This particular list had some of the truly golden oldies with selections from such greats as Bing Cosby and Frank Sinatra. One song caused a momentary work stoppage. It was a recording that was put to what was known as a “V Disc” according to the voice coming over the airwaves.
According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, a “V-Disc ("V" for Victory) was a morale-boosting initiative involving the production of several series of recordings during the World War II era by special arrangement between the United States government and various private U.S. record companies.” The voice I was hearing identified itself as “General Reynolds of Special Forces.”
The sound and tones of the production – the narration especially – were that of the classic radio broadcasts of the era. As the narration gave way to an introduction by Frank Sinatra with some wonderful words of appreciation and inspiration for the troops overseas, my mind wandered to what the experience was like back when, for better or worse, individuals had a much, much more limited selection of communication vehicles and even of vehicles (e.g. channels or stations) within a given vehicle (radio or television)? What was it like to be part of a nation that, even if everyone in your house, neighborhood, city, or state tuned in to a different station, odds were pretty good you would find a fair number of people who had watched the same channel? And I couldn’t help but think that the nation had a much stronger sense of a collective conscious back when common denominators were much more common. That perhaps we were a stronger nation when we had broadcasts instead of podcasts – when we collectively and consciously came to the tables in homes, at coffee shops, and in school rooms, at the same time from the same vantage point rather than the multitude of disjointed, diatribes coursing across the digital spectrum these days.
After sharing words of encouragement and offering a Christmas blessing, Frank crooned a classic carol, no doubt aimed at bringing war-weary veterans together. I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of remorse for a nation that grows increasingly more individual and increasingly less indivisible. It’s not so much the “I” inspired technology that saddens me as the philosophy that is either propagating it or being propagated by it.