July 25, 2012

"I remember when my family became pretty wealthy, and some people tried to make us feel bad about being wealthy."

Says Patti Scialfa (Mrs. Bruce Springsteen) to The New Yorker's David Remnick:
"Here’s the bottom line. If your art is intact, your art is intact. Who wrote ‘Anna Karenina’? Tolstoy? He was an aristocrat! Did that make his work any less true? If you are lucky enough to have a real talent and you’ve fed it and mined it and protected it and been vigilant about it, can you lose it? Well, you can lose it by sitting outside and drinking Ripple! It doesn’t have to be the high life."
Who's trying to make them feel bad about being wealthy? Obama?
Springsteen admires Obama for the health-care bill, for rescuing the automobile industry, for the withdrawal from Iraq, for killing Osama bin Laden; he is disappointed in the failure to close Guantánamo and to appoint more champions of economic fairness, and he sees an unseemly friendliness toward corporations—the usual liberal points of praise and dispraise. He’s wary about joining another campaign. “I did it twice because things were so dire,” he said. “It seemed like if I was ever going to spend whatever small political capital I had, that was the moment to do so. But that capital diminishes the more often you do it. While I’m not saying never, and I still like to support the President, you know, it’s something I didn’t do for a long time, and I don’t have plans to be out there every time.”
The capital diminishes? Not if you're a good capitalist. Interesting that you build "political capital" by not using it at all... not in the realm of politics anyway. Or... what am I saying? You didn't build that political capital. Somebody else made that happen. Rock and roll didn't get invented on its own. Government created the conditions for the music industry so that all the pop stars could win the love of the people and they owe a hunk of that burning love back to the politicians who created this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed them to thrive.

136 comments:

cassandra lite said...

What's the over-under on the number of corporate entities Bruce controls to protect and grow his capital? Five? Twenty?

Chip S. said...

Government created the conditions for the music industry...

Just think of the debt that rock musicians owe to slavery and Jim Crow, which created the conditions for the blues, from which rock 'n' roll was derived.

cubanbob said...

As Glenn Reynold said bring back the Eisenhower era taxes on the movie industry and expand it to the entertainment industry and tighten up the copyright laws and Bruce will morph in to Ted Nugent. Well, maybe not so crazy but close enough for government work.

Jay said...

Ah, the old "some people say" trick.

By the way, pay up you unpatriotic greedy bastards!

AndyN said...

"I did it twice because things were so dire..."

And things aren't dire now? Or campaigning for a solution to the dire situation we're in now would require you to admit you wrong about the last president you helped get elected?

bagoh20 said...

I would suggest to Bruce that if he wants to do something about those often talked about yet rarely helped leftist constituencies, that he spend something other than his political capital on them. Hell, he could single-handedly create more jobs than Obama did. Shut up and hire someone.

bagoh20 said...

You know, maybe those eat-the-rich people have a point sometimes.

Chip S. said...

The definitive guide to the building and use of political capital was published a long time ago.

Springsteen seems to understand.

(Surprise! Not a Machiavelli link.)

chickelit said...

I think Springsteen's career and legacy has taken a hit each time he stepped out to help Democrats: Kerry in 2004 and Obama in 2008. He's wise to stop and to reflect on what that means and why.

The sage of Hibbings has a clue...

Q said...

“I did it twice because things were so dire"


Things were do dire back when the unemployment rate was 4.5%. Now that it's double that, things are just hunky-dory.

chickelit said...

One truth is that you can go around the world and sing praises to the poor and downtrodden like Woody Guthrie did in this country. But you can't do that in this country anymore. The problems are endemic and to a certain degree government- and self-inflicted. The next "Prophet of the People" (whether minstrel or what not) will spread that message and will profit handsomely, materially or spiritually.

traditionalguy said...

Skinning the wealthy works the same way legal Class Actions work, where the claims of thousands of plaintiffs to a billion dollars are collected by a Law Firm (the Dems) who settle quick and keep a third of a billion for themselves and send every one in the class who was screwed a check for $120.

G Joubert said...

.”The capital diminishes? Not if you're a good capitalist. Interesting that you build "political capital" by not using it at all...

I say he's saying he only has a couple of shots at being influential and making a difference, because if he keeps on weighing in on politics he'll soon be pegged as a die-hard knee-jerk lib, at which point people will stop paying attention to what he says about politics.

tiger said...

Meh. Uninformed people say uninformed things.

The situation was 'dire' before but now, with 8.0+ UE (vs. 4.5 then) the U.S. credit rating down-graded and inactivity against enemies foreign and domestic things aren't so bad?

Pfft.

Bruce is a capitalist but is ashamed of it. I am positive his accountants and business managers use every possible trick to shield his earnings.

If he wasn't a capitalist why does he work to maximize his income via record sales, publishing, merchandising and ticket sales.

Here's were his attending a few Econ 101/102 classes might have helped when he was in junior college for a semester.

William said...

This observation deserves to be trite: artists know as much about politics as politicans know about art. I think Tolstoy was a tad brighter than Springsteen, but, in the realm of politics and economics, he was stupid.....Springsteen is part of my life's songbook, and I wish his poliics were more aligned to mine, but that's the way it goes.

Ken said...

Springsteen, and by extension, his wife are a joke. Why do people listen to him/them?

Who cares about washed up, mediocre musicians? Good for him that he made it big. Now he's just a political hack and a musical has been.

Go away.

edutcher said...

That old maxim, "There's no such thing as a poor, white Liberal", has a corollary, "No matter how guilty they say they feel, they all like to hang on to their money".

(which is why they move from MA to places like NH, VT, or ME)

Crimso said...

Hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue. I suspect that she and her husband see something inherently virtuous in being in the "99%." I get the same vibe from Johnny Cougar (that was his 99%er name).

sydney said...

I was a teenage Bruce Springsteen fan. The most popular band in my high school was Lynrd Skynrd, but I loved Bruce. Not too long ago I downloaded a bunch of music from my youth just to reminisce. To my surprise, I now like the Lynrd Skynrd songs better than the Springsteen songs. In fact, I can barely stomach the Springsteen songs (except for Thunder Road.) They are too whiney. Give me the philosophy of Simple Man and keep your Hungry Heart.

Reading the New Yorker profile, I discover that I also no longer care much for Mr. Springsteen. If you want to do good in the world, sell some of your houses and horses and give your money to charity - or even better yet, devote yourself to charity. I'm sure with his influence and cash, he could do a lot of good.

Ann Althouse said...

"I say he's saying he only has a couple of shots at being influential and making a difference, because if he keeps on weighing in on politics he'll soon be pegged as a die-hard knee-jerk lib, at which point people will stop paying attention to what he says about politics."

But that's my point. If political capital were really what the metaphor makes it sound like, then using it would mean using it in a way that builds more capital -- you'd be investing and increasing it, not depleting it.

Chip S. said...

If political capital were really what the metaphor makes it sound like, then using it would mean using it in a way that builds more capital -- you'd be investing and increasing it, not depleting it.

You were right the first time--this is only true of good investors.

He depleted his political capital by endorsing someone who's "stimulated" the economy into the worst recovery ever. Give him credit for realizing that, at least.

Patrick said...

I will probably always be a Springsteen apologist. I wonder, however, how he could decide in 2004 to expend whatever political capital he had on John Kerry. I mean, I can understand lefty disappointment and bitterness to GWB, but John Kerry? I don't get it. Had he chosen better, he'd be more relevant.

Pogo said...

Springsteen's a goddamned hypocrite. A total 1 percenter, wailing about the 'common man'.

Lyrics from his most recent album, -which I did not buy and won't listen to- show a rich populist fomenting violence. He can go to hell:

"The banker man grows fatter
The working man grows thin
It’s all happened before and it’ll happen again

So you use what you’ve got
And you learn to make do
You take the old, you make it new
If I had me a gun
I’d find the bastards and shoot ‘em on sight

-----
There’s nothing to it mister
You won’t hear a sound
When your whole world comes tumbling down
And all them fat cats they just think it’s funny
I’m going on the town now looking for easy money

-----

Now get yourself a song to sing and sing it ’til you’re done
Yeah, sing it hard and sing it well
Send the robber baron’s straight to hell
The greedy thieves that came around
And ate the flesh of everything they’ve found
Whose crimes have gone unpunished now
Walk the streets as free men now

-----

Gambling man rolls the dice, working man pays the bills
It's still fat and easy up on bankers hill
Up on bankers hill the party's going strong
Down here below we're shackled and drawn
"


(hey, mebbe I should downlaod it for free)

Jay said...

By the way, "my family became pretty wealthy" is a pretty silly euphemism for: Bruce Springstein got filthy, stinkin rich off his musical talents.

AJ Lynch said...

Insty has skewered the Obamaites for the Ann Romney horse thing while, at the same time, their big supporter, the Springsteens, have a daughter who does the expensive, high class dressage in the horsey set.

Btw, E Street radio is one of my favorite Sirius stations and it makes me laugh when I hear all of Bruce's populist songs.

Charlie said...

I'd like to see The Boss' tax returns!

harrogate said...

"Up on bankers hill the party's going strong/
Down here below we're shackled and drawn"

But that's true.

Pogo said...

But Springsteen's one of the rich bankers, you dolt.

He's a hypocrite.

harrogate said...

so only poor people can complain about these issues? no rich people can speak on behalf of the poor and working classes? ok.

good thing poor people have access to microphones then. oh, wait....

Christopher in MA said...

Anybody who thinks Bruce Springsteen is the voice of the working man probably thinks John Cougar Mellencamp is Woody Guthrie redux.

Pogo said...

"..no rich people can speak on behalf of the poor and working classes? ok."

No they can't, not when they espouse socialism and violence. He doesn't practice what he preaches. That's why he's a hypocrite.

Pogo said...

All he does is sell songs to the poor man. What a crock of shit.

Christopher in MA said...

No rich people can speak on behalf of the poor and working classes?

Of course they can. TR and FDR did it quite well. They, however, were smart people. I doubt Bruce is, beyond his capability to propel a faux-gravelly voice, indifferent guitar playing and utterly trite lyrics into a wildly successful gig.

Let's put it this way - Bruce has as much gravitas to speak about the wealth of nations as Paul McCartney has about global warming. Which would be the same amount of such as the drunk at the corner bar.

Or you.

harrogate said...

So then nobody to speak for the voiceless. If you can afford to be heard, then you are a hypocrite if you dare to criticize the damage wrought by others with power, or call attention to the plight and grievances of those who cannot afford to be heard?

Pogo said...

TR spoke for the common man, a bit.

FDR spoke to the common man, and promised to give them shit.

edutcher said...

harrogate said...

"Up on bankers hill the party's going strong/
Down here below we're shackled and drawn"

But that's true.


The most comfortable poverty in the history of the human race.

No, it's not.

so only poor people can complain about these issues? no rich people can speak on behalf of the poor and working classes? ok.

Of course, they can.

Osama bin Laden did it. Carlos The Jackal did it. Patty Hearst did it.

Pogo said...

"...call attention to the plight and grievances of those who cannot afford to be heard?"

Well, not by playing guitar for them and charging admission. That's just slumming, to a good beat.

Chip Ahoy said...

I found every word resonate and true ding there's that sound I hear when truth gets stated so plainly.

For the spring works best when fully compressed, springs are to make things rigid, and the bolt is screwed on loosely because its purpose is to hold things together just barely so that everything rattles around nicely. And the piston spins around inside the chamber for efficiency and the exhaust is feed back into the gas line, the starter motor halts engine activity and the headlights bring complete darkness.

That's what reading that was like ding it totally resonates.

Paul Zrimsek said...

If they're so voiceless, how do you know you're speaking for them? Did they write it down for you on index cards, or what?

harrogate said...

Pogo, since it is clear that you do not think the thing he is singing about there is a legitimate issue, it strains credulity that you would be an objective or even somewhat reasonable arbiter of what would be a legitimate messager, or means for spreading that message.

harrogate said...

Paul, that comment is not offered in good faith. Par the course for you?

The Crack Emcee said...

"I remember when my family became pretty wealthy,...."

So do I - that was when King Oikaphobia destroyed his family to hook up with his back-up singer.

"Some people tried to make us feel bad about being wealthy."

Really? Or getting there on your back with no regard for others?

Got a wife and kids in baltimore jack
I went out for a ride and I never went back
Like a river that don't know where it's flowing
I took a wrong turn and I just kept going


Inspiring,...

chickelit said...

harrogate said...
So then nobody to speak for the voiceless. If you can afford to be heard, then you are a hypocrite if you dare to criticize the damage wrought by others with power, or call attention to the plight and grievances of those who cannot afford to be heard?

Who exactly are the voiceless about whom you speak? Are they fans of Mr. Springsteen? I suspect that Hip Hop artists and the Chicano equivalents might reach more of whom you speak. Springsteen's very words and imagery sort make him a fossil.

The Boss is a Boomer

Paul Zrimsek said...

When there's a question to be answered, harrogate turns out to be as voiceless as any of 'em. But who's complaining?

harrogate said...

Christopher in MA wrote:

"Anybody who thinks Bruce Springsteen is the voice of the working man probably thinks John Cougar Mellencamp is Woody Guthrie redux."

Heh. Because if Woody Guthrie were around today you'd be bursting with respect for him, yes?

But anyway, it depends on what you are comparing Springsteen to (or even Mellencamp!) That is, in terms of who has the money and ability to contribute forcefully to current public discourse (that is, be heard), there truly is not a lot out there on behalf of working class people, and almost nothing on behalf of poor people. Springsteen has always done, and continues to do, a better job at this than most all politicians or CEOs or even performance artists.

Revenant said...

no rich people can speak on behalf of the poor and working classes?

Well obviously they *can*, it is just hard to take them seriously.

Triangle Man said...

The Government created the Vietnam War which was the proximate cause for the U.S. cultural revolution that incubated rock music.

harrogate said...

Revenant, that is very convenient for you. It's hard to take them seriously, so scratch them from the conversation. That leaves people with no money and no cultural capital as the only people who can speak on their own behalves. How very Scalia: if the poor and working classes don't like being ignored, then all they have to do is counter it with Speech. How hard can it be? If DisneyCorp. can be heard, so too can anyone else!

Triangle Man said...

Speaking of rich. The rich criticizing Springsteen as a hypocrite for advocating for the poor while being rich. Similarly, it is hypocrisy for the healthy to advocate for the sick.

harrogate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
harrogate said...

"Similarly, it is hypocrisy for the healthy to advocate for the sick."

Yes, that does appear to be the logic at play here. Good thing no men came out for women's suffrage during that movement, for example. Would have depurified the whole damned thing.

jeff said...

"for rescuing the automobile industry"
Well, let's see. GM stock is still falling, Chrysler was sold to the Italians. The rest of the automobile industry might disagree. Ford, Honda, Toyota, BMW all seem to be doing ok and have plants in this country.

Rob said...

Wow. I hate Bruce Springsteen's politics and I am not nearly the fan of his anthems as I once was. However I still love a lot of his songs (My Beautiful Reward, One Step Up, Girls in their Summer Clothes, Downbound Train, Backstreets, etc...)

This is nonsense. The Springsteens ARE extremely rich and if he is so darned concerned about fairness he can just give it all away.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Whoever claims to be spokesman for a heterogeneous group of tens of millions of people, without even the poor excuse of having won an election, is a humbug, whatever else he may be.

Tarzan said...

To my surprise, I now like the Lynrd Skynrd songs better than the Springsteen songs.

Yes. The classic Skynyrd archives have weathered well. Ronnie Van Zandt was a very thoughtful person on many levels AND a serious kicker of ass. Wish he could have lived long enough to do a project with Niel Young. They apparently spoke of doing so quite seriously.

Steve Gaines - SERIOUS pickin' and grinnin'!

Meh. What can you do but carry on.

Tarzan said...

Yes, it's true. I can't spell 'Neil' and never good. Don't even get me started on 'Keith'.

Tarzan said...

Could. Never COULD.

Jeez. I need to start drinking again.

Triangle Man said...

@Paul

Humbug indeed. You propose some credential or test of someone's worthiness to speak publicly?

Clyde said...

Springsteen already nailed himself in his own lyrics back in 1992:

"Well I took a piss at fortune’s sweet kiss,
"It’s like eatin’ caviar and dirt.
"It’s sad funny ending to find yourself pretending,
"A rich man in a poor man’s shirt."

-- "Better Days," Lucky Town

Tarzan said...

'Rosalita', however, will remain a favorite with me. 16 track masterpiece of great songwriting, performance and production, and I give the man full marks for that.

William said...

I can see a place for Sprinsteen for Obama in the coming election. He could organize an activist group--I'm thinking Fucked Up Celebrities for Obama. FUCO celebrities could sign up and promise to donate the cost of their next fix, rehab stay, or divorce settlement to Obama. Besides generating millions, this would help celebrities to pretend that their flawed, self indulgent lives are purposeful and moral. It's win win for everbody.

Paul Zrimsek said...

You propose some credential or test of someone's worthiness to speak publicly?

When someone's claiming to speak on behalf of other people-- which is what we're talking about here-- the obvious thing to look for is some indication that they've granted him that right.

Triangle Man said...

@Paul

Rather than attacking or undermining the credibility of the speaker (you know, ad hominem), why not evaluate the truth of the statements?

Hunter said...

"Government created the conditions for the music industry so that all the pop stars could win the love of the people and they owe a hunk of that burning love back to the politicians"

Ironically, this is one industry where that assertion is true. There has always been popular music, with or without governments. But the ability of a few musicians to get rich flows from the way politicians have fashioned the modern copyright system on their behalf.

Triangle Man said...

Back on topic. I agree with Althouse (I think). What Springsteen has is celebrity not political capital. Perhaps he has been exchanging celebrity for political capital, but he is finding that the transaction fees are high.

harrogate said...

Paul you are just obfuscating. On e can speak on behalf of those who have been wronged, without the permission of the wronged.

The question is, does the injustice to which Springsteen has recently been speaking, exist?

Freder Frederson said...

But Springsteen's one of the rich bankers, you dolt.

What bank does he work for, exactly?

Revenant said...

It's hard to take them seriously, so scratch them from the conversation.

I have no problem with them participating in the conversation. Humor is a vital part of life.

That leaves people with no money and no cultural capital as the only people who can speak on their own behalves.

Because the world is, of course, divided into "the rich" and "the destitute".

Paul Zrimsek said...

Rather than attacking or undermining the credibility of the speaker (you know, ad hominem), why not evaluate the truth of the statements?

I thought the credibility of the speaker was the subject at hand. Someone upthread has already disposed of that crapola about the shackles.

Freder Frederson said...

But the ability of a few musicians to get rich flows from the way politicians have fashioned the modern copyright system on their behalf.

The copyright system has been fashioned to protect the large studios (especially Disney). It doesn't particularly benefit artists (in fact many artists do not own the copyright to their own songs). In fact traditional copyright lasted the life of the artist plus a limited time after death. Now every time Mickey Mouse gets close to having his copyright expire, Disney runs to Congress to get it extended.

phx said...

"Up on bankers hill the party's going strong/
Down here below we're shackled and drawn"


I never heard that lyric. It reminds me of

"Up on housing project hill it's either fortune or fame
You must pick one or the other tho neither are to be what they claim."

Suppose a million people already picked up on that.

harrogate said...

"Because the world is, of course, divided into 'the rich' and 'the destitute.'"

Revenant, so who then, that you seem to think I left out (I did not leave anyone out), can be "taken seriously," in your estimation, in advocating on behalf of the poor?

Revenant said...

Rather than attacking or undermining the credibility of the speaker (you know, ad hominem)

Attacks on a person's credibility are not ad hominem attacks. Ad hominem attacks are attacks on aspects of a person, or a person's character, that have no direct bearing on his argument. A person's credibility ALWAYS has a bearing on his argument.

There is no point in engaging with a person's argument when the person's own actions show that he doesn't actually believe the argument himself. Life's too short.

harrogate said...

As any reader of this blog quickly finds: any critique leveled at the practices and degree of influence of the wealthy in this country, and any emphasis on the plight of the poor, the uninsured, etc., is going to be sneered at on this blog. Sneered at by the blogger herself (AA's never more sneery than when it comes to these topics (and that's saying something!), and by the vast lion's share of the commenters.

The identity of the critic is immaterial.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Considering that no one would have paid any of these "arguments" the slightest attention had they not come from Bruce Springsteen, I'd have to say that ad-hominem evaluation has turned out to be a pretty good thing for them, on balance.

harrogate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
harrogate said...

And actually, political capital DOES work in exactly the way he suggests there. Pretty evident to anyone with some cultural awareness.

Revenant said...

Revenant, so who then, that you seem to think I left out (I did not leave anyone out)

The implication of my previous comment is that you left out the group of people who are neither "rich people" nor "people with no money".

This group includes (for example)... you. Also, me. And everyone reading this, unless we have some secret rich folks here. :)

Calypso Facto said...

Who do you think has actually put their money where their mouth is and donated more money to charity, harrogate, Bruce Springsteen or Mitt Romney?

Sure Springsteen can speak about the plight of the poor. But do you think there's anyone in America who doesn't know the poor exist and can have tough lives? If he wants to actually better the lives of the poor he should be providing money and encouraging the poor to achieve better instead of telling them to stay down, cuz there's nothing they can do about it. But that wouldn't sell CDs to bleeding hearts. And since Bruce is concerned about his own success more than that of the poor, he'll just keep singing pitiful songs about the hopelessness of the downtrodden and counting the profits from his sales.

harrogate said...

Revenant, *of course* that was the implication of your comment. That's why i said, you seem to think i left those people out. Except you are wrong. I didn't leave them out.

To recap. You contend that we cannot take rich people seriously, who advocate on behalf of the poor. I note that your contention is absurd on its face.

The upshot is, there are not nearly enough people in this country with the cultural capital, the economic wealth, and the will & desire to advocate for those who are at the bottom. I am thankful for those few that we do have.

harrogate said...

Calypso,

It is almost as if you do not think it a valid option to argue for a different public policy. Just giving to charity and channeling Horatio Alger is all that counts, hmmmmm?

chickelit said...

Speaking as a one-time ardent fan of Springsteen, I simply say that he left me. He wasn't jumping on political bandwagons in the 1970s, but the guy publicly sneered at Reagan's naive praise of "Born In The U.S.A." and music. To me, Springsteen helped start all the divisive bullshit that still continues. Springsteen very publicly wonders why people can't respect all shades of political grey--the guy should look in the mirror.

harrogate said...

Reagan's praise of "Born in the USA" wasn't "naive." it was evident that he had never listened to the song at all, just the chorus line, and decided to appropriate it.

Do you not think Springsteen was right to do what he could to stop Reagan, who embodied so much of what the song critiques, from using it on the campaign trail?

chickelit said...

And Springsteen's folk forebears...Guthrie, Dylan, Seeger...they all did their political thing with a lot more class and humor. Has Springsteen ever poked fun at his vaunted underclass? Ever? Springsteen is dour power...fight the dour!

Freder Frederson said...

And since Bruce is concerned about his own success more than that of the poor, he'll just keep singing pitiful songs about the hopelessness of the downtrodden and counting the profits from his sales.

You haven't even bothered to find out what kind of charity work Springsteen does, have you?

chickelit said...

harrogate asked: Do you not think Springsteen was right to do what he could to stop Reagan, who embodied so much of what the song critiques, from using it on the campaign trail?

No, I don't think it was right, copyright infringement aside. Springsteen could have asked for royalties and taken the revenues and put them to good use. Like Chrissy Hynde does for PETA with Limbaugh's money.

Get it? Win-Win! not Lose-Lose

Calypso Facto said...

to argue for a different public policy

Of course the Springsteens can and should argue to change public policy where they see fit. It would be preferable to the constant message of hopelessness for the poor he usually shills. I'm happy to see that in this case, for instance they are trying to change the President's public policy of promoting class warfare and "eat the rich" mentality.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

It's still fat and easy up on bankers hill
Up on bankers hill the party's going strong
Down here below we're shackled and drawn


Written by a man who has one kid at Duke and another at Bard College.

Fuck him and the $650K horse he rode in on!

http://www.usatoday.com/life/music/2007-10-05-3212922893_x.htm

chickelit said...

@harrogate: I'm not sure Woody Guthrie ever raised a finger to stop anyone from using one of his songs. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

Springsteen became a petulent little fuck in his tiff with Reagan.

Freder Frederson said...

Speaking as a one-time ardent fan of Springsteen, I simply say that he left me. He wasn't jumping on political bandwagons in the 1970s

You apparently weren't much of an ardent fan. By "The River" , Springsteen was explicitly political. By 1979 he was performing as part of Musicians for Safe Energy, an anti-nuclear group, and participating in the documentary "No Nukes"

Freder Frederson said...

Fuck him and the $650K horse he rode in on!

Such hostility against rich people! I thought I was the one who was supposed to hate rich people

Freder Frederson said...

I'm happy to see that in this case, for instance they are trying to change the President's public policy of promoting class warfare and "eat the rich" mentality.

Other than AA's snark, I don't see any evidence of this.

Revenant said...

hat's why i said, you seem to think i left those people out. Except you are wrong. I didn't leave them out.

Of course you did. You said the only people who weren't rich were people with no money. :)

jacksonjay said...

I believe that the great populist, Bono has been accused of working feverishly to avoid paying his "fair share" in Ireland!

These guys are all the same, they know how to flim-flam da masses! Or is that "dumb asses"?

Amartel said...

"Speaking of rich. The rich criticizing Springsteen as a hypocrite for advocating for the poor while being rich. Similarly, it is hypocrisy for the healthy to advocate for the sick."

40 minutes later ...

"Rather than attacking or
undermining the credibility of the speaker (you know, ad hominem), why not evaluate the truth of the statements?"

Oh, the hypocrisy. (But that's okay, because criticizers of Springsteen are rich, rich I tells ya! Ergo, no need to evaluate the truth of their arguments.)

Springsteen had one great album, one good album, and years and years of awesome corporate-sponsored ass-kissing publicity. Advocating for the poor? Please.

"Music of rebellion makes you wanna rage,
But it's made by millionaires that are really twice your age."
- Porcupine Tree, "The Sound of Muzak", from In Absentia (2002)

chickelit said...

@Freder: 1979 was just around the time he lost me.

chickelit said...

@Freder: Wasn't "No Nukes" just coal-fired amplification?

harrogate said...

"You said the only people who weren't rich were people with no money."

Revenant, on a thread that people can actually go back and read the comments, why are you trading in such shitty little lies?

I guess it's because your original snark against rich people standing up for the poor (oh no!!!! batten the hatches!! the erudite Revenant cannot take them seriously!!!!), was so outrageously, hyperbolically stupid, that even you couldn't bear to sustain it.

Calypso Facto said...

You haven't even bothered to find out what kind of charity work Springsteen does, have you?

I have, and it's fine as such. My point that his dour musical work doesn't help the poor to help themselves still stands.

harrogate said...

"Has Springsteen ever poked fun at his vaunted underclass? Ever?"

Maybe he's not into kicking people that are already down. That attitude does not play well around here, I know. But you might be interested to know that there are others who share it.

bagoh20 said...

What makes Springsteen any better than the other capitalists he attacks in his lyrics? I think the capital that the bankers make available is far more helpful to the poor and everyone else than some songs by a wealthy troubadour.

harrogate said...

"My point that his dour musical work doesn't help the poor to help themselves still stands."

That comment is so many kinds of ignorant.

bagoh20 said...

Any body that makes money off of convincing you that you are a victim is a parasite sucking you dry for his own betterment. He is making you weaker while enriching himself.

harrogate said...

Bagoh20 once again dropping his "let me tell you how it really is" smug-ass pearls of wisdom. Good God do you ever get tired of being oh so bootstrappy and right all the time? I mean, it must be tough!

Look, hoss. it's not convincing people they are victims to point out the existence of victims.

Blue@9 said...

Well obviously they *can*, it is just hard to take them seriously.

True. It's been hard to take the Democrats seriously when their torchbearers for anti-poverty have included Ted Kennedy and John Edwards.


If political capital were really what the metaphor makes it sound like, then using it would mean using it in a way that builds more capital -- you'd be investing and increasing it, not depleting it.

Maybe capital is the wrong word. Perhaps it would be more appropriate to call it a voucher. God knows Oprah used all of hers already.

chickelit said...

Maybe he's not into kicking people that are already down.

Who said anything about kicking people when they're down? Is that really what you equate with "poking fun at"?

You poor, sad, impoverished man.

Revenant said...

You apparently weren't much of an ardent fan. By "The River" , Springsteen was explicitly political.

Eerie coincidence there: a lot of Springsteen's fans think "The River" marks the point at which Springsteen started to go downhill.

Up through "Darkness on the Edge of Town", Springsteen's songs were written from the perspective of what he actually was -- a struggling musician from a blue-collar background, living in the (then) declining industrial northeast. With "The River", he started trying to write for a broader audience... but he didn't really have any experience to write from, there. It brought him commercial success, certainly -- "Born in the USA" remains his best-selling album, last I checked -- but the soul, for want of a better term, was gone from his music.

He also began to de-emphasize the E Street Band. His greatest early material were true ensemble pieces, but his 80s hits tended to be simplistic songs that emphasized one or two instruments.

Politics aside, if you want absolute positive proof that Springsteen is out of touch, you need look no further than the fact that he's still touring with "The E Street Band" even though Clarence Clemmons and Danny Federici are dead.

Michael Haz said...

Shut up and sing.

Revenant said...

Revenant, on a thread that people can actually go back and read the comments, why are you trading in such shitty little lies?

Well, somebody's certainly being a grouchy bear this afternoon. :)

Ralph L said...

any critique leveled at the practices and degree of influence of the wealthy in this country
... is going to be sneered at on this blog
Stop sneering at us critiquing one wealthy Artiste.

BS should run for office with Wendy.

He said he would.

Pips: Woo woo.

The Crack Emcee said...

harrogate,

Do you not think Springsteen was right to do what he could to stop Reagan, who embodied so much of what the song critiques, from using it on the campaign trail?

All of Bruce's "characters" are idiots.

I've done a pretty extensive investigation of Springsteen's lyrics and I haven't found one intelligent (or even sympathetic) subject in any of them. They're all surface-level morons, framed so those who don't think too hard will feel sorry for them. Well I don't. They're losers, every one, just as he is.

Just a stupid, big headed, loser,...

chickelit said...

I must admit that I cotton fondly to the vision of "...barefoot girls sittin' on the hood of Dodge, drinkin' warm beer in the soft summer rain..."

But Crack is right--I'm not sure if the girls were intelligent or not.

Amartel said...

I always liked "Thunder Road" and the idea of talking his girlfriend into "riding out tonight to case the promised land."

"It's a town full of losers and I'm pulling out of here to win."
Most honest lyrics he ever wrote and it came true too.

Penny said...

So the Springsteens have finally determined that they need to protect their artistic brand from ALL the "usurpers".

It's HARD being New Jersey's favorite musical native son when both your state and national politicians are now wanting to DEMAND, through legislation, that you dance to your own tune.

Idiot pols! Don't they KNOW musicians can't dance?

bagoh20 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bagoh20 said...

Look harrogate, you either have an argument or you don't. I guess if you have to go all ad hom then you must not.

"Look, hoss. it's not convincing people they are victims to point out the existence of victims."

Bullshit!. If they didn't think he was writing about them, he wouldn't sell many songs. He doesn't sing much about the poor in Senegal, or anywhere else where they are actually poor, because they can't afford his compassion, and he wouldn't make money off them.

I get all "bootstrappy", because it works, and it's moral. You don't like that, because it means your'e wrong, and your political ideas are bankrupt and counterproductive. I can appreciate why you would feel that, but don't blame the messenger.

Penny said...

HINT:

Don't fuck with the artists.

They're thin-skinned, for cripes sake.

Quite like Obama, now that I think about it.

Penny said...

Would anyone here bet against me if I said Obama and his people are MOST interested in poll results that say,

"President Obama is a likeable guy"?

Penny said...

Hell, up until the past week, his nemesis, Mitt Romney's been reinforcing that meme.

Revenant said...

Reagan, who embodied so much of what the song critiques

I get the feeling you haven't paid any more attention to the lyrics than Reagan himself did.

Penny said...

Many of us have been raised to believe that nice guys finish last.

Look for a major shift to that message moving forward. Particularly in special interest articles written by women.

And to all the nice guys out there? Obama NEEDS you too!

He needs you to be nice...like he is!

Screw class warfare.

From now on, it's gonna be about being the nice guy who finishes FIRST!

bagoh20 said...

" Good God do you ever get tired of being oh so bootstrappy and right all the time? I mean, it must be tough!"

Yes, Harrogate, it's exhausting, but I love you enough to keep at it anyway, and I'm not insulting you or charging you like Bruce does. Doesn't that make you just wanna punch him, because it should.

Revenant said...

I've done a pretty extensive investigation of Springsteen's lyrics and I haven't found one intelligent (or even sympathetic) subject in any of them.

I'm having a hard time coming up with intelligent subjects of music in general. Like the saying goes -- anything too stupid to be said is sung.

Some of Springsteen's earlier songs, like "Jungleland" and "Meeting Across the River", do contain self-awareness that the characters' problems are of their own making.

harrogate said...

It's not that interesting and even strong criticisms cannot be made of Springsteen's politics or his music. It's just that such critiques are not present on this thread.

bagoh20 said...

I don't really listen to lyrics much, and I don't think most people do. A song gives you a feeling, and many lyrics are written because the words just sound good flowing together. I don't really know the lyrics to a lot of the songs I've loved for years, that's why I liked Springsteen a lot before I started hearing his politics after 9/11.

I just wish they would "Shut Up and Sing". I don't wanna know what my dentist does with his hands at home either. I've gotten to where I now actively avoid finding out the politics of the artists I like.

harrogate said...

bagoh20, that's all well and good except, as is so often the case, you haven't made an argument here to address. Your posts in this thread are for the most part dominated by braggadocio.

The closest I see to cogent argument is the one-note refrain, to the value of Hard Work. Fair enough, an excellent value. But if you don't understand that it is limited on its own as a political caveat and more importantly, as a way of addressing problems, then you are in even worse shape then your generally self-satisfied pose on these here internets make you appear to be.

Your reference to the poor in Senegal is misdirection. It is a distorted self-satisfied logic that, taken to its logical conclusion, suggests there is no real poverty or underclass in the US, and that attempts to address our poverty problem are thereby illegitimized.

Except that poverty and an underclass do exist here, in excruciating three dimensionality. And the people a the top of our economy have freakishly outsized influence over our economic and foreign policies, and enormous say over who the politicians we elect are, in the first place. So these are things worth talking about.

Thanks God there are still a few rich people out there who can see past the end of their own noses. Springsteen is one of them.

harrogate said...

Now like a snowball comes the "Shut up a sing" comments. Ha.

I remember when he was on SNL as a sitting Senator, John McCain did a sketch where he performed Barbara Streisand's songs. His "point" was that singing the songs was her job, but that policy was his.

Except it was a dumbass argument to make. While McCain is no artist, She's a citizen of the country. Being an artist doesn't take away one's citizenship or right to speak on things. Indeed, much of our best art in all mediums, is invested in social and political critique.

If you want "apolitical" art, hey, go for it. But "shut up and sing", on the scale of argumentative legitimacy, rivals a good long belch.

Amartel said...

Haha, McCain gets points for that. That's funny. Everyone gets to speak but celebrities get to use a microphone when they speak so when they start doling out simplistic ignorant advice about how to run the country they open themselves up to criticism as well.

harrogate said...

Amartel, actually on its own merits, it WAS funny. (He was a pretty decent host, in truth. he did a mean John Ashcroft).

That's why the comparison to a belch is so apt. Sometimes belches are funny too.

Revenant said...

The point was that she's as good a political commentator as he is a singer, not that either of them is forbidden from participating in either activity. :)

Streisand has all the political acumen one would expect from a pop singer with a high school diploma. Certainly she's entitled to hold political opinions and act one them, but no sensible person takes her any more seriously than they would Britney Spears, Bono or Ted Nugent.

The great irony is that people listen to her political views (and Springsteen's, Donald Trumps, et al) simply because humans are predisposed to be deferential to the rich and powerful. There's no rational reason to, at least where pop stars are concerned; people are just wired that way.

bagoh20 said...

Harrogate:
" Your posts in this thread are for the most part dominated by braggadocio."

I don't know, maybe you use words you don't understand, but could you go back in this thread and find an example of that, just one? I never even mentioned myself, except just now to say I don't know the lyrics of songs I like. I'm a regular Barney Fife.

chickelit said...

@bagoh20: Maybe harrogate meant bravaccio because he felt a little bullied by you. Not that you're a bully, but harrogate always struck me as someone who is, like Andy R, overly sensitive to perceived bullying. Also, harrogate might just like to sprinkle his prose with italian flavor.

William said...

I just read the New Yorker article. Springsteen comes across as likeable and sympathetic. He might be of the devil's party and not know it. He's never used drugs and works frantically hard at his trade. I think Reagan got it right about Born in the USA, and Springsteen is wrong. Whatever the lyrics say, the melody is upbeat and affirmative. The fact that the music can be so positive in the litany of sorrows that the lyrics catalogue is a form of patriotism.....I don't agree with Springsteen's politics. The dynamics of his resentment to hisfather seem to have gotten all mixed up with his music and his politics. Republicans are not the party of irrational authority, but it serves his muse to think thus. However it happened he created some fine music. I think you lose some of the zest for life if you put a litmus test on a singer's politics. Rejecting Springsteen's music because, politically, he is a jerk is like banning that Greek woman from the Olympics because she told a dumb joke.

tiger said...

Read the article.

Weird.

Been a fan on and off for 35 years.
Yeah, he's a smart guy but his desire for liberal politics doesn't seem genuine; more along the lines that it was expect of him and he constantly looks for ways to justify believing that stuff.

Also this: The comments about thinking the big thoughts.

Please.

Having spent waaaaay too much time in my younger years doing the same, for him, at 62, to still be struggling over all that stuff is immature.

As Stephen King (a hack) wrote in The Stand: sooner or later a man's got to slap a coat of varnish on his beliefs and call it 'good'.

At 62 Bruce seems to be stuck in adolescence and this is just sad.

He STILL puts on a great show, regardless of his politics and if you haven't seen - be it lately or ever - go! You won't regret it.

The Crack Emcee said...

Good God do you ever get tired of being oh so bootstrappy and right all the time?

I am seriously starting to enjoy how maddening that is for some people. They're so comfortable in the world of "wrong," where people maintain the lopsided grins of imbeciles; no more aware of an answer than "I don't know" and always, always, always expecting sex for it. Because they're so nice.

Jesus, I'm tearing up.

Turning this ship of state around is a slow process, but it's happening. Many don't understand why or how, but that's O.K. - pat them on the head lovingly while explaining, "The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind," and watch them run away to catch it like an errant balloon.

The Special Olympics have people who run it. That's our job - it makes us happy.

Yours is to jump up and down for candy.

harrogate said...

"I am seriously starting to enjoy how maddening that is for some people."


Crack, You wish it were "maddening" but what it really is, is "cute." As in, hey look, dude thinks life works like an Ayn Rand comic book. With himself cast as hero. Natch.

Your own approach, admit, is slightly more interesting. At least you concoct your delusions of "old school" grandeur, with more than a little verve.

This line, for example: "I've done a pretty extensive investigation of Springsteen's lyrics..." Nice. I bet a couple of people on here even bought that premise as they moved into the rest of the vacuous claims in the sentence.