Monday, August 02, 2004

What the late great Ray has to say

In the trailer for Ray, the new biopic feature on Ray Charles with Jaimie Foxx, here is a great scene where Ray is getting harassed in a dance hall for mixing up gospel and blues music:
Man: You're turning God's music into sin.

Woman: All y'all are goin straight to hell.

Ray: If all y'all want me to keep playin, let me hear you say Amen.

Dancehall crowd: AMEN.
We saw the trailer at the theatre this weekend. Neil leaned over and said, "We need to teach the Democrats to say AMEN."

And he was dead right.

Unless there's a revolution (god bless Joe Trippi), it may take a lot of time and work and a lot more money before the mainstream media in this country are anything other than rent boys for the GOP. And we can't wait for the magic day to get our message across.

When the media, or the GOP attack dog surrogates, make outrageous claims, twist the questions, cut off the answers, throw reality to the wind and spout their made-up numbers and their bogus bought-and-paid-for PR firm generated science--we need to get the people to say AMEN.

What Ray Charles did in that scene was brilliant. And it's what Pierre Trudeau did. And it's what Winston Churchill did. And Mae West. And Oscar Wilde. And undoubtedly American politicans of previous generations -- I'm just too new here to know who there were, and I don't see them around us today.

Ray Charles shifted the paradigm; he was quick and witty; he didn't fall into guilt and apologies; he was hampered by crippling "niceness"; if he turned the other cheek it was his butt cheek.

He didn't engage, he didn't debate, he took no prisoners.

He controlled the situation and he made the absurdity of the attackers a laughing stock.

And he let the people be his supporters and defenders by letting them in, by being with them, by knowing the answer before he asked the question, by making it clear who the cool kids were.

How do we teach the Democrats to say Amen?