Sunday, March 11, 2012

Easy Money

There's nothing new about bashing the Boss. Way back in the 1980's, when he was at the height of his popularity, Bruce Springsteen was the object of ridicule and scorn. He had sold out, and not in the "no-more-tickets-for-the-show" way. How could this hero of the common man be anything but a hypocrite as he was jetting across the globe singing songs about the downtrodden with his fabulous model wife and his body by Jake? I remember that even back then I flinched when I was asked to fork over twenty-five dollars to see the Born In The U.S.A. tour. These were not great seats, mind you, but to quote the man himself, it was "The Price You Pay."
I defended him when his marriage broke up. I bought both "Human Touch" and "Lucky Town." I watched him on Saturday Night Live with a band I did not recognize. I kept buying tickets to shows even though the price crept past my comfort range, right up to this tour where I am paying a little over a hundred dollars apiece for the privilege of taking my family to see the man who sings "We Take Care Of Our Own." I am not immune to the irony of this situation. Nor am I able to simply sever the ties that bind.
Bruce would not deny that he is part of the dreaded one percent, but he wouldn't publicize it. Not like Mitt Romney and his wife, who doesn't consider herself wealthy. Many of the songs on the new Springsteen album, "Wrecking Ball," ring through with echoes of the Occupy Movement. It's probably not a surprise that the CDs and mP3 downloads are not free. Considerable amounts of money are being made here. So why would anyone in the ninety-nine percent want to support this kind of behavior?
Maybe because of what Bruce stands for. It's not about what he is anymore. He hasn't been struggling to make ends meet for decades. He's just been singing about it, and this weird culture in which we live that elevates those with particular skills and abilities above others continues its wild obsession. A victim of his own fame? Maybe, but I'll still take the guy who doesn't brag about his wife's two Cadillacs or make ten thousand dollar bets in front of a national television audience. Or maybe I'm just too old to go out and find a new hero of the working man.

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