Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Springsteen is a Classic.

Normally, I wouldn't blog about someone like Glenn Beck.  As a Canadian I find him kind of a waste of time. Probably most American's do too. For most people who are reasonably intelligent these kind of people are low value targets. Sort of like Monte Solberg or Charles Adler if you need a Canadian reference point.

However, attacking Bruce Springsteen and his iconic song Born in the USA struck a raw nerve.

(Young Turks Video)

I wasn't overly interested by Beck's recent attacks on the social justice teachings of Jesus.  It was funny in the sense that he dragged a whole bunch of pundits into an argument about a person who probably didn't exist, and if he did exist likely didn't say those things.  The social teachings of Jesus as presented in the Sermon on the Mount, for example, are insipid.  They seem to be established religious teachings, or proverbs, that predate the time of Jesus. They can be viewed like a set of minimum expectations for a society. And yet here were are 2000 years later still arguing with Jesus' followers about the basic rights of people.

Beck's attack on Born in the USA hits much closer to home and rings a bell about the feelings many of us had growing up. The singer asks a very powerful question about where his country went wrong by referencing poverty, hopelessness, urban decay and the pointless and tragic Vietnam war.

Growing up in Edmonton I was certainly not sent off to war and had a remarkably lucky life. But I  remember vividly driving through the industrial waste land and urban sprawl of Edmonton late at night with my friends and being afraid of the future. What the hell were we supposed to do with our lives?  Songs like Born in the USA were very meaningful. They were rare anthems that rose above the emptiness of pop music.

Beck "gets" the lyrics a few years later than everyone else and determines there is some kind of America hating going on. Call out the flying monkeys. Too bad.  History will rank this song as an American Classic, ranking with the best songs of Woody Guthrie or Bob Dylan.  Kids in school will study the lyrics 100 years from now.  Beck's insanity, not so much.

Note: Background on Ronald Reagan's imbecilic references to Springsteen in the 1984 re-election campaign, here. Please recommend this post

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