Tuesday, November 16, 2004

The Boss

One of the positive side-effects of the Bush victory is that I can continue to listen to Bruce Springsteen's 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) without being significantly irked. The song concerns the desire of a testosterone-laden teen to escape the comfortable but dead-end boardwalk life on the Jersey shore with his best gal Sandy; or, short of that, to use the notion that he is leaving to at least get in Sandy's pants. I've always loved the song, but I must say my enjoyment of it was diminished by the knowledge that the "something bigger" life that the Boss sought in escaping the lights and attractions of the boardwalk involved stumping for a mediocre billionaire politician. My bet is that had he divulged that ambition to Sandy, it would have been a deal killer.

Now, I am a bit of a freak, and I admit it. I cannot stand entertainers who are hard-core liberals, and my ability to be entertained by them is contingent upon them being on the losing side in elections. Usually I don't care to know what an entertainers politics are, mostly because I know the probability is not high that I will agree. And some do you the favor of not throwing it in your face. But many obviously do not.

And yet, despite the fact that 51 percent of the voters in the nation, over 60 million people, clearly disagree with the Spicolis of the world, we nevertheless go and see the movies these guys put out and buy their CDs. Now that, my friends, is the model of toleration in politics - separating the personal from the political. An actor's achievements on the big screen are not diminished by an ill-informed political opinion. Most people (not necessarily the Hatcher) have no problems separating the two, and enjoying the movies pumped out by the Commies in Hollywood. The American people reject the frivolent claims made by actors to vaunted status as the political conscious of all right thinking people, yet they reject such claims without malice. The red-staters are much like the patient and wise parents who nod in agreement as their college Freshman comes back home with laundry in tow, and a handful of lectures for his hopelessly naive parents. They still feed him, but they know it is pointless trying to either listen or talk to him.

I submit to you that all of this talk about how divided we are in this country is bunk. Sure, we disagree on some things, but the disputes do not run along the lines of whether or not women should wear burquas in public. But I would also submit to you that to the extent there is a lack of tolerance and downright hostility for those with a different political opinion, it runs from the blue states to the red states. Red-staters may attend the movies of Tim Robbins secure in the knowledge that he finds them beneath contempt. (It makes me want to start a parallel to the Motion Picture Academy that has only red-state Republicans in a postion to vote for Best Actor awards and such. And I mean do it in earnest. The winners of such awards, knowing the composition of the Red-State Motion Picture Academy, will view it as their darkest hour.)

Prior to the election, a writer for Slate who was a Kerry supporter spent a day in a heavy blue county wearing a Bush-Cheny t-shirt, and then did the same in a heavy red county wearing a Kerry-Edwards shirt. The result? He received one insulting remark in the red county, and many in the blue. Consider also that about 5 Republican campaign headquarters were shot at and/or vandalized in the month prior to the election. If entertainers were primarily Bush supporters, they'd have reason to be significantly worried about attendance at their next movie.

But even young people aren't so enamored with the opinions of aging Boomer entertainers. After the Boss's concert in Madison to rock the vote, he was driving through the University of Wisconsin campus, when he came upon a fraternity party with a banner posted that invited him in for a beer. So he did, and while there, queried two young co-eds what their favorite Springsteen songs were. The two young ladies paused, looked at each other, and giggled. They didn't know any.

4 Comments:

Blogger pbryon said...

I'm a little confused. Are you disappointed in Bruce airing his politics, or in who he was supporting?

Maybe along these same lines, I was disappointed in Curt Schilling using the immediate post-World Series celebrations to plug Bush. I've always liked Schill for his willingness to speak his mind, but I thought politics might be the furthest thing from his mind right after the Red Sox won the World Series for the first time in 86 years. Really, I don't care who he was supporting--though I did find it peculiar that his candidate supported restricting stem cell research, which could help cure Schill's pet cause--but I just thought adding politics to the mix took away from a pretty big celebration.

6:25 AM  
Blogger John Wolfram said...

I think we are a divided country. A clear division exists between the people who vote, and the people who do not. How can the President say he has a mandate when roughly 51% of 65% of the registered voters in the country voted for him? (That's 33% if Mrs. Razzano taught me right.) Furthermore, perhaps the mandate he got was "don't be as bad as we think your opponent is going to be" rather than "full steam ahead Georgie!"

I think the intolerance runs in both directions. I have no supporting data, however, so take that for what it is worth. (Translation: worthless)

Springsteen, Schwarzenegger, Boss, Governor, same person

2:13 PM  
Blogger John Wolfram said...

I think we are a divided country. A clear division exists between the people who vote, and the people who do not. How can the President say he has a mandate when roughly 51% of 65% of the registered voters in the country voted for him? (That's 33% if Mrs. Razzano taught me right.) Furthermore, perhaps the mandate he got was "don't be as bad as we think your opponent is going to be" rather than "full steam ahead Georgie!"

I think the intolerance runs in both directions. I have no supporting data, however, so take that for what it is worth. (Translation: worthless)

Springsteen, Schwarzenegger, Boss, Governor, same person

2:14 PM  
Blogger Incredible Dirigible said...

I know most entertainers (the Hollywood ones, anyway) are hardcore leftists, but I don't really mind the ones who aren't in-your-face about it. They're entitled to their opinions, so long as they're discreet about it.

But Springsteen was in-your-face about it during this most recent election. That was a big turnoff for me, & I've historically liked the Boss. But I have no more use for him. He can go now.

6:14 AM  

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