Wikipedia Brown: ‘Rue Britannica’ (Part 2 of 3)
Back in September 2011, First Arkansas News aired the first (and so far, only) episode of Wikipedia Brown – a bit of modern audio theater that was a blatant rip off of Encyclopedia Brown and featured a teen detective who got simple facts terribly wrong.
First Arkansas News owner/editor Ethan C. Nobles wrote some scripts for the series, wrote and recorded a bunch of music and got some actors from the Royal Theater in Benton to supply the voices for the project. After hours of recording, editing audio and converting the first episode to that MP3 format all the kids are wild about, the episode was posted.
And that’s when Nobles found out that writing a radio script and producing an entire show are two entirely separate things. So, a second episode was partially recorded and never completed. Still, the scripts are funny as heck (at least the author thinks they are, but he’s biased) and might be worth posting.
So, that’s exactly what’s happening – all of the Wikipedia Brown scripts will be published here at First Arkansas News. We’re using the serial format to present the episodes — each story will fill three posts and will be published here weekly.
You can always listen to the first episode of Wikipedia Brown by clicking here.
The first installment of the first episode – Rue Britannica – was posted last week and you’ll find that here. What happened last week? Wikipedia Brown learned via a rant on YouTube that his nemesis, Britannica, was circulating a petition to shut off Internet access at local libraries. How will Wikipedia and his able assistant, Webster, thwart Britannica’s scheme? Read part two below to learn more!
“Well, we’ll just see about this!” Wikipedia declared as the YouTube video ended and Britannica’s smug image was off the screen. “Britannica must be stopped! If he has his way, we’ll be back in the 20th century before we know it.”
“Yeah, that’s just ridiculous,” Webster agreed. “I mean there are some good things on the Internet if you look hard enough. What should we do?
“Already on it, Webster old boy. Already on it,” Wikipedia said as he hunted-and-pecked away at his keyboard. “We’ll turn to the Internet and find our answers there. Now, let’s just look up “city government…
“…that takes us to mayors and mayoral powers…
“…and we learn that a mayor has approximately the same powers as a king!”
“I don’t think that’s right,” Webster said.
“Well of course it’s right! It’s written right there. Look!”
“Yeah, I see it. But, listen, Britannica has to generate enough signatures to push the matter to a vote. If he gets that, then the citizens of our fair city will decide the issue.”
“Wrong, wrong, wrong! Where on earth did you get such a ridiculous notion?”
“I paid attention during civics class.”
“Yeah, you remember. The class where they taught us about how the government works. You were there. You sat next to me.”
“Oh, yes. That class full of lies and outdated information. About representative republics and all that. Bunch of nonsense. The teacher was pretty, though. That Ms. West. Really liked her. Anyway, that was, like, a couple of years ago. That stuff is all obsolete. The mayor has the powers of a king. It’s written right here. You can’t deny that. The mayor is the key. I must pay him a visit and win him over to our side – if it’s not too late, of course. Are you coming?”
“No, you go ahead. I’ve got something to do.”
“Fine. I’ll go save our town from the Dark Ages while you organize your sock drawer or do whatever you’ve got planned.”
As Wikipedia heads to city hall, Webster’s doing a lot more than organizing his sock drawer. Look! He’s established the “Britannica is an idiot” page on Facebook and has promoted it through his blog. He’s also utilizing the power of that high traffic blog by posting an article telling his readers of Britannica’s plans and listing reasons why Internet access in libraries is a benefit to citizens.
His followers on Twitter have been informed of Britannica’s misguided goals. Webster’s drummed up support for his cause on community message board and he’s even convinced the editor of The Courier – the local newspaper – to pen an editorial asking citizens to not sign Britannica’s petition. Why, Webster is simply a flurry of activity – a social media, traditional media and blogging dynamo!
He’s done some research and has found out Britannica had only three weeks to get enough signatures to get his “no Internet in libraries” issue on the next ballot. The best way to beat Britannica, Webster decides, is to convince people not to sign the petition so he’s adopted that strategy.
Meanwhile, Wikipedia Brown has made his way uptown and has come across Britannica and his minions, err – associates – while en route to city hall.
“Young man, perhaps you’d like to sign my petition – a petition to get Internet access banned in all city libraries,” Britannica said as he approached Wikipedia.
“No. The Internet is good. You are a fiend. A fiendish fiend!”
“Well, well! Looks like we’ve got a little Internet boy on our hands!” Britannica hissed as his minions – uh, associates – hooted at and heckled Wikipedia. “You little punk. You think you’re pretty cool with your rock and roll and your Internet-based comics, don’t you?”
“Huh? What on earth are you babbling about? Anyway, I’ll stop you, Britannica, or my name isn’t Wikipedia Brown! I’m on my way to see the mayor right now and put a stop to your plans! You’ll see.”
“Why go through all that trouble, junior? We can solve all of this right now with a spelling bee. If you win, I’ll end my petition drive. What do you say? Oh, and you can’t use spell check, ace.”
Britannica’s minions (associates?) really enjoyed that and renewed their ridicule and giggling.
“Laugh it up, but you’ll be singing a different tune when I have the mayor toss you in the dungeon!”
“The dungeon? What? Never mind. Beat it, kid. You bother me.”
And so, Wikipedia Brown – more determined than ever – is on his way to city hall. He’s in luck as Mayor Wolfgang Coody had just exited city hall and is on his way to his car.
“Your highness! I do hope, my liege, you have some time to spare,” Wikipedia said as he ran toward the mayor (Coody tried to escape but was not successful). “There is a dire situation brewing in town…”
“Your highness? My liege? What?”
“What title should I use, then, your lordship?”
“Mr. Coody. Mr. Mayor. Either one will be fine. Who are you and what do you want, kid?”
“I am Wikipedia Brown, a humble citizen in your city. A madman known as Britannica is up to no good. He wants to ban Internet access from the libraries in our city. I want you to use your mayoral powers to put him in the dungeon and put an end to his fiendish scheme.”
“Oh, I know all about that Britannica and his petition drive. The dungeon? We don’t have a dungeon. We’ve got a city jail, but it’s not against the law to circulate a petition. If Britannica gets enough signatures, the voters will decide the issue. I think getting rid of Internet access in our libraries is a misguided idea that will fail, but it’s really not up to me. If necessary, I’ll gladly lobby against that Internet ban, but jail? Come on.”
“Then you won’t help me?”
“Kid, I can’t help you. I can’t throw someone in the city jail because I don’t agree with him. I don’t have that kind of power. Don’t they make kids go to civics class anymore?”
“Yes, I went to civics class, but what does that have to do with anything?”
“It has everything to do with everything. If you would have paid attention, you’d know I can’t throw someone in jail just for doing something I don’t like.”
“What I do know is that you’re the mayor and you have all the absolute power of a king. I think you’re just shunning your responsibility. Shame on you! A good mayor would identify his duty and do it without question rather than trotting out some nonsense about petitions and voters. Shame, shame, shame on you! Good day, sir!”
“What a strange kid. I hope he’s not old enough to vote.”
And so Wikipedia, dejected, heads home. Dinner is an unsatisfying affair as our hero can’t get his mind off of Britannica and the mayor’s apparent sympathy with the attempt to get the Internet banned from the city’s libraries. When he went to bed and finally fell asleep, Wikipedia’s dreams were haunted – he dreamed of a world in which there was no Internet. A world in which citizens were forced to rely on The Establishment for news and entertainment. Wikipedia tossed, turned and got precious little sleep.
Oh, no! Wikipedia dejected? The mayor is no help? Who will stop Britannica now? Drop by next week for the final installment of Wikipedia Brown: Rue Britannica!
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email = Ethan@FirstArkansasNews.net.