Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bruce Springsteen, a visit to a Tea Party, America - and what the hell that means

Two pieces on STUFF related to the meaning of the United States of America which I wrote for The National just before Christmas here. First, the online version of my review-essay on Bruce Springsteen's first six albums, heartland rock, the American dream, and how it connects to Barack Obama's presidency. Alternatively to download as a (small) PDF, which looks much nicer.
The all-too-rapid corrosion of Obama's promise fits in perfectly with Springsteen's worldview. Nothing worth fighting for comes easily, and nothing beautiful lasts forever. If Obama really is America, it should come as no surprise that he has suffered a similar fate. The question is whether he will keep going down to the river - though he knows that the river is dry.

And second, here's my reportage / column on the, ahem, Tea Party Patriots - back in late October I went to a pre-Midterms Tea Party rally in White Plains, NY (this is what I do for fun while on holiday). I heard the speakers warn of a creeping Sharia Law in America, literally make up quotes from Thomas Jefferson to support their batshit libertarian ideology, and call anyone and everyone to the left of Ronald Reagan a Stalinist. I was almost so busy being offended by everything they were saying/getting wrong about history, I barely knew where to start with contemporary politics and society. The Tea Party are not kind to history - I hope history will not be kind to them.
As the Islamophobic demagogue Pamela Geller knelt down to congratulate a dog wearing a stars-and-stripes tutu, one of her admirers, Merilyn, a middle-aged Italian-American in a royal blue "Tea Party Patriot" t-shirt, found an answer to my question from somewhere underneath her bouffant. "You wanna know who I want as President in 2012? Between Barack Obama and that dog, I'd vote for that dog."


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