Sunday, January 18, 2009

BabyBluePodcast: The Sound of Silence

Here is the latest Podcast, live from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, January 18, 2009. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered for the We Are One concert marking the kickoff of inaugural celebrations for the next President of the United States, Barack Obama.

The Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire, the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson, was slated to open the concert with prayer - but then things went awry. Podcast live on the scene as we experience the sound of silence. Hear the crowd respond.

You can click on the player above or go to iTunes and download it to your iPod or computer by clicking here . The iTunes Podcast is called Lambeth Podcast. You can also click here or here or here.

NOTE: To download the latest version of QuickTime, click here. Also, Firefox or Safari work best. MS Internet Explorer belongs in the Smithsonian next to the TRS80.

Please note that we've recorded this podcast as a Lambeth Podcast.

UPDATE: USA Today reporting:
Few people actually heard what openly gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson said as he delivered the invocation at yesterday's We Are One inauguration concert.

As Faith & Reason's Cathy Lynn Grossman reports, HBO's broadcast started after the invocation and Robinson's microphone wasn't turned on at first -- so most of those at the Lincoln Memorial didn't hear him either.

From the New York Times:
Reverend V. Gene Robinson, the openly gay bishop from New Hampshire who advised Mr. Obama on gay rights issues, gave the invocation. But his words were lost to hundreds of thousands gathered along the Reflecting Pool and those tuning in on HBO. A malfunction in at least one massive speaker tower on the south side of the memorial left tightly-packed crowds on pins and needles chanting thunderously, “We can’t hear. We can’t hear.”

In the impenetrable sea of people, concert goers near the tower traded ideas on how to draw attention to the problem. They would not miss history. On man called the Washington, D.C. Police Department, but got no where as he explained that there was no emergency.

Finally, Luke Taylor, 18, a student at American University from Charlottesville, Virginia scrawled a note on a poster in dark blue ink: “Speaker is off.”

He passed the SOS to the man in front of him, and watched as it made its way hundreds of yards toward the stage.

“We think it went all the way up, ” Luke said victoriously.

At today’s We Are One concert, at least for this moment, the crowd was united. By the time the time presidential and vice presidential families arrived on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at 2:30 p.m. sharp, the speakers were loud and clear.

The full prayer can be heard here from the press section at the concert (who had great seats of course!) courtesy of Christianity Today. We've learned that the mall speakers - where the hundreds of thousands stood - were not turned on until the end. You can hear the noise of the crowd at the start of Gene Robinson's prayer since we don't know what's going on up on the platform, but at the end, when the speakers were finally switched on, you can hear the crowd grow quieter to listen and join in the Amen.


Anglican Beach Party said...

LOL ... All I can think is that maybe Pete Seeger was up there with an axe and cut the microphone cable?

Anglican Beach Party said...

So, I was telling this story to my family at supper tonight, and my son (I couldn't figure out why) kept saying: Please say the microphone cut back on right at the end ... please say it cut back on!

I told him that it did.

He shouted, YES! Forrest Gump!!

I had forgotten the scene in Forrest Gump where Forrest gives a speech on the Mall in Washington, and the mic is disconnected until the end. All the crowd ended up hearing was:

... and that's all I have to say about that.

BabyBlue said...

Heh - in fact, when Tom Hanks was speaking as well (and no one shut his mic off) someone shouted out from the crowd to a roar of laughter, "Hey! Forest!" Oh well. Long memories.


1662 BCP said...

BB, Did you say that they hoisted an Obama cut-out up into a tree? That doesn't sound very politically correct. Do you think that perhaps Gene Robinson's fifteen minutes of fame are up?

Anonymous said...

For another chuckle, go to:

Anonymous said...

Any bets that Robinson doesn't post another blog from the fringe? The one written this morning seemed filled with such anticipation. He considered hijacking an invitation to offer a prayer, an opportunity for mischief.

I do believe we saw the hand of God in action this day.

The Underground Pewster said...

I haven't laughed so much since Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

BabyBlue said...

Before i turned on the tape, not realizing someone was up at the podium, a man in front of me said, pointing toward the platform, "Who is that? Is that a - a bishop?"


KAY4 said...

So, not quite lightening striking York Cathedral, but still pretty good!

Anonymous said...

I have just checked this out on Youtube and found that his "prayer" could be heard -- very clearly. Try "Youtube Gene Robinson Prayer" and see what you get.

Anonymous said...

I was there and heard the prayer loud and clearly - not to mention the huge thunder of applause and "Yea's!!" that people shouted when Bishop Robinson was announced. It was a great event - one of the most exciting things I've ever experienced. Herbie Hancock (Buddhist) should have been allowed to do more though! But, Pete Seeger was the BEST. What a blast!!!!

BabyBlue said...

Thanks for posting, Senator Biden.

Anonymous said...

Don't flatter yourself.

Allen said...

Ah Yes,
Here's hope. An alcoholic deceiver can rise to the ranks of respectability and be sought out by like-minded people who want a religion of convenience and comfort.
Thanks, Bishop Robinson, for such a stellar showing of how human debris can become the sure foundation of our time.