Yesterday morning, I was returning home from shopping at my favorite radical left-wing politically active cooperatively owned vegetarian grocery store (San Francisco’s legendary Rainbow Grocery; the city’s finest unknown tourist attraction!). This took me past the intersection of Mission and 16th Streets, one of the major neighborhood transportation hubs of my hometown, where BART, Muni and two major thoroughfares come together to serve the Hispanic community. The intersection features two plazas diagonally across from each other, and on Saturdays the plazas become public speaking areas and gathering places.
On this particular Saturday, each plaza was taken over by a Christian evangelist, each one equipped with a microphone, speaker and amplifier, each one speaking in Spanish. I don’t quite know why two were needed in one location; two evangelists, same message, one location; wouldn’t two evangelists, same message, two locations have spread the word over a greater area and to greater numbers?
And these two gentlemen were competitive.
They had both turned up the volume on their amplifiers to as high as their equipment and the law would permit. Each shouted into his microphone as loudly as possible in an effort to drown out the other preacher. Unfortunately for both men, their amplifiers couldn’t take the stress and strain. The result was the same, at the same volume, for both men: the distortion coming from both of their speakers got so bad that their words and messages became completely unintelligible. The passersby whose hands were not burdened by their weekend shopping stopped up their ears to reduce the noise. Everyone walking past increased their pace to get past the distortion and decibels. The evangelists had gotten so loud that nobody heard a thing.
There’s a message somewhere in here.
Vonn Scott Bair