Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Politics: The Boss

Bruce Springsteen kicks ass!

Well, the new politically active Bruce, anyway.

I've never been the biggest Springsteen fan. I've got no problem with him, and I like much of his music, but I just never caught the fever or grasped the intense obsession of his fans (same for the Dead among others). I've gone as far as to say he's overrated. That's certainly an unfair comment stemming more from my ignorance and lack of appreciation of Springsteen than an actual analysis of his talent or contributions to music.

I have a lot of respect for an artist willing to take a chance and alienate some of his fans to stand up for something he thinks is important. And I'm happy that it's coming from a guy as articulate as Springsteen. His NYT Op-Ed is a must-read. Since the above link will probably turn into a pay-to-read archive after a while, I am going to paste the letter into the comments.

Am I gonna go see him on tour? No. But I think I owe his music another shot. Going to the library to grab some CDs on the way home today.

[UPDATE] Did those "liberals" at Nightline edit Bruce in his interview with Ted Koppel to tone down his endorsement of Kerry/Edwards? Sure seems like it. Robert Mackey has the short version at Altercation here. Long version at his own blog here.


skippy said...

nice blog, mr. furious.

i agree 100% with your view on the boss. his music is dancable and hummable, but he's not the second coming of the beatles (or even the who).

yet i have new found respect for him for putting his butt and his reputation on the line for the cause.

Dude Quixote said...

The Boss rocks. And the fact that he's smart, well-spoken and funny (the "well-to-do guitar players" line)doesn't hurt.

Mr Furious said...

Hmm. I could swear I already put this up, but for some reason, it's not here. Here's the Op-Ed letter...


CHORDS FOR CHANGEBy Bruce Springsteen
Published: August 5, 2004
A nation's artists and musicians have a particular place in its social and political life. Over the years I've tried to think long and hard about what it means to be American: about the distinctive identity and position we have in the world, and how that position is best carried. I've tried to write songs that speak to our pride and criticize our failures.

These questions are at the heart of this election: who we are, what we stand for, why we fight. Personally, for the last 25 years I have always stayed one step away from partisan politics. Instead, I have been partisan about a set of ideals: economic justice, civil rights, a humane foreign policy, freedom and a decent life for all of our citizens. This year, however, for many of us the stakes have risen too high to sit this election out.

Through my work, I've always tried to ask hard questions. Why is it that the wealthiest nation in the world finds it so hard to keep its promise and faith with its weakest citizens? Why do we continue to find it so difficult to see beyond the veil of race? How do we conduct ourselves during difficult times without killing the things we hold dear? Why does the fulfillment of our promise as a people always seem to be just within grasp yet forever out of reach?

I don't think John Kerry and John Edwards have all the answers. I do believe they are sincerely interested in asking the right questions and working their way toward honest solutions. [my emphasis added -- that's the money quote.] They understand that we need an administration that places a priority on fairness, curiosity, openness, humility, concern for all America's citizens, courage and faith.

People have different notions of these values, and they live them out in different ways. I've tried to sing about some of them in my songs. But I have my own ideas about what they mean, too. That is why I plan to join with many fellow artists, including [list edited to make this not a completely illegal re-posting], in touring the country this October. We will be performing under the umbrella of a new group called Vote for Change. Our goal is to change the direction of the government and change the current administration come November.

Like many others, in the aftermath of 9/11, I felt the country's unity. I don't remember anything quite like it. I supported the decision to enter Afghanistan and I hoped that the seriousness of the times would bring forth strength, humility and wisdom in our leaders. Instead, we dived headlong into an unnecessary war in Iraq, offering up the lives of our young men and women under circumstances that are now discredited. We ran record deficits, while simultaneously cutting and squeezing services like afterschool programs. We granted tax cuts to the richest 1 percent (corporate bigwigs, well-to-do guitar players), increasing the division of wealth that threatens to destroy our social contract with one another and render mute the promise of "one nation indivisible."

It is through the truthful exercising of the best of human qualities - respect for others, honesty about ourselves, faith in our ideals - that we come to life in God's eyes. It is how our soul, as a nation and as individuals, is revealed. Our American government has strayed too far from American values. It is time to move forward. The country we carry in our hearts is waiting.

Bruce Springsteen is a writer and performer.

Anonymous said...

Sister E. here. Check this out! (I don't know if I'm allowed to do this--post a link--but it's an article on msn about some lady who wants everyone to boycott the Boss! Oy...