05. Loud as a Whisper

My Interpretive Poem Describing My First Viewing of Loud as a Whisper

Beard, Beard, Beard

Beard, Beard, Beard

Beard, Beard, Beard, Beard, Beard

Beard, Beard, Beard

Beard, Beard, Beard, Beard

Beard, Beard, Beard, Beard, Beard, Beard

What’s up with those chairs?

One things for sure when I build an indigenous rock table adorned with torches as a site to negotiate a peace treaty with people who’ve been at war for millennia, I want chairs with backs.

It’s just more comfortable.

Is there no privacy?

What’s up with Deanna calling out Worf for his emotions? Right in front of the captain even. Is this more evidence that in the federation everything is supposed to be in the open? Even emotions we feel but don’t succumb to?

If you were to ask me what makes a bad man, I’d say bad actions and not bad thinking. But if through Deanna Worf has to be responsible for the things he thinks and not just the things he does, then we are approaching total mind control.

The Chorus

Riva has three people who talk for him.

  1. The scholar, logic, intellect, and dreamer. The guy who’s supposed to do most of the talking
  2.  Then we have harmony and wisdom who is a woman. She’s the one who talks first, and who asks Geordi about being blind.
  3. Desire, passion, libido, and of course warrior. This is the guy who’s all into Deanna. I’m still talking about Riva’s chorus. In case you thought I meant Riker. He’s said to be the guy who does the least amount of talking because he only speaks when the spirit moves him. Apparently it moves him a lot since we get to hear from him more than the others.


are basically what they are. Riva has a genetic problem that makes him both telepathic and deaf.

I’m not entirely sure that the same genetic problem is responsible for both or if he has a multitude of genetic problems. (Am I including the beard as a genetic defect? I think I am.) Everyone in the planet’s ruling class has it, and they use these three people to hear and speak for them.

So in other words rulership on his planet is inherited, and the society has developed a lower class that acts as their ears and mouths. These people are inherited as well?..

It’s an ugly system that is a long standing tradition. Just like the war on the planet Lord Riva is visiting.


might be how you’d describe a guy that owns Serfs, and in Riva’s case you couldn’t be more correct.

When Picard talks to the Serfs instead of Riva, he becomes intensely angry, and as soon as Picard cowers, Riva’s right as rain.

He says he’s sure he can stop them from fighting when they break the cease fire. He brags that he’s never failed, and he’s just so damned self-assured when he tells Riker and Worf he’s sure they won’t need phasers.

Then we’re supposed to feel sorry for him when his slaves die? All I can say to that is beard!

His abilities come from his Serfs

This is the first thing we learn when the Serfs get vaporized. I mean why isn’t writing an option? Didn’t the tutors in your Lord like manner bother to teach you how to write? Why don’t you sign to the computer and have it translate? OK, Data just learned sign language, why do you still believe you can’t do it?

I’m starting to suspect the real diplomats in the group were the three Serfs. Maybe Riva’s parents were trying to get the second son who wouldn’t be inheriting the estate a respectable, but cushy job somewhere. So they set him up with two skilled diplomats and one vouyer who could help him get dates.

In my retconned version, the Serfs always ignored what Riva was actually saying to them telepathically. He was just going cluck, cluck, cluck while they worked.


I feel obliged to mention the date with Deanna in which Riva talks about words (signifier) and their meanings (signified), and Deanna politely listens as if this were all new and not overly simplified.

Data would’ve interrupted him to talk about the need for something to connect those things.

Never date Data.

Anyway, you get the feeling that this episode wants to talk about how the desire between people with differing identities to communicate is more important than how you communicate. It’s that need that connects people to people, just as it connects words to meanings. It’s that need that makes peace possible.

Or something like that.

In a way, I’d be interested in exploring this further, but I don’t want to watch this episode again.

In fact if the real workers were the Serfs, then we can see them as the meaning while he was just the sign or symbol for diplomacy, and it was the warring factions and their needs that connect Riva to them…


I refuse to think any more about this episode.

Great line:

“Learning to communicate is the most important aspect of any relationship.”

Morals, messages and meanings

  1. Everyone is special in his own way. We all have value as people, and things that might seem a disability could just be part of our own uniqueness and should be used as a strength.
  2. Good leaders give credit where credit is due. I got this from Picard telling Deanna how much he values her instead of just allowing her to know from feeling his emotions about her.
  3. Turn disadvantage into advantage.

Does it hold up?


By far the most difficult episode of Next Gen to watch twice.

It would be easier to watch Heart of Glory again than this one.



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