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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Appeal of Bruce

David Brooks of the New York Times went wonkish after he flew to Spain to hear Springsteen (must be rough) and he was amazed to see 56,000 Spaniards singing Born in the USA. Brooks goes on to explain the appeal of a man from New Jersey to Europeans by way of parocosms...mythical places created in our childhood that help us orientate ourselves in reality. Hmmm...how about this one. The Boss sings about an America that exists in peoples minds even if it doesn't exist over here.

Americana on steroids. That is the Boss world. And if American culture is exported then Bruce is as good an ambassador as any. I'll take it a step further and say the Springsteen world is from the last American Century and that is some powerful stuff. Does that America exist now? Maybe, but it sure as hell existed in 1975 and that American Dream is really what people all over the world tap into. And that is why Spaniards can sing Born in the USA and not be born in the USA.

If I was in Spain and listened to Jungle Land or Meeting Across the River or Racing in the Streets or Thunder Road I would want to be an American too. Tragic, lost, America. And the hero rolls on. And the music kicks ass.

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Books by William Hazelgrove