of course the Founder Himself concurs, having given voice to the idea in the first place some time earlier.
Something's gone all awry when it's all the same whether you yield to base temptation or resist it and behave yourself. That's only my opinion, though, and I have to admit it's daunting to be pall-bearing one side of the casket of a contretemps like this with the Lord, Billy Graham. and Jimmy Carter stolidly lined up on the other.
Bob Lancaster, one of the Arkansas Times longest and most valued contributors, retired from writing his column last week. We’ll miss his his contributions mightily. Look out, in the weeks to come, for a look back at some of his greatest hits. In the meantime, here's a good place to start.
Well, when the Bull was first put up there, it meant one thing, and that…