Friday, June 11, 2004


Well, it's been one of those kind of weeks. The Gipper is gone. It isn't like we didn't expect it, and in a quiet way I think that it was a kindness to take him. I mean... the man was gone.

And now we've lost Ray Charles too. Well, damn. Again, it's not like it was a surprise.

It's just that it's hard to imagine a world without those guys. It's a little like losing a parent. They were both men who reshaped their worlds to suit themselves. Reagan transformed modern politics, created the new Republicans who gave up being losers and became Reagan Republicans, and created a world where I can't imagine anyone going back. You want another dose of the Great Society? And... he made it just about impossible for us to go back to all that kind of loser politics unless we deliberately and intentionally choose to shoot ourselves in the foot. Can you imagine Hillary actually having a shot at the brass ring? Shudder! And heck... there isn't a Russia to go back to, is there?

And Ray Charles... well, Ray was an artist who moved gospel and country and soul and blues all together into modern music without being trapped by categories or labels. Charles didn't make any music but his own and he made it possible for artists to move from one genre to another without losing audience. Now days we think nothing of picking up CDs of pop singers singing country and rock guitar players making soft jazz. Diana Krall making CDs with Tony Bennett! What can I say?

They'll both be missed, and every day that goes by will make that fact more and more apparent. Like I said, it's like losing a parent. I can't imagine a world without either of them.

The only comfort we can cling to is the fact that all the work of both of them will go on and on in all those old movie channels and big sky music channels on cable. And... in all of our lives that reflect their art.