Dick Gregory, a Life Well-Lived
August 20, 2017
Dick Gregory, comedian, activist and writer died at 84 last night. Gregory was a breakthrough artist, one of the first to bring black comedy to a white audience, way back in 1960. His comedy bits were clever and provoking, he pandered to no one; his activism (he quit comedy in 1963 to peruse full time activism) was instrumental in changing the conversation about and, eventually, the very nature of America.
During his run for president in 1968 he created a marketing device called Gregory Bucks. Take a look:
I was too young to vote back then, but always made a point of picking up as many Gregory bucks as possible as I drifted from peace rallies, to civil right marches, to be-ins. They were really popular in the broke student community – not only because they carried that peace-love-kumbaya message, but because they were close enough to real to fool the dollar bill change machines of the time. The Treasury Department seized most of the Gregory bucks before the end of the year, but for a few brief months they were free money, four quarters a shot. Good times.
Two-hundred-eighty-five days ago a minority of the voters forced the Donald upon us to make America great again, but now seem intent upon taking us back to the America before Dick Gregory was an activist. Not so much great, but rather phony, fake like Gregory bucks, but without optimistic message.
I like to think that, if still with us, Dick would likely joke about about how we go around in circles, but follow up with observing that the Donald is about as real as the 1968 Gregory bucks, but without even temporary small change value.
Thank you Dick Gregory, guess we’ll take it from here,