Ex-Tractus from a Letter, by one Ben'j Franklin, Dilettante, Meddler In Affairs Foreign & Domestick, late of PHILADELPHIA, presently Ambassador to our great Allie, Courageux FRANCE.
Passy, January the 6th.
Though I have spent my Life exercising to my fullest the Reason and Industry that the Deity has seen Fit to endow in ev'ry Man, and rising early and retiring early in order to take full Advantage of the Gift, I often find My Self in the vexating Position of the Contrarian, arguing until I am quite Blue in the Face a Stance that has yet to garner the simplest Comprehension, much less the Sympathy, of the Populace. I believe the Record demonstrates that I am not just talking out of my Back-Side when I have struck upon a Notion or Theory of potential Import to Natural Philosophie, and so when I say that the Principle of "Tele-Vision" is a viable one, I expect not to be ask'd if my Furry Hat is squeezing my Head too hard, or if I have been unduly influenced by the Arts or the Syphilis of certain Whores of the French Royal Court.
My Experimentations Electrick have shown that, in spite of its Propensity to wildly streak 'crost the Heavens, its Force may indeed be harness'd to flow in controll'd Directions. Based on that Discovery, it only takes one or two logical Steps to realize that Electricity can be generat'd from Light emanating from a spinning metal Disk bor'd with spirally plac'd Holes, this Electricity then pass'd through a second Disk to project an Image of an Object. I dubb'd the wondrous Process "Tele-Vision," derived in part from the Greek, and the word should be pronounc'd with Emphasis on the first two Syllables, very similar to the Pronunciation of the Name of the heroic Warrior Telemachus.
Many have asked me why an Image of an Object should be project'd, when the Object is clearly present before them. Once again, I am confound'd by the Small Mindedness of the Mob. The Object can be, in Truth, several Leagues away, and quite out of the Range of even the most powerful Spye-Glass. Through the Method of Projection I just describ'd, a Likeness of the Object can be cast Miles away, into a Tele-Vision Receiving Chamber, into which gathered souls may peer. Must I explain Every Thing?
The Small Minds then ask, Cynical Smiles playing upon their Lips, is this no more than an Optical Trifle, a mere Camera Obscura or Magick-Lantern Show? They completely overlook, that as the Process can project an Image, so can it project Life Like Motion, say a Paper bourne up-wards in the Breeze, the Hem of a Lady's Gown sweeping against the Floor, a floating Down Feather, or the Hem of a Lady's Gown bourne up-wards in the Breeze, all projected in such-like Manner, for all the Good People to see!
Yet for positing this Modest and quite Graspable Notion, I am call'd Franklin the d——d Fool, Franklin the Gentle Man with a Head of Bone, Franklin the Polymath of Ignorance, Im-Ben-cile, &c.; I wish to remind Every One that were it not for my invention of the "Centrally-Plac'd Stove That Efficiently Distributes Heat Through-out the Living Quarters," you would be half froze; and if my Lightning Rod had remain'd for Ever a useless Length of Scrap Metal in a Black Smith's Shop, many would be so sing'd to a Crisp as to resemble Residents of Dahomey. Certainly, if I had not seen to the Creation of a Lending Library, upstanding Philadelphians would not be able to borrow Filthy Pamphlets of Marie Antoinette cuckolding her Husband the King. In Truth, I have half a Mind to renege on my Long Held Principle of freely shared Ideas and charge a Penny every Time my Aphorisms concerning saving and earning Pennies are spoken. The most Disputed Facet of my Idea, the one where I meet the most Critickal Resistance and Mockery, is that of Tele-Vision's potential Application as a Means to foster Improvement of the Self, invigorate the Mind, stimulate the Body, and encourage the free Discussion of Theories and Opinions without Prejudice or Fear of Reprisal, indeed the very Ideals essential to a free Republic of self-determining Individuals. Ask my Criticks, how can a Tele-Vision Receiving Chamber conveying fleeting Images and Motions of the veriest Vapidity benefit Any One? But I remain convinced that only a Numb Skull would deny the Academic and Social Value of the Tele-Vision, given, of course, that a Discerning and Rigorous Intellect is there to steward it.