Chapter 128: Let Them Get Lost. I’ll Lecture!
The recording began.
A few cameras were already powered on.
Hou Ge, who was the field director, spoke into the microphone to Zhang Ye, “Teacher Zhang, everything’s in place. If there’s any mistake, we can re-record.” He also knew that this was Zhang Ye’s first time recording a TV Program. Thinking that Teacher Zhang could be nervous or pressured, he said some words to relieve him. Re-recording was not really an issue in TV programs. Some of the programs, which had very high standards, could take as long as four to five hours of recording for a one-hour program. It was done by having a lot of repeated re-recordings.
But Zhang Ye would not relax himself. He was very strict with himself. He treated this as a live recording, so that he would not make any mistakes, “Good day, everyone. This is a new program of the Beijing Arts Channel, ‘Musings of History’. I am your host, Zhang Ye.”
After the introduction of the program.
Zhang Ye started to introduce, “Today’s lecturer is Renmin University’s professor, Ma Hengyuan.”
Ma Hengyuan stood behind the rostrum and nodded in acknowledgment.
Zhang Ye continued to introduce the other guests before going back to his seat beside the guest’s sofa. This was the position for the host.
Ma Hengyuan was not overwhelmed by the stage. He had seen bigger occasions, like being on Central TV, “Good day, viewers and guests. I am Ma Hengyuan. Today, we will be speaking about the Three Kingdoms. Like a beautiful painting that presented the political situation, it was a time when power struggles were won through wars. It was a complicated time of political strife that lasted a century from the end of the Han dynasty to the Jin dynasty. It was an intense and sharp…”
He spoke for about five minutes.
Ma Hengyuan said, “Speaking about the Three Kingdoms, who do you like?”
The guest, Editor Xu chuckled, “Of course, it’s Zhuge Liang.”
Another host, the university teacher, Teacher Xu said, “I also like Zhuge Liang. Borrowing arrows with straw boats and the empty fort strategy are both amazing military strategies. It has left a legacy for us to learn from.”
Zhang Ye laughed, “I like Zhou Yu.”
The two guests named Xu gave him a stern look.
Ma Hengyuan also did not pay any heed to Zhang Ye. He ignored his words and smiled. “Well said. I also like Zhuge Liang. Speaking about the Three Kingdoms, the greatest impression many people would have of it would be of Zhuge Liang. He was an amazing man. Even the original text says that he was a miraculous person. What does being a miraculous person mean? It means that he was a person that did miracles…”
Zhang Ye’s face did not betray his thoughts, but his heart was on fire!
Once was fine, twice was fine, but you did it a third time? You aren’t even bothering about me?
Ignoring Zhang Ye’s status in literature, for it was still controversial, so there was no point mentioning it, but he was still the host of the segment today. It was a very important role. As a lecturer, Ma Hengyuan was going to just treat him as if he did not exist? He treated the host, Zhang Ye, as thin air? What was the meaning of this? Xiao Lu and Dafei could no longer watch this any further. They were thinking, “Has Teacher Zhang provoked you? Are you f**king sick?”
The program continued.
Later on, Zhang Ye tried to mediate the situation twice to lead the audience.
However, every time he spoke, Ma Hengyuan pretended not to notice and ignored Zhang Ye’s words. He did not think anything of Zhang Ye. He just spoke what he wanted to and interacted with the other hosts. In the end, Zhang Ye had been treated by Ma Hengyuan as a meaningless person!
Hu Fei was also angered. He walked to the side stage where Hou Ge was. He used the field director’s microphone to speak to Ma Hengyuan, “Professor Ma, please cooperate with the host. Please cooperate with the host!”
Ma Hengyuan did not even blink as if he did not hear it. He still did what he wanted.
Hu Fei could no longer stand it any further. We invited you here with money, so you just needed to work, but what are you doing now? Eh? What are you trying to do?
“Hold on!” Hu Fei shouted loudly.
A few cameras turned off, “Executive Producer?”
Hu Fei said to Ma Hengyuan and a few guests, “Let’s go backstage for a while.” Then he strode away. He was not only dissatisfied with Ma Hengyuan’s attitude, he was also extremely dissatisfied with the way he lectured.
Everyone sat in a resting area.
“What’s the matter? The audience is still waiting,” Ma Hengyuan was quite unhappy.
Hu Fei asked, “Professor Ma, why aren’t you cooperating with the host? Once or twice is fine, but so many times? I even told you through the microphone, right?”
Zhang Ye also looked at Ma Hengyuan.
Ma Hengyuan chuckled, “When I came, didn’t you say that the host will cooperate with me? When did it become me cooperating with him?”
Hu Fei’s rage was not trivial, “What does it mean to cooperate? It needs to be mutual!”
Ma Hengyuan looked at him, “I have always lectured like that. I do not like people messing things up or interrupting. If you think the program’s atmosphere isn’t good, then remove the host!”
The guest, Editor Xu, said, “For this, there really is no need for Little Zhang to be around.”
“I think so, too.” Teacher Xu smacked his lips, “He also doesn’t know the Three Kingdoms, nor does he know history. He can be a bit redundant presently. Teacher Ma is right; I think it’s best if he doesn’t go on up. With a professional commentator of the Three Kingdoms like Professor Ma, and a few guests like us, it is meaningless to have a host!”
Xiao Lu turned nasty, “What are you saying?”
Hou Ge was also enraged, “You are trying to reverse the positions of host and guest?”
“This is my program! It’s our Beijing Arts Channel’s segment!” Hu Fei looked coldly at the three people, “Your opinion doesn’t count in the planning of the program!”
Ma Hengyuan stared at him, “Old Hu, aren’t you taking this a bit serious?”
Hu Fei said, “And I can tell you very clearly now that such a program would not work. It is not a fault of the host. It is a fault of yours!” He pointed to the stage outside, “Professor Ma, you gave an introduction to the Three Kingdoms just now, right? Some of it was the notes of the ancient scholars, and some were direct quotes from the work. There is nothing constructive or anything interesting. This sort of program will hardly get 0.5% in ratings, let alone 1%. Everyone has read Romance of the Three Kingdoms, so why would they need to hear you repeating it? And to repeat it on a television station? Is there any meaning to it?”
Ma Hengyuan sneered, “You want something fun? Then why aren’t you doing a variety segment. Why would you do a historical segment? History itself is not fun! It is boring!”
The guest, Teacher Xu, frowned, “That’s right. We have to respect the historical facts. So how can we talk rubbish? We are all in the business of learning. We are professionals, so there is no right for you to argue with us on this!”
Hu Fei laughed from extreme anger, “Historical segments can’t have fun? Who set the rule? If I wanted to tell everyone the story of the Three Kingdoms, then wouldn’t I just need to find a storyteller? Why would I need to invite all of you?”
The few people had a falling out. No one could accept the other’s way of thinking.
Zhang Ye also knew that the program could not go on like that. It would not have any ratings, so he stood forward and said, “Professor, Teachers, if you do not like me, or think lowly of me, I can reduce what I say onstage. I can even remain silent and you can enjoy your lecture and analysis. The Three Kingdoms you were lecturing is definitely not passable. If a good program and a good piece of history wants to attract people, it must not only be about history. It must be interesting and also topical. This is not disrespecting history, and it is because we respect this piece of history that we want to think of a way to spread this piece of history to everyone, so that they can deepen their understanding. What do we rely on? We aren’t relying on lengthy theories and evidence! We rely on factors that can absorb the audience and pull them in!”
Xiao Lu exclaimed, “Well said!”
Hou Ge said, “Teacher Little Zhang, how can a host like you not be present to speak. That’s not necessary!”
But even so, Ma Hengyuan still did not give Zhang Ye a direct look. He gave him a sidewards glance, “I’m a professor in the Literature Department. Do I need you to teach me?”
Then there was no way to further negotiate!
These people were impenetrable!
“I also lectured in this way at Central TV.” Ma Hengyuan began to put on airs as he defiantly looked at Hu Fei, Zhang Ye and company, saying, “So? Is your Beijing Arts Channel better than the Central TV station? Don’t keep nagging at me, and I can tell you what to do. As long as I’m on the stage, then there will be a large audience watching. I can say it in any way that I want! That is my business, and not something laypeople like you should interrupt. Do you know history, or do I know history?” He was not only a professor in the literature department, he was also a famous professor online. He had no lack of fans, so when it came to anything professional, Ma Hengyuan looked down on anyone else. He did not think anything of the Arts Channel.
Hu Fei and Xiao Lu were extremely furious.
A member of the staff came running over, “Producer Hu, the audience has waited a long while and some have even left. This… Are we still recording?”
“Soon.” Hu Fei said with a black face. He never expected to have invited such a bunch of old fools. If he knew earlier, he would not have invited them. What was he to do now? He had to finish recording the program today. It was too late to invite other lecturers. Even if another lecturer came, there was no script, so how was he to lecture? There was not a least bit of preparation time for them, forcing them to go onstage just like that!
Ma Hengyuan took his time to drink a mouthful of water. He then said a few words to the guests before slowly getting up, “Let’s go. Let’s continue recording!” It was as if he had become a mighty lord!
The moment they left, Hu Fei indicated for Zhang Ye and the rest to stay behind.
Xiao Lu said worriedly, “What do we do, Brother Hu? How can we have any ratings like this? Don’t you see? The audience is nearly falling asleep! We need to think of something. If not, the moment the program airs, will it be axed the second day? Wouldn’t the segment team then be disbanded? This bunch of old fools is destroying our livelihood! They aren’t working for us, despite receiving the money, and are putting on airs. I’m pissed. Are they that good, to put on such airs?”
Hu Fei was also helpless, “Teacher Little Zhang, do you have any ideas?”
Zhang Ye looked at the receding back of Ma Hengyuan and company before taking a deep breath, “Brother Hu, I have an idea, but I’m not sure if you dare to do it!”
Hu Fei said seriously, “The program is going to be axed, so is there anything I don’t dare to? Tell us!”
Hou Ge and Hou Di were waiting for Zhang Ye’s proposal. Amongst them, Zhang Ye was clearly the most witty and most literate person. This was something everyone agreed upon.
Zhang Ye smiled. “We’ll tell Ma Hengyuan and company to get lost!”
Hu Fei was stunned, “Asking them to get lost? Then who will lecture on the Three Kingdoms this episode?”
Zhang Ye straightened his shirt’s collar, “…I’ll lecture!”