Charles Ramsey: A hero’s testimony or just another “Hide Yo’ Kids”?

Charles Ramsey is a saviour and an online hit. In the modern media landscape it is becoming harder and harder to be one and not the other.Videos featuring the Cleveland resident have already amassed millions of views on YouTube and memes are popping up left, right and centre. Mr Ramsey’s heroics have captured the attention of countless numbers of people around the world… and that of the McDonald’s Corporation: “We salute the courage of Ohio kidnap victims & respect their privacy. Way to go Charles Ramsey – we’ll be in touch.”— McDonald’s Corp. (@McDonaldsCorp), (May 7, 2013) The 43-year-old played an instrumental role in this week’s rescue of three kidnapped women, missing and presumed dead for a decade, in Cleveland, USA. Walking down his street, Mr Ramsey heard a woman screaming in distress from inside the front door of a nearby home. It was Amanda Berry, 27, missing since 2004. Also held captive in the residence were Gina DeJesus, 23, and Michelle Knight, 32.   There’s nothing quite like a Good Samaritan story—a regular person going above and beyond to help someone they don’t know. They are relatable tales that can be as inspirational as they are interesting. I think Mr Ramsey’s televised statement is, unfortunately, destined to be remembered in its “songified” form. Cleverly constructed and catchy, I’ll admit that it’s hard to look away from these auto-tuned clips. Some of them are pure, unadulterated genius. In this sense, Mr Ramsey is following in the footsteps of Antoine Dodson and Sweet Brown. But should his interview — equal parts gripping, witty and informative — be placed in the same category? I’m not so sure. From a journalistic perspective, Chuck Ramsey is ideal talent. He’s engaging, happy to talk and tells his story with impressive attention to detail. There’s more value in his testimony than in Dodson’s or Brown’s. He tells a better story.He’s not just a bit-player; he’s a protagonist in this horrid affair. The case is also of a larger scale and holds great national significance in the United States. Follow-up appearances are sure to abound and t-shirts featuring Mr Ramsey’s face are already being printed.Channelling a range of emotions, from disbelief and anger, to joy and relief, Mr Ramsey’s words are quickly reaching iconic status. I hope people think of them in their raw form when they tell the story of Charles Ramsey and that then, and only then, will they rock out to the songified version.This article originally featured in Candid & Rogue, a blog by Kit Harvey, and has been republished here with permission from the author.Image: Kit Harvey

May 10th 2013
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