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  xThursday, August 01, 2002

bashing the boss


Global News Watch has an interesting piece about CNN anchors repeatedly trying to lead interview subjects into saying something disparaging about Bruce Springsteen over his new (and brilliant) album The Rising, on the grounds that its songs--many of which were inspired by the aftermath of Sept. 11--are somehow "exploiting the 9/11 tragedy." Especially interesting is that the interviewees repeatedly declined to badmouth the Boss; indeed, Suzanne Berger, the widow of a terrorist victim went out of her way to point out how Springsteen reached out to her and her children the second time the same anchor, Daryn Kagan, tried it:
Actually he took us backstage in his Christmas concert, and my boys presented him with a picture of themselves...And he was very moved by that. It was a picture on something we called "Hero Hill," the place I took the boys to tell them that their father was not coming home. And Bruce hugged them, and he said, "Boys, I'm going to put this up in my studio to help inspire me in my future CDs." And then he brought them -- he brought them on stage...to do "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." And it was quite a moment for them and for me to watch that. And I just know how much that would have meant to my husband.

Now get a load of how Kagan responds, and how Berger, who is not a highly paid idiot, shuts him down, as the Boss would say:
KAGAN: It sounds like you are really touched by all of these moves. What would you say to people who say, Bruce Springsteen didn't lose a single person on 9/11, and he's just exploiting that pain and what was lost on that day?

BERGER: No. it's not -- he did not exploit anything. He presented a human and side, like I said, he did not have to step down from his celebrity role and do what he did for me and for my boys and for the Berger family. We are still grieving, and this is still a reminder 24/7, we do not forget September 11. And I think what he did now is bring it into the public eye again. We can't forget these heroes. All of them were heroes, anyone that was involved in September 11, and I credit him. I think he is, too, a hero for being the compassionate person that he is and for allowing America to come back in again and to grieve along with us, the families, and to be there as they've been there for us since September 11.

Dig that: "What would you say to people who say, Bruce Springsteen didn't lose a single person on 9/11, and he's just exploiting that pain..." As Global News Watch points out, I'm not aware of anyone saying that except for journalists trying to make hay.

Springsteen also (as far as I know) has never been forced to marry a teenage girl he's impregnated ("The River"), been emotionally scarred by Vietnam ("Born in the USA"), worked in a steel mill ("Youngstown"), been a cop ("Hightway Patrolman"), or been imprisoned on a work gang (Workin' on the Highway"). Springsteen's music is uniquely empathetic. One element I'm constantly hearing in descriptions of his music--and I can attest to it myself--is how Springsteen seems to be describing someone, or a precise situation or emotion they've experienced. That's Springsteen's gift, and his genius, and he does not need permission from the media, which is apparently planning a major 9/11 commemoration, to describe what he sees and feels too.