Head to Head: Ron Charles vs. Ron Moten
A series in which two local figures share their thoughts on developments in D.C.-area culture. For this edition, we talk to Washington Post Deputy Book World Editor Ron Charles and Peaceoholics founder and former Ward 7 D.C. Council candidate Ron Moten.
Washington City Paper: Would you wear this “Don’t Be a Bama” T-shirt?
Ron Charles: I would not wear this T-shirt—or any T-shirt. I sit at a desk all day and summarize the plots of literary novels. I have the pasty-white chicken-leg arms to prove it.
Ron Moten: I would wear the shirt because the term originated in D.C., and bamas are known to fuck the party up!
WCP: Listen to the song “Gimmie Mine” by D.C. art-rock band Heavy Breathing. What’s your assessment?
RC: Too synthetic for my taste—and a bit too close to the Dr. Who theme song.
RM: [This is] music that gets white boys happy and energized in club basements on the historic U Street where we use to party to D.C.’s own go-go music.
WCP: What do you think of "White Diagonal II," the Ellsworth Kelly painting previously on view at the Phillips Collection (shown at right)?
RC: There are Kelly pieces I like more than this one, but in general I’m skeptical of minimalist paintings that need a curator’s analysis to convince us that it’s “significant.”
RM: To plan life in our world is not that simple, and [it’s] more colorful… though the thought of white and black working together is a dream that must be finalized.
RC: I like the way this abstract piece seems futuristic and retro at the same time. And I always appreciate public art that uses existing canvases to make the city spaces more interesting. This teetotaler raises a glass of carrot juice to you, Heineken!
RM: Great thought and vision, but will be a reality only when we open the world to all youth and people empowering people in all wards, not certain ZIP codes.
WCP: Cassette tapes—and the fact that they’ve again become trendy. Some say they’ve bounced back; others say they never left. What do you think about cassette tapes in 2013?
RC: In high school I played and rewound my copy of Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits so many times that eventually the only thing left was the sound of silence. Glad to know cassette tapes are back in style. I’ve still got shoeboxes of them in the attic, but—alas—no machine to play them on.
RM: History often repeats itself, and upon its return sometimes we make it better or worse.
Graphic by Carey Jordan; Ron Charles image via Washington Post, Ron Moten image by Darrow Montgomery. Photos, from top: Via dontbeabama.com, courtesy Phillips Collection, by Darrow Montgomery, and cassette photo by Flickr user Schill used under a Creative Commons license.