Monday, September 02, 2013

For Salon, Springsteen is the new Rolling Stones

Back when The Rolling Stones played Glastonbury, there were slew upon slew of po-faced commentary complaining that people were saying they were old, blissfully ignoring that "The Rolling Stones are old" jokes and observations are almost as old as The Stones themselves.

In fact, @stuartpenney1 dug this out from a 1973 NME:

Now, Salon's EJ Dickson is making the same basic mistake with Bruce Springsteen.

She's filed a bit about how often people tell her that they don't share her love of the Boss. They enumerate reasons:
He's old.
He sucks.
He sucks because he’s old.
He’s old because he sucks.
He sings about being a member of the working class even though he’s made millions and millions of dollars over the past 30 years
“Born in the USA” sucks.
EJ then launches into a spirited defence of his effect, which is mostly fair.

That's not the problem. The problem is the finger-pointing at who dislikes Bruce:
In my 24 years as a die-hard Bruce fan, I have had this conversation approximately eight or nine hundred thousand times. While the people on the other end tend to skew toward a specific demographic — white, male, in a creative profession, dating someone with bangs and an Egon Schiele tattoo — they come from a wide range of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, from Bushwick installation artists to a bouncer I met in Ireland, who used his loathing for “Born in the USA” as a launchpad for a diatribe against Michelle Obama and the Gregorian calendar. Yet despite their many differences, these people have two things in common: They’re all around my age (i.e., in their early to mid-20s), and they all loathe Bruce Springsteen. The iron fist of Bruce hatred has come down on millennials, and it has struck even the best and brightest of us.
Now, first of all, using the word "millennials" is, like dressing food with rosemary, seldom an acceptable thing to do in mixed company.

And I don't doubt that EJ does meet young people who struggle to take on board the whole rich/blue collar thing, or share a fundamental misunderstanding of Born In The USA.

But these aren't cavils that have been created by people born in the dying years of the 20th Century.

Thinking Born In The USA is some sort of proud American anthem dates back so far it's believed that someone walking their dog past Bruce's house when he was first writing the song heard a few lines coming through an open window and stood, saluting, like they were at a baseball match. Probably.

And the "he's rich, not working class" trope dates back long before twentysomethings were born - and here, once again, we can call the NME as evidence:
John Peel - not a man to be fazed by a bit of grey in the hair - despised Springsteen, and would often argue with Andy Kershaw about him.

Intense and unfair dislike of the man from New Jersey isn't a new thing the kids have come up with; instead - as hipsters so often do - they've just dusted down something from their parents and are claiming it as theirs.


William Kenny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
William Kenny said...

Rock and Roll is, almost by definition, the music your parents love to hate.

As for Bruce Springsteen, we're not electing a Prom King (to my knowledge) and his words and music have meaning and moments for those who so choose. Like Dylan, like Guthrie, like One Direction without meaning to put too fine a point on it.

As the Strolling Bones offered decades ago about all of the music to which we listen, "I know it's only rock and roll, but I like it."


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