Suffering Springsteen

Chris Sheil, who recently opined that someone named Ryan Adams is the legitimate heir to Dylan and Springsteen, won’t be pleased to hear this.

Erratum
(Chris points out that he was merely passing on the views of others – and is, quite possibly, as vague as I am on the oeuvre of Ryan Adams.) Now read on.

Ex Guantanamo Bay resident, Hamed Abderrahman Ahmad – a Spaniard who denies any links with terrorism – said he had to wrap his head in a damp towel to try to muffle loud tapes of Bruce Springsteen’s anthemic hit, “Born in the USA.”

“All day they blared patriotic American music. It was Born in the USA. We had to put wet towels on our heads to be able to bear the heat and not hear the music . . . ”

I guess we can excuse language difficulties and the less than conducive environmental factors that might have prevented Hamed from a full evaluation of the lyric content involved in his cruel and unusual punishment; but for his captors it merely provides yet more evidence that Americans, in general, possess a terminal lack of irony.

“Born in the USA” is anything but a patriotic song. It speaks of a Vietnam Vet’s enduring anger about being used falsely and then dumped by his government. Springsteen himself was moved to point this out to Ronald Reagan back in the 80’s when that less than razorsharp gent seemed to be labouring under the delusion that Springsteen had written it for him, as his campaign tune.

You’d wonder why the Gitmo boys looked past the terrifying “Royal Telephone”

“Telephone to glory, O what joy divine!
I can feel the current moving on the line,
Built by God the Father for His loved and own,
We may talk to Jesus thru this royal telephone!”

or “Harper Valley PTA” – though deploying the latter would unarguably be a War Crime.

Here are the lyrics of “Born in the USA” for those who’d like to make their own assessment:

“Born down in a dead man’s town
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
You end up like a dog that’s been beat too much
Till you spend half your life just covering up

Born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.

Got in a little hometown jam
So they put a rifle in my hand
Sent me off to a foreign land
To go and kill the yellow man

Born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.

Come back home to the refinery
Hiring man says “Son if it was up to me”
Went down to see my V.A. man
He said “Son, don’t you understand”

I had a brother at Khe Sahn fighting off the Viet Cong
They’re still there, he’s all gone

He had a woman he loved in Saigon
I got a picture of him in her arms now

Down in the shadow of the penitentiary
Out by the gas fires of the refinery
I’m ten years burning down the road
Nowhere to run ain’t got nowhere to go

Born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
I’m a long gone Daddy in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
I’m a cool rocking Daddy in the U.S.A.”

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cs
cs
2022 years ago

Hang on a mo’ Geoff; before Tim Blair runs off a writes it up in The Bulletin, allow me make it clear, as I did in the post, that I don’t know much at all about young Ryan, although he has obviously impressed himself mightily upon some well-feathered others.

As for “Born in the USA” … there’s not much room for conservative interpretation there.

Gummo Trotsky
2022 years ago

I think Reagan was taken in by the anthemic quality of the music.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

“I think Reagan was taken in by the anthemic quality of the music.”

Well it definitely wouldn’t have been the shot of Bruce’s levis-clad butt that famously adorned the album cover :) Apparently sales of Levis 501’s went through the roof post-release…..

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2022 years ago

The Boss is the reason why people can’t afford to go to concerts these days,
He was never the same when he ‘muscled up’!

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

He was never the same when he ‘muscled up’!

LOL! Homer, you say the darnedest things :)))

cs
cs
2022 years ago

In a related but not the same but nearly case, the very great Woodie Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” has been frequently taken as a patriotic song, which it sort of is, yet it was explicitly written in opposition to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America”, and specifically I understand against Kate Smith’s apparently appalling rendition .. yet it combines the same contradiction, conveying a sense of longing for what the US is not, or has failed to be, with a profoundly overwhelming sense of belonging, which Springers also achieved. Another parallel is the Stones’ (actualy Marrianne Faithfull’s) “Sister Morphine”, which combined the idea of how very bad morphine is as a an addictive destructive drug with music that evoked the enormous sensual attraction that attracts its users. To be able to evoke the human understanding in the medium and the truth lesson in the lyrics is art at its challenging best, in my humble book.

Stephen Hill
Stephen Hill
2022 years ago

Fortunately they didn’t persist with the Celine Dion treatment. No one is that cruel, as the suspects found out, not even the evil infidels.

Although this may force released suspects to transfer their jihadic energies towards Canada. Mind you they may find a much broader coalition of the willing (my guess around 300 countries) who would be ever too willing to eliminate this scourge of demonic falsetto.

Can’t see it having any difficulty passing the UN, Kofi’s been banging on about the inhumanity of it for some time and no matter how much the French made like to stifle the yanks they are so humilated by the French-Canadian connection that they will not offer a veto. Even Syria is supportive of this one.

nardo
2022 years ago

gawd, it’s The Passion of Geoff and Homer : )

anyway I hope the Gitmo boys are paying the appropriate royalty / license fees for these broadcasts

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2022 years ago

Geoff,
When the boss was lean and scrawny he put out great albums indeed I have every one.
To those with a sense of history it was music that would have been played on room to move with Chris Winter ( was there ever a better radio program?)
However it appears discovering a Gym and a decline in creativity went hand in hand. I think it happened with Born in the USA but I’m not sure.

Jason Soon
2022 years ago

Christ, Homer. For a conservative Christian, you have very un-square tastes in music

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2022 years ago

Jason,

Why would you think otherwise?
I don’t really go around singing Welsey hymns!

My older boy happens to be a lover of the Who and he is still at Primary School after listening to my old tapes.