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Ray Charles and Reagan

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Watching an A&E Biography of Ray Charles this evening, they noted that Ray Charles played at the 1984 Republican National Convention that nominated Reagan for re-election. This naturally displeased some of the professional civil rights establishment.

This tickles me just because the idea of it surely rankles the more strident pinkos. Just associating Ray Charles and Ron Reagan in the same sentence hurts the more righteous. Yet, the most exalted brother in the world gladly played for Reagan’s big re-nomination coronation. Not even at the Kennedy Center where you could claim it was the office not the man, Ray played at the absolute most political function. Ha, eat that, liberals!

Even better, it was no act of sucking up to the Republicans or even any endorsement of the president. As he explained, the Democrats had wanted him to play, but they wouldn’t come up with the money. Ray Charles, businessman. God love him.

Most of all, this represents a certain willful, fierce independent spirit about Ray that I particularly appreciate. Record country music? Ray’s folly, ha! He’ll shoot heroin if he wants, or play for Republicans knowing how bad it’s going to cheese a bunch of people off.

Rock on with your bad rebel self, Brother Ray.

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  • http://www.gwbush.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    Methinks MacDevil will have an embolism in responding to this post, Al.

    Thank you! :-)

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    He’s blind. You could have led him into a Barenaked Ladies concert and told him it was the NAACP and he wouldn’t have known.

    That is all.

  • http://www.gwbush.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    That’s a cold shot, BAB.

    In all seriouslyness the blind hear, feel, taste, and smell better than any of us. The other sense pick up the slack.

    Ol’ Ray was masterful at what he did. Would he have been so great w/o being blind? That is an interesting question…

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    No, neither he nor Stevie would have been as great if they had sight, if only because they spent so many hours as kids studying music, listening to music, and playing the piano.

    Ray was a great man, and he appears to have had more of a sense of humor than you think:

    “This was one of Ray’s favorite jokes that he would tell at parties

    A blind man walks into Macy’s department store in New York City, led in by his seeing eye dog.
    When the blind man gets into the store, he picks his seeing-eye dog up by its hind legs and begins swinging it around his head.

    Two Macy’s security guards watch this for a few seconds, then one of them goes up to the blind man who is spinning the dog by the hind legs. “Excuse me, sir, can I help you”, the Security Guard asks.

    “No thanks”, says the blind guy, “I’m just looking around!”.”

    In that spirit, here are a few more “cold shots” that old Ray would laugh at:

    How did Ray Charles meet his wife?
    On a blind date.

    Have you seen Ray Charles’s wife?
    Neither has he.

    Why is Ray Charles’s piano yellow?
    Because his seeing-eye dog is blind too.

    What’s the definition of endless love?
    Ray Charles and Hellen Keller playing tennis.

    What did Ray Charles say when someone handed him a cheesegrater?
    “That’s the most violent story I’ve ever read!”

    Did you know Ray Charles had a swimming pool?
    Neither did he.

    How did Ray Charles pierce his ear?
    Answering the stapler.

    How did Ray Charles pierce his lip?
    When he tried calling back.

    Why can’t Ray Charles read?
    Because he’s dead. (And if you thought of any other punchline, shame on you).

    Admit it. You laughed. This was a test, you insensitive animals :) Pretend I’m the monster.

    Alright, that is all.

  • http://www.utopia2000.org Barry Stoller

    ‘The most exalted brother in the world’? Most people born after 1960 only know this cheeser as Mr Pepsi commercial. Better consult some ‘brothers’ before making such an inane remark. That your partisan comment led to blind jokes shows the low level of this discourse. When I heard Reagan died, I danced a jig naked through the park.

  • Eric Olsen

    Barry, why so bitter?

    Bob, you would appear to want to have your righteous indignation and eat it too.

    I wonder if Stevie and Ray would have chosen sight if they had to give up the musical abilities in exchange.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    It’s mock indigation. I think the jokes are funny, just as the rest of you do.

    That is all.

  • http://gratefuldread.net Natalie Davis

    I don’t think they were funny at all.

    Except for the “endless love” one.

  • Shark

    Ohmygod!

    Booey DOES have a sense of humor after all!

    — that of a seventh grader, but hey, it’s a start.

  • allison Gilliam

    you should be ashamed of your self about posting comments like that iknow you were just having fun but it’s mean!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I’ve made my point

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Man, the Endless Love joke was the least funny of them all. That last one was the funniest.

    Dave

  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    Argh! Help! Width of window hijacked by umpteen exclamation marks!

  • Blind Woman

    I’m a blind woman and I am offended at these jokes.

    Just kidding. Did you really believe that I am blind and reading and typing here?

  • Sayydah

    Does anybody know the birthday (day/month/year) of Della Bea Robinson -Ray Charles’s wife? I can’t find it anywhere!! Thanks.

  • BZ

    Oh, please. The man’s an entertainer; to him, it was just another gig, not a political endorsement. Put yourself in his shoes: you haven’t cut a hit song in well over a decade, and most of the country has moved on from the kind of cheesy, overproduced pop vocals you’ve been steadily cranking out since the early ’60s. Then, along comes a gig with a chance to increase your exposure among Republicans who happen to LIKE cheesy, overproduced pop vocals. Who cares if they have no musical taste? Okay, so some civil rights leaders who won’t like it; since when did they ever pay your rent? So yeah, of course he did it. A guy’s gotta earn a living somehow…

  • http://myspace.com/wilddogshadow Wild Dog
    #13
    Blind Woman
    March 14, 2005
    01:26 PM
    I’m a blind woman and I am offended at these jokes.

    Just kidding. Did you really believe that I am blind and reading and typing here?

    You cant go but that. Ray was blind and played piano…

    BTW, Look at this image…