Don’t talk. Don’t preach. Just sing.
So John Ashcroft, former governor of and senator from Missouri, former Attorney General, as well as that great lover of southern gospel who wrote “Let the Mighty Eagle Soar” and was part of the Singing Senators, will be this year’s keynote speaker at NQC. Last year, you will recall, Sarah Palin gave the keynote.
Evidently, the folks at the NQC mothership have never heard of modulations.
Reader CVH was thinking along similar lines in a recent note:
Who’s it going to be next year? Are they going to roll out some fat has-been like Ed Meese?
In fact, CVH’s comment is worth quoting at length, if for no other reason than a duet is better than a solo.
The NQC press release states Ashcroft is a “noted singer and songwriter.” Really? Really? I remember him more for notable actions like covering up the exposed breast (or “nekkid tit” as my beloved Aunt Blabby used to say) on the statue of the Spirit of Justice in the Justice Department headquarters because “we can’t have that kind of thing.”
Daniel Mount writes, “due to his (Ashcroft’s) long-lasting love for Southern Gospel music, his previous appearances singing, and the fact that he will be singing original Gospel songs accompanied by Greater Vision, there is likely to only be a minute fraction of the controversy that accompanied Sarah Palin’s appearance last year.”
Let’s hope so. At least he can clown around with Gerald and the boys which would be less offensive than Palin’s gaffe-filled comments. Her lack of knowlege and understanding were shamelessly on display. To quote our esteemed host, from last September, post-NQC, “does anyone really think Sarah Palin knows anything more about sg than what her handlers briefed her on before her speech and the odd cd she may have popped in for the ride over from the hotel?”
The mere presence of a politician is political, regardless of what they say or do. And because politicians are, by definition, opportunists, one can only conclude that the NQC is willing to let its event be used as a backdrop for the advancement of a political agenda. I don’t care whether it’s a right-leaning or left-leaning agenda. It doesn’t matter what the social manifestations of those agendas are, even if they’re in many ways agreeable to those in attendance. They don’t belong at an event that purports to be spiritual in nature. The cross, heaven, Jesus, the blood, grace, mercy and salvation are not the result of anything America (or the Republican party) has done. And the future of Christ’s kingdom doesn’t depend on whether President Obama is re-elected or not. Get over it.
God doesn’t need to be wrapped up in the American flag to be who he is. God doesn’t favor America. And he certainly doesn’t vote Republican (or Tea Party for that matter). And before anyone gets their red, white and blue stretch pants in a knot, he doesn’t vote Democratic either.
I realize I’m taking an untenable position here. The social and cultural history of southern gospel music is, largely, as much about your politics as anything else. Unlike any other style of Christian or religious music, southern gospel mixes simple gospel truths with a right-leaning, conservative, US-centric mindset; and gets away with it because of who its audience has traditionally been.
We have occasional discussions here about the decline of SG, the quality, market share, aging demographics, etc. If the genre is going to survive and grow, it’s going to have to address the tastes, values and yes, political mores of a changing society.
Someday NQC might not just be about strawberry ice cream, fake hair, bad sound and toe ring vendors. But I’m not going to hold my breath.
P.S. Do you think Ashcroft will autograph my King James Bible?
It may well be that this keynote won’t cause as much controversy as the choice of Palin. Or, it may just be that not that many people really care about these speeches all that much.
Sure the eight or so of us in the world of southern gospel who don’t hail from Teabagistan will push the Sisyphean boulder of our discontent up the hill a few feet in the run-up to and in the immediate aftermath of the event. But I’m not talking about that kind of caring, because we’re not the audience for whom these speakers are allegedly aimed. No, I mean, how many of the loyal Tea Party Patriots and proudly right-wing Republicans who comprise the bulk of the NQC crowd, and will probably themselves go hear just about any preachy polemicist gussied up in the garb of politics and given a showcase by our NQC overlords — how many of these people would really care or be upset if there was no keynote?
Given that we all got by just fine for decades when the keys and notes at the convention were left to the singers and players, one gets the distinct impression these political sideshows are pretty transparently vanity projects for the NQC leadership.
I’ve just finished a piece of writing on Dottie Rambo, which involved reading Buck Rambo’s as-told-to biography of the Singing Rambos, and all this talk of distractingly buffoonish gasbaggery at NQC puts me in mind of a line attributed to J.D. Sumner (of course) just before he gave the Rambos (at the time going by the name the Gospel Echoes) their first slot on the NQC mainstage:
Don’t talk. Don’t preach. Just sing.
Let’s let the mighty eagle soar … somewhere else.Email this Post