More on Ray and Rushmore
I think NY Daily News syndicated columnist Zev Chafets must be reading Liberty & Power. A few days after I noted Brother Ray's passing, and our very own Sheldon Richman suggested adding him to Mount Rushmore, Chafets writes that Charles and other trailblazers of the rock 'n' roll revolution,"deserve a Rushmore all their own."
Meanwhile, the tributes keep a comin'. Charles is being featured all over the radio dial, according to News columnist David Hinckley, prompting a few classic lines from R&B singer Ruth Brown. Hinckley tells us that Brown's late pal, jazz singer Billy Eckstine, once said that it is an"ominous sign for a veteran performer ... to have a flurry of his or her songs resurface on the radio. 'He said if they suddenly play more than three of your songs,' Brown muses, 'that means you're dead.'"
Brown also celebrates Charles'"great sense of humor." Hinckely reports:
"I talked to him a few months ago," said Brown."He told me they were making a movie about his life and asked who should play me. I said,"Halle Berry." He said,"Ruth, I ain't that blind."
A Ray Charles memorial is scheduled for this coming Friday.
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Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006
There is an interesting discussion of the creation of Mount Rushmore in Simon Schama's book, "Landscape and Memory" (1995). Turns out that its creator (whose name is easy to forget) was a enthusiastic member of the Ku Klux Klan. As it happens, he also pointedly turned down the opportunity to put Susan B. Anthony's visage on the mountain--while managing to trample on Native Americans' belief that Mt Rushmore was a sacred site that ought not to be blasted away for profane purposes. And you don't want to know his rationale for putting Theodore Roosevelt up there. (Think: IMPERIALISM, WHITE MAN's BURDEN, etc)
So Mt Rushmore turns out to be a pretty fraught, tangled place. I think Ray Charles is better off with a memorial of his own!