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Thursday, August 05, 2004

Bruce Springsteen

By now, I'm sure everyone knows about the Vote for Change Tour that Bruce Springsteen has lent his name and his talents to. This is going to be huge and no amount of Clear Channel temper tantrum-throwing is going to derail this.

As he often does, Steve Gilliard hits it on the head, pointing out that artists and musicians should have a place at the political table. Springsteen particularly has a certain gravitas that he can bring to this entire project. He was one of the few musicians in the wake of 9/11 who wrote songs that touched on current affairs that made any sort of sense at all, were not war-mongering, simplistic, or opportunistic.

I have found myself in the odd position of defending Springsteen to too-cool friends at times. To me, there is no reason to disdain him in the slightest. You don't have to like his music, but to deny his talent is just foolishness. And if his humility is all an act, he hasn't let on yet. Sure, he's not cutting edge or anything like that, but in my mind, that's more than offset by the fact that he's really not a poseur. I suspect that hipster disdain for Springsteen comes from the idea that all musicians are poseurs on a certain level, and they disdain his simplicity and see "working class hero" as a tedious , artless pose. But I don't think it's a pose, and so disdaining his pose is disdaining something that's not there at all. Such a waste of time.

Springsteen's career has shadowed the right wing's hoodwinking of the working class vote, and served as a nagging rebuke to the lies that are pushed on the working class day in and day out. They shoveled piles of pandering, condescending bullshit at us about our supposedly simplistic "family values" and brainless patriotism. Meanwhile, Springsteen was writing lyrics expressing what the right, for all its platitudes about the heartland, doesn't believe at all--that people in the mythological Middle America have real lives, complex emotions, resentments and pleasures, and that we are not the little people at all. And for that, I have always appreciated him.

And now the right wing is cashing that check they tricked us into writing them. It's a perfect time for Springsteen to step back out and say straightforwardly what anyone listening carefully should have noticed in the first place.

Updated to add: Feel free to knock me around for being a fan, if you want. I'm used to it.


Blogger Ron said...

I think all hipsters are poseurs on many levels. Anybody distainful of others for not being cool or cutting edge is a jerk in my opinion.

President Bush has the whole executive branch working for his re-election, despite Tom Ridge's assurance to the contrary. I'm glad we have Mr. Springstein, the Dixie Chicks, etc. working to depose him & his reign of terror.


Blogger Elayne said...

For years on end I couldn't stand Springsteen, but it wasn't his fault. You see, I went to Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey, between '75 and '79, just when Bruuuuuuuce was hitting it big. And everyone in the dorms my first couple years, and especially two of my roommates in our dorm-apartment junior year, were major Springsteen fans. My roomies used to bop around singing "Your papa said he knows that I don't have any money" over and over and over again every few minutes. I didn't really get to appreciate Springsteen until long after I was sprung from my academic cage off Highway 9.



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