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August 5, 2004 9:51 AM   Subscribe

An OpEd piece by Bruce Springsteen, announcing the tour of Vote for Change, the umbrella of a new group including the Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, R.E.M., the Dixie Chicks, Jurassic 5, James Taylor and Jackson Browne. (NYT)
posted by semmi (71 comments total)

 
See also: HeadCount, dedicated to getting people to register to vote at jam band shows. From the makers of the Pharmer's Almanac.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:59 AM on August 5, 2004


Full schedule of shows.

At first I thought they were talking mega-concerts but it looks like they're only performing in pairs or triples. Although all the concerts for a given day seem like they're in a single state.
posted by smackfu at 10:03 AM on August 5, 2004


Rockstars should stay out of politics. Except they are entitled to an opinion, too. NYTfilter, and op-ed pieces make lousy FPP's. Of course, not everyone reads the Times. But couldn't you have given a Google link or BugMeNot password? What, and deprive the Times of its income? Biased post - why didn't you link to Lee Greenwood, too? Shut up. No, you shut up.

/coming attractions in this thread
posted by stonerose at 10:04 AM on August 5, 2004


Biased post - why didn't you link to Lee Greenwood, too?

Just to be fair and balanced, here's a link to the President himself:

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."
posted by Armitage Shanks at 10:07 AM on August 5, 2004


Ahhh, come on, stonerose, chill out. Maybe with some Toby Keith or something.

If you read Springsteen's piece, you'll actually find it pretty thoughtful - which IMHO makes it link-worthy despite its partisan nature.
posted by kgasmart at 10:07 AM on August 5, 2004


kgasmart, I'm thoroughly chilled. I read the boss's missive earlier this morning and, left-winger that I am, I have no problem with it. I was, as I hinted, just providing a preview of the lame debates that follow posts like this.
posted by stonerose at 10:10 AM on August 5, 2004


I might be wrong, but is something 'partisan' because it happens to favour one political view at a given time, like the Boss' column right now, after he's been staying away from political parties for years? Wouldn't 'partisan' imply someone who changes their opinions to fit his or her political party? Dictionary.com says "Devoted to or biased in support of a party, group, or cause: partisan politics. " I wouoldn't call Springsteen 'devoted' to a single party, so calling his desire to express an opinion at this moment in time 'partisan' is inaccurate.

(there might be a definition of partisan that says "anything I don't agree with" but I didn't find it.)
posted by Space Coyote at 10:23 AM on August 5, 2004


Does this mean we'll never have to listen to the Boss on clearchanel again?
posted by jmgorman at 10:27 AM on August 5, 2004


Jackson Browne joke.
posted by eatitlive at 10:33 AM on August 5, 2004


Poor Bush, now he's got to figure out how The Boss turned against him too. Maybe he thinks anyone not on his side has been possessed by aliens?

Stonerose, I didn't catch your preview clearly at all, looked like a run of the mill MetaSnark. But thanks for clarifying.
posted by fenriq at 10:35 AM on August 5, 2004


I'll take the bait:

There is absolutely nothing novel or insightful in the op-ed. Springsteen puts forward a mealy-mouthed endorsement of fluffy and vague concepts such as "economic justice" and "faith in our ideals". He couples these notions with run-of-the-mill DNC talking points-- "div(ing) headlong into an unnecessary war," "time to move forward," etc..

If Kerry is indeed the candidate of "nuance," it's quite a shame that the concept is utterly lost on so many of his vocal supporters.
posted by trharlan at 10:35 AM on August 5, 2004


The fact that it's Bruce Springsteen getting involved with this is what makes it significant, I think. I mean, here's a guy who played it relatively low-key when the Reagan re-election campaign of 1984 co-opts one of his songs and totally twists it - and now he's coming out, so to speak, going on the record, saying he thinks this country's headed in the wrong direction and wants to help change that direction if he can.

I mean, Pearl Jam, Jackson Browne - you more or less expect this from them. But when Springsteen's in it makes me think that maybe the discontent runs a little deeper than we think.
posted by kgasmart at 10:39 AM on August 5, 2004


We granted tax cuts to the richest 1 percent (corporate bigwigs, well-to-do guitar players),

Not above a little self-effacing humor. Also shows this is not about his self-interest. Springsteen, in all likelihood, is one of the Americans who is in the richest 1 percent.
posted by weston at 10:44 AM on August 5, 2004


I had always assumed The Boss was leaning left from his songs' lyrics.
posted by jmd82 at 10:44 AM on August 5, 2004


I wonder if this site had anything to do with Bruce. It was just a weblogger and a friend that put it up, knowing that Bruce was playing opposite the RNC rally in NYC.

A zillion people apparently signed something, I just wonder if it actually swayed Bruce's decision here.
posted by mathowie at 10:48 AM on August 5, 2004


I'm not pulling that voting lever til I hear Streisand's last word on the issues!

Tharlan nailed it, btw
posted by dhoyt at 10:48 AM on August 5, 2004


Although all the concerts for a given day seem like they're in a single state.

heh. They're only playing concerts in swing states.
posted by mathowie at 10:50 AM on August 5, 2004


Supposedly it's a big deal that he's now come out in favor of a specific candidate. But did anyone think ever think Bruce was pulling the lever for Reagan, Bush, Dole, or Bush?

Anyhoo, I liked the idea of staging a huge show in the NY area the week of the RNC, and stealing some of their media oxygen. Whatever happened to that? IMO that might have had a real impact.

Lastly, Bruce, you would do well to heed the wise words of the bounteous Lindsay Lohan: "I mean, if you say you're a Democrat, that'll turn off Republicans, and that's half of your fan base.''
posted by luser at 10:53 AM on August 5, 2004


Personally, I'm glad that bands are getting together to make a change from the current administaration. But after singing "To Sir With Love" to Clinton, I wonder if Michael Stipe will sing "Won't Get Fooled Again" this time?
posted by Shane at 10:56 AM on August 5, 2004


Rockstars should stay out of politics.

so should theiving corporate fascists. but they don't. *shrug*
posted by quonsar at 11:09 AM on August 5, 2004


Vote for Change is like Wu-Tang lite.
posted by rocketman at 11:53 AM on August 5, 2004


Music and Politics: Sonny Bono. RIAA.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:04 PM on August 5, 2004


Considering the length, I think that the piece was well-written. What were you expecting? Policy?
posted by bitpart at 12:05 PM on August 5, 2004


It will be fun to watch Bill O'Reilly name names and tlel his audience why they should burn their Springsteen records.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:36 PM on August 5, 2004


Oh, rockstars should stay out of politics, but posters on MetaFilter can pontificate all the damned day long?

Love it.
posted by xmutex at 12:36 PM on August 5, 2004


I'm glad to see that Bruce Springsteen is doing this, but, personally, I'd rather read the columns on Punk Voter and listen to Rock Against Bush Volume 1 and Volume 2.
posted by toddst at 12:36 PM on August 5, 2004


trharlan: Springsteen puts forward a mealy-mouthed endorsement of fluffy and vague concepts such as "economic justice" and "faith in our ideals".

Well, of course, you'd peg as "mealy-mouthed" or "fluffy and vague", any "endorsement" of economic justice, or any expression of faith in ideals, that weren't yours.

I mean, heaven forbid we should actually think or talk seriously about those things. They're just wrong-headed ideas, anyway, aren't they? After all, The Market will provide, and if we all exercise our Free Will [To Power], we've got no one to blame but ourselves...

So, I guess the only point in snarking on Bruce was so that someone would come back and point out that you're a knee-jerk troll, so you can get all excited about not being taken seriously?
posted by lodurr at 12:40 PM on August 5, 2004


Rockstars should stay out of politics.

Hell yeah, and so should accountants and store managers and landscapers and dog walkers and store clerks and telco managers, dumbass web people and my dad.

Fuck it, everyone should stay out of politics That'd be best.
posted by damnitkage at 1:05 PM on August 5, 2004


They should also do something like not letting people in unless they show some sign that they got of their backsides and registered to vote for any party.
posted by stuartmm at 1:11 PM on August 5, 2004


It will be fun to watch Bill O'Reilly name names and tell his audience why they should burn their Springsteen records.

Doubtful. Springsteen isn't black.

"I mean, if you say you're a Democrat, that'll turn off Republicans, and that's half of your fan base.''

I'm not sure if anything Lindsay Lohan could say would be a turnoff.
posted by nath at 1:12 PM on August 5, 2004


"What the fuck do I know? I'm just an actor."
- Brad Pitt
posted by cinderful at 1:36 PM on August 5, 2004


Did you read what I wrote, lodurr? You seem to be more intent on attacking my motivations than the ideas I put forth in my post.

I mean, heaven forbid we should actually think or talk seriously about those things. They're just wrong-headed ideas, anyway, aren't they?


I proclaimed that the article lacked substance. I'm totally in favor of "economic justice," and I imagine that you are too. So is Bruce Springsteen. Now, our interpretations of the concept may vary (I'm sure that yours differs from mine), but I have no idea how Springsteen thinks it ought to be achieved. I know that Springsteen thinks that Kerry will deliver "economic justice" better than Bush will. I don't know why Springsteen thinks it. And reading the article did little to solve my conundrum. Do you think Springsteen did anything to further the discussion with his article?

After all, The Market will provide, and if we all exercise our Free Will [To Power], we've got no one to blame but ourselves...

I didn't say that in my post. In fact, I wrote nothing of the sort.

So, I guess the only point in snarking on Bruce was so that someone would come back and point out that you're a knee-jerk troll, so you can get all excited about not being taken seriously?

I don't understand your animus toward me. I don't think I have a history of complaining about people not taking me seriously. I rarely bandy about the word "troll." And I certainly don't think your accusation and vitriol are justified.

To put it differently, I have no persecution complex. Your unwarranted suppositions and assumptions are preposterous, and you lobbing the "knee-jerk" and "troll" critiques at me (especially in this instance, where I didn't attack beliefs, but rather the absence of a cogent argument) is a textbook example of irony.
posted by trharlan at 1:40 PM on August 5, 2004


What does Brad Pitt have to do with this?

Also, trharlan, you're not a troll, but you're pessimistic to the point of being a deterrent. Unconstructive criticism has no point here because, again, what were expecting? Policy?
posted by bitpart at 1:47 PM on August 5, 2004


Wait. A troll is a deterrent, isn't it? Then I guess you are a troll, but an inadvertent one.
posted by bitpart at 1:52 PM on August 5, 2004


"Rockstars should stay out of politics. Except they are entitled to an opinion, too. NYTfilter, and op-ed pieces make lousy FPP's."

Members who post about what content is and is not worthy of discussion are lousy posters.
posted by xammerboy at 2:03 PM on August 5, 2004


Rockstars should stay out of politics.

Perhaps you want them all to be like this:

Honestly, I think we should just trust our president in every decision he makes and should just support that, you know, and be faithful in what happens. Britney Spears
posted by caddis at 2:10 PM on August 5, 2004


Members who post about what content is and is not worthy of discussion are lousy posters.

Am I the only one who got what stonerose was trying to do with that first comment?
posted by nath at 2:42 PM on August 5, 2004


Your unwarranted suppositions and assumptions are preposterous, and you lobbing the "knee-jerk" and "troll" critiques at me (especially in this instance, where I didn't attack beliefs, but rather the absence of a cogent argument) is a textbook example of irony.

<chuckle> Textbook, eh?
posted by lodurr at 2:48 PM on August 5, 2004


Am I the only one who got what stonerose was trying to do with that first comment?

Jesus Effin' Christ, I was starting to think I was the only one, too. Go back and read the original comment, guys. Stonerose was (pretty obviously?) using a joke to try and preempt anyone who was going to make the usual comments.
posted by dhoyt at 2:53 PM on August 5, 2004


Didn't anybody ask Huey Lewis to join the tour? According to the HLN website he's a Kerry supporter. You just have to listen to "I Want a New Drug" and "Workin' for a Livin'," and you know he's a Democrat. But seriously, what better message to heal the deep divide in our nation than the song "The Heart of Rock and Roll"? Seriously, though.

And anyways, I mean he's gonna be in Williamsport, PA, just a couple of weeks before Jackson Browne and them guys. He could probably just hang out there, and catch up with the tour when they pass through, or something.
posted by eatitlive at 3:06 PM on August 5, 2004


Springsteen was on Nightline last night and I thought he explained his reasoning for finally coming out and taking an explicitly partisan position: He wants to help shape the world his sons will grow up into.

And even though Stonerose didn't pose it seriously, I still don't get the point of conservatives (not Stonerose) who object to celebrities stating political positions. How are they any less qualified than O'Reilly or George Will? Except of course that the celebrities disagree with them, in which case any rhetorical tool is acceptable.
posted by billsaysthis at 3:32 PM on August 5, 2004


I second billsaysthis. What exactly does Rush Limbaugh know about anything? He spent much of his pre-pundit life on wellfare.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 5:17 PM on August 5, 2004


Bruce rocking for Kerry is as serious as Buffy slaying for Kerry or Roseanne gaining ten pounds for Kerry.
posted by jfuller at 5:26 PM on August 5, 2004


Actually, I should apologize for my comment about Limbaugh. There are plenty of smart people on welfare, who need a hand up; I've known quite a few. I was alluding to Limbaugh's hypocracy. Apologies.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 5:32 PM on August 5, 2004


Fuck Bruce. And Toby Keith, and Linda Ronstadt and that Dixie Chick I can never remember the name of.

I just ranted about these clowns and rather than do it all over, I'll just be copying away:

Nobody cares what you think. Your job is to entertain, not enlighten. If you want to educate me — finish school, spend a decade learning to write and publish a book. If it’s any good I’ll buy it. Too much work? Fine. How about taking some time to hone your opinions, back them up with some facts and express them with a little more thought than it takes to use a bully pulpit, a platform granted you by virtue of your absurd ticket prices, to spout pithy little sound bites at a captive audience.

You could always do what every other clown with the half baked notion that they have something worth saying and… wait for it… get a weblog!

You get paid because you provide brief moments of respite from the remorseless shitfest of the evening news. Your entire existence is based on elaborate fantasy and by virtue of your elegantly crafted personas, your opinion means less to me than that of ‘regular old folks’. I don’t form opinions based on marketing and you folks are as packaged as my kids Lunchables. Asking your opinion on anything other than music (not that anyone did) is like asking the Pope where the good porn’s at.

posted by cedar at 6:10 PM on August 5, 2004


I'd love to see cedar heckling bob dylan when he had the gall to get political ... Forcing art to be apolitical is one step removed from forcing art to conform to the ideas of the part in power.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:46 PM on August 5, 2004


Space Coyote: Nope. Wouldn't happen. The difference is Dylan wrote songs. Not editorials.

Using art to express a belief is one thing. Using fame to express simplistic opinions is quite another. I imagine not too many people knew who Dylan was when he wrote Blowing in the Wind, the song spoke for itself and I don't even think there was a tour and media blitz to go along with it.
posted by cedar at 7:02 PM on August 5, 2004




cedar, your argument would have a shred of validity if it explained why in retrospect I should care what you think as opposed to Bruce Springsteen.

Your own cliched tirade fails to note that you've made the very case for why famous people do ty to be publicly active- because as famous people, lots of people will listen to them. This is an outrage?

I've always been fascinated by the ignorance of the Laura Ingrham "shut up and sing" argument- in her eyes, celebrities who influence others how to talk, think act, what to wear, and so many other aspects of their lives are demeaned for not "being a good influence" on children, but when it's actually time for them to give an opinion about something other than vocabulary, they're out of their league. Apparently, it's "stupid" to think that a person known for the number of people who pay attention to them should suggest that people pay attention to them.

Bullshit. I don't like meaningless celebrity influence over culture either, but the whiny "oh look at me I'm so cool for ragging on celebrities" bit is as tired as reminding us who Barbara Streisand voted for as if that implies something positive or negative about them.

So, to be honest, cedar, I do care what Springsteen thinks. In fact, considering that a musician is someone I already enjoy listening to, in all honesty I care more about what he thinks than you. His article sounds like someone who wants to talk about the issues, while you sound like some wannabe hero of the anticulture who thinks automatically saying how stupid celebrities are is cool. At least Springsteen managed to stake his position without "fuck him" being the first bullet point.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:36 PM on August 5, 2004


XQUZYPHYR ... my new favored celebrity hotness (in all seriousness).
posted by Wulfgar! at 7:39 PM on August 5, 2004


I'm thinking that Benjamin said that fascism was the aestheticism of politics while communism was the politicization of art. And while I view all this with as much cynicism as anyone else, fact is the line between marketing a candidate (or an issue) and making persuasive arguments for same was crossed a long time ago. (No Nukes, anyone?) So I got no problem with it, really. Good for Bruce. He and Stipe are as credible as the Rush Limbaughs or the Bill O'Reillys or the Wolf Blitzers or the Scott McClellans among us.

(on preview. Yes. A thousand yeses. What XQUZYPHYR said.)

And I'm thinking that if anyone could persuade me to vote for Bush it would be Dave Matthews (Not really.) but I'm also thinking that since his fan base is the largely likely-to-vote-for-Bush-already (ex-)frat crowd, maybe he's a good man to have. So here's to you Dave! All's forgiven.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:44 PM on August 5, 2004


It's like I was saying to that prostitute I hired the other day, cedar: "shut up - nobody wants to hear your ideas about feminism, law and human rights. You get paid to entertain me, not to be a citizen."
posted by stonerose at 7:47 PM on August 5, 2004


cedar: Nobody cares what you think. Your job is to entertain, not enlighten. If you want to educate me — finish school, spend a decade learning to write and publish a book. If it’s any good I’ll buy it.

Who's the elitist now? Get a clue, fuckwit. Until you get a Constitutional definition of 'citizen' that can somehow exclude entertainers from public discourse while not also excluding journalists, try to find a legitimate way to marginalize your opposition.

Infotainment®: It's what's for dinner.
posted by bafflegab at 8:03 PM on August 5, 2004


It's not that I mind musicians having an opinion... it's jsut that they get so bent out of shape when their fans express one back.

You take a political stand and you might lose fans... when they stop buying your albums maybe you might want to think twice before you whine about censorship eh?

As for Bruce? He never struck me as particularly intelligent - and he isn't cute enough to be worth humoring.
posted by soulhuntre at 8:31 PM on August 5, 2004


"Don't vote for Nader. I know him. He's an asshole." --Bob Weir
posted by muckster at 8:48 PM on August 5, 2004


muckster - that was my impression. But, I doubt he started out that way. Or, if so, he did so with more redeeming aspects to offset his assholery.

I was startled by Nader's admitted ignorance about the electronic voting machine vote-fraud story. It seemed to me that he was unable to accept information which didn't fit in his pre-established framework.
posted by troutfishing at 9:13 PM on August 5, 2004


You take a political stand and you might lose fans... when they stop buying your albums maybe you might want to think twice before you whine about censorship eh?


I agree, there's something to be said about pissing off potential customers.
posted by WLW at 9:20 PM on August 5, 2004


It's like I was saying to that prostitute I hired the other day, cedar: "shut up - nobody wants to hear your ideas about feminism, law and human rights. You get paid to entertain me, not to be a citizen."


AWESOME! But you forgot to include the part where you stick your dick in her ass right after that!
posted by WLW at 9:24 PM on August 5, 2004


!
posted by dhoyt at 9:26 PM on August 5, 2004


i still have the first hooker i ever killed.
posted by quonsar at 9:53 PM on August 5, 2004


"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."

Nice beat, but can you dance to it?

everyone should stay out of politics That'd be best.

You said a mouthful there.
posted by rushmc at 10:08 PM on August 5, 2004


Springsteen said he didn't know if Kerry had all the answers, but he believed he would ask the right questions. That's an important difference...it doesn't say that Springsteen endorsed Kerry for having the right answers. He just believes that we, as a nation, need to be headed in a different direction.
posted by Beansidhe at 5:03 AM on August 6, 2004


AWESOME! But you forgot to include the part where you stick your dick in her ass right after that!

Why would you assume it was a woman? Stop othering me, man. Anyway, once he took the Kerry/Edwards bumpersticker off his ass, it was all good.
posted by stonerose at 9:23 AM on August 6, 2004


I guess this just completes the transition of the Democratic Party into its true state: a conspiracy of multimillionaires who want to raise my taxes.
posted by MattD at 9:36 AM on August 6, 2004


a conspiracy of multimillionaires who want to raise my taxes.

Even if you weren't full of shit I'd still take that particular conspiracy over the current conspiracy of multimillionaires to pollute the planet and destroy the middle class.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:06 PM on August 6, 2004


Lastly, Bruce, you would do well to heed the wise words of the bounteous Lindsay Lohan: "I mean, if you say you're a Democrat, that'll turn off Republicans, and that's half of your fan base.''

Yeah, really makes you question their respective motivations here.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 12:16 PM on August 6, 2004


Using art to express a belief is one thing. Using fame to express simplistic opinions is quite another.

I believe the evenings will be CONCERTS not lectures. In which case they will be using art to express belief. And Cedar, if you think Springsteen hasn't spent many years thinking about this plane of existence and its meaning, you're just a bit too far out of touch to comment here. Whether you enjoy his music or POV, hard to argue it's not thoughtful.
posted by billsaysthis at 1:57 PM on August 6, 2004


I just find it odd that people keep saying that Bruce was apolitical before this. It's just not true.
"On the evening of November 5, 1980, one day after Ronald Reagan swept the Presidential election, Bruce Springsteen looked out at his Arizona audience and said, 'I don’t know what you guys think about what happened last night, but I think it's pretty frightening.'"
I mean, he hasn't been writing NYT editorials before, but his political leanings weren't exactly a secret.
posted by litlnemo at 3:07 PM on August 6, 2004


"I mean, if you say you're a Democrat, that'll turn off Republicans, and that's half of your fan base.''

It must be very liberating as an entertainer to say something you know will piss some people off. The fact that some artists really don't want everyone to like them kind of restores my faith in the industry.

What struck me as special about Springsteen was how humble and tactful his statement was. He wasn't derogatory, he wasn't simplistic, he didn't demonize Republicans, nor was he the slightest bit rude. He just stated his belief that this is not a normal election.

IMHO he is behaving much better than most pundits. He isn't trying to slander anyone, he isn't lowering the level of discourse to a popularity contest.

Damn, I wish liked his music.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 3:40 PM on August 6, 2004


I don't know, he kind of jumped the shark for half his fan base when he wrote that little song about Amadou Diallo.

how dare he
posted by matteo at 4:06 PM on August 6, 2004


Music? No way, man, political figures shouldn't be doing music. Ashcroft's proof enough of that.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:10 PM on August 6, 2004


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