A Cautious Man
September 16, 2003
Hit It in Its Funny Bone, That's Where They Expect It Least
One characteristic of the internet, and of political commentary on the internet, is that there are too many people who have to hate things. Not ordinary hate, but real hate. Sometimes it keeps them from being able to enjoy a joke. A case in point is a recent carrying on by some of the gang at FreeRepublic.com, over remarks made by Bruce Springsteen: "Rock star Bruce Springsteen called for the impeachment of President George W. Bush at a nearly sold-out concert at FedEx Field just outside of Washington, DC tonight. During the introductions of his back-up band, The E Street Band, Springsteen said of saxophonist Clarence Clemons, 'It's time to impeach the president and get a man in there to get us out of this mess.' The audience cheered in response."
This was during the introduction by Bruce of the members of the E Street Band. For the last thirty years or so, the last introduction is always, always a drawn-out, exaggerated introduction of "The King of the World, the Master of the Universe, the Big Man on Saxophone, Clarence Clemons!" The crowd always cheers loudest at that point. It's just what you do at a Springsteen concert. Sometimes, a few extra designations are thrown in. In 2000, in New York City, Clarence was introduced as "the next Senator from New York!" I think he's recently been introduced as the next Governor of California. So, if Springsteen got a big cheer by suggesting that Clarence replace Bush as President, then that is part of the (excuse the expression) FUN!
To read some of the comments you'd have thought that Springsteen was the Johnny Jihad of Asbury Park. Some of their vitriol may be due to Mr. Springsteen's self-described "public service announcement", towards the end of his shows this summer:
"People come to my shows with many different kinds of political beliefs; I like that, we welcome all. There have been a lot of questions raised recently about the forthrightness of our government. This playing with the truth has been a part of both the Republican and Democratic administrations in the past and it is always wrong, never more so than when real lives are at stake. The question of whether we were mislead into the war in Iraq isn't a liberal or conservative or republican or democratic question, it's an American one. Protecting the democracy that we ask our sons and daughters to die for is our responsibility and our trust. Demanding accountability from our leaders is our job as citizens. It's the American way. So may the truth will out."Amen to that. Lately, he's added an extra line: "If you want a funnier version of what I just said, read Al Franken's book."
The story also was carried on NewsMax, but without providing the context of the remark. The person who began this fracas should have kept in mind these words of wisdom from Mr. Springsteen's song, Dancing in the Dark: "There's a joke here somewhere and it's on me."