Community Radio

WRBP | Community Radio – Season 7, Episode 2: Coastline

April 3, 2022

Season 7, Episode 2
April 17. 2022
Theme: Coastline

One of our earliest episodes of Community Radio had the theme of Division. It was actually episode 7, season 1. And here I am in season 7, 18 months after that episode aired, thinking about one of the greatest divisions of all: the line between land and ocean. The greatest thing about it is how flexible of a line it is. In our world of binaries (on or off; living or dead; wet or dry), land and ocean remind us of the spectrums that exist; there is no clear demarcation when it comes to the border between these two. This is, of course, in large part due to the moon and its effects on the tides. And with the tides come collision, corrosion, erosion, change for the space between land and ocean which we call the coastline.

I am talking about this because of three coastline-related events that occurred on April 17. And of course noted colonizer and most famous man to say, “I know a shortcut” without actually knowing where he was going, Christopher Columbus, is part of this. On April 17, 1492, he signed the Capitulations of Santa Fe, an agreement with the Catholic Monarchs, Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon. This agreement dictated terms of the momentous voyage which began later that year, bridging the gap between the land of Spain and the Atlantic, between the Atlantic and the islands of the Caribbean, between independence and colonization.

32 years later to the day that the Capitulations were signed, Giovanni da Verrazzano reached New York harbor. His exploration of the Atlantic coast, and the harbor specifically, led to his name being attached to the bridge spanning that body of water.

And over four centuries later in 1961, the Bay of Pigs Invasion was launched. It is another example of the United States’ meddling in other countries affairs, with CIA-trained Cuban exiles landing upon the Cuban coast in the early hours of April 17th. This invasion was ultimately a failure, for reasons I don’t need to discuss here.

These events can be considered as specific moments of collision. Yet they are the result of thousands of antecedents, with thousands more of effects. Like the coastline itself, there is an interplay between objects: between groups of people; between countries; between eras. And certainly, there is an element of destruction.

But the coastline is a space of creation, of possibility, of beauty. We are changed by being there, straddling two worlds. So let us reflect on this most elemental of liminal spaces: the coastline.

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  1. I first thought the Beach Boys must be part of this show. Despite my second son’s feelings, I love the Beach Boys. Surfer Girl or maybe better Do It Again, but I started to think of my beach experience.
    I only remember going to the beach once as a child. Didn’t go well as I recall, no one liked the sand. When I got older and alcohol became important part of social life, the beach reentered my live. I live in Delaware and we have a magnificent beach, Rehoboth, with several side beaches including Lewes and Dewey. In my early twenties Dewey was the party beach, Rehoboth and Lewes more for families.
    Dewey was all young. No paid parking, no paid beach tags and you could drink openly on the beach. Then on to the biggest dive bar Bottle and Cork for music and dancing. It was a great way to spend a lost weekend. I look back on those times as some of the few times of my life that were just joy.
    But life has a way of changing us and things around us. The gay community was coming into it’s own and Rehoboth was one of the few places they could go and be themselves. But then came the money and big money it was. Washington DC only 90 minutes away found a way to corrupt this sleepy little beach town. Those little cottages we rented that no one knew how they stayed up or the mom and pop motels gave way to high rise hotels and multi-million dollars condos and houses. Then came the outlets and the white linen service restaurants.
    After thinking of the loss of that charming family beach town brought to mind one of my favorite Springsteen songs, 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy). The changing of a beach town and knowing that they didn’t belong there anymore.

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