Edited by Azizi Powell
This post provides my transcript of Jay Smooth's video blog comment about Charles Ramsey, the man who helped free three women who were kidnapped and held captive in Cleveland, Ohio for ten years.
Additions and corrections to this transcript are welcome.
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/05/comments-from-viewers-of-video-t.html for a supplemental post that includes selected comments from that video's viewer comment thread.
The content of this post is presented for historical, cultural, and educational purposes.
All copyrights remain with their owner.
T-Paining Too Much: The Meme-ification of Charles Ramsey
illdoc1, Published on May 8, 2013
http://twitter.com/jsmooth995 So many big questions to ask about Cleveland, so much to grapple with. So much that is unthinkable but needs so direly to be thought about. I feel like it'll be a while before I can say anything intelligent about it. But in the meantime here are some thoughts about the side questions around the Charles Ramsey phenomenon.
BTW I filmed this before the reports came out about his own history of domestic violence, but I don't think that changes the message here, since I wasn't citing him as perfect or even a "hero" necessarily (I think the courage and resilience of Amanda Berry herself, and the other two women, is still the heart of the story) just saying he deserves to be treated as a 3-dimensional person who did good on that day.
Click for more jay smooth video blogs: http://www.illdoctrine.com/
TRANSCRIPT: "Paining Too Much: The Meme-ification"
(J Smooth [illdoc1]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=id8Vj2sUXDQ&list=UUjj9EnVJUY7pTkP5MX8F9gQ&index=1, May 8, 2013)
Wow.. so this thing in Cleveland.
There’s so much to say and so many questions that probably won’t have easy or pretty answers.
And there’s a saying that people apply. There’s a rule that people usually apply to stories like this which is the “Now it not the time rule”.
Usually it’s applied to politics. People say “Now is not the time for politics. Let’s please not bring politics into this.”
And I gotta say I usually disagree with that rule. Like I think in Cleveland we probably should ask how things like class, and gender, and factor into the bigger questions.
But I do think that there’s another version of that rule. There’s a new “Now is not the time rule” that we might need to establish pretty soon. And that new rule we might need to think about is the rule that says “Now is not the time for autotune.”
Can we please leave autotune out of this.
Because, seriously, anyone who is watching this right now and is not one of the Gregory Brothers- you are all terrible at autotuning. Just uninstall that VST plug and your sloppy, scrounging for views ass remix is terrible. You all need to stop.
And, really at this point, even the Gregory Brothers, I just a-Look, their song is good. It’s funny, and there’s a bit more of a sense of dignity because at least it’s well crafted. But, at this point, I don’t know if their stuff even sits right with me because it’s part of this larger trend where whenever a certain kind of person is in the news, we have a compulsion to immediately grab that person and flatten out their personhood into this paper thin click bait, Chappelle Show laughing-for-the-wrong-reasons viral joke.
And I mean, look I get it. Charles Ramsey is funny. I’m not tryin to wag my finger at people for being entertained because he’s entertaining. He’s a funny, witty, endearing, guy. And it would be reductive to Charles Ramsey if I denied that.
But there’s gotta be some middle ground where we can appreciate that without this mad dash to make a meme-ified clown out of anyone who fits in the “wacky black guy” box
Or the charmingly uneducated hick box or whatever other box we like to put people in.
Because Charles Ramsey is a funny person but the reason we’re talking about him is he’s a real person who, at least on that day, had a deep well of compassion and integrity that made him worth talking about.
And the more we take people like him and just keep running them through the viral meat processing plant over and over- I just, I feel like we’re autotuning Aretha Franklin or something.
I worry that we’re filtering out whatever is real and valuable about people so that ten thousand of us can all make the same really obvious jokes about them.
And again, I’m not trying to judge anyone. I was laughing with everybody else. But I feel like we as a culture turned some kind of corner when the word “meme” became a verb that describes something you do to a person.
I just feel like that’s kinda weird. And we might wanna pause periodically and look at the path we’re on with that because it’s taking us to some weird places.
That’s all I’m sayin.
EXAMPLE OF AUTOTUNE VIDEO OF CHARLES RAMSEY'S NEWS INTERVIEW
DEAD GIVEAWAY - Hero Charles Ramsey Songified!
schmoyoho,Published on May 7, 2013
Charles Ramsey melodically recounts the day he heroically helped rescue 3 kidnapped Cleveland women.
Click https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auto-Tune https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auto-Tune for information about autotuning.
That article includes an explanation of the term "T-paining".
Here are links to two articles on the meme-fication of Charles Ramsey and other poor or working class Black people (such as Antoine Dodson, Sweet Brown, and Michelle Clark) who were each interviewed because of a crisis:
http://www.racialicious.com/2013/05/08/open-thread-2-the-rush-to-memeify-charles-ramsey/ "Open Thread: The Rush To Memeify Charles Ramsey"
http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2013/05/07/charles_ramsey_amanda_berry_rescuer_becomes_internet_meme_video.htmlhttp://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2013/05/07/charles_ramsey_amanda_berry_rescuer_becomes_internet_meme_video.html "The Troubling Viral Trend of the “Hilarious” Black Neighbor By Aisha Harris, Posted Tuesday, May 7, 2013, at 4:49 PM
Click this page of my cocojams website http://cocojams.com/content/text-analysis-run-and-tell-phrase-popular-culture for a post about the phrase "run and tell that". Antoine Dodson used that phrase in his 2010 television interview after he chased an intruder out of his sister's bedroom. That phrase was one of Dodson's comments which was highlighted in the Gregory Brother's autotune of that interview which was entitled "Bed Intruder". However "run and tell that" is found in Black Gospel records & Black non-religious records prior to Antoine Dodson's interview.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT AND THANKS
Thanks to Thanks to Charles Ramsey for his heroic actions. And thanks to Jay Smooth for insightful and thought proving vblog on this subject.
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