Talking At Cross Purposes About Unknown Knowns and Known Unknowns.

Jersey Boys

I was reading one of the ‘Best Longform Articles from 2012’, brought to our attention by Leroy Lynch and Magickle. Specifically, ‘Jersey Boys’ by Jeffrey Goldberg, from ‘The Atlantic’ magazine:


It’s basically an investigation about 2 of New Jersey’s most famous sons, Governor Chris Christie, a Republican and self-confessed ‘biggest fan’ of Bruce Springsteen, and ‘The Boss’ himself, Bruce Springsteen.

The article describes how one, the Republican, can’t understand how the other, a wealthy Democrat supporter, can be that way, when, as he sees it, Bruce Springsteen is the embodiment of the Republican ideal, a self-made man.

So, I thought I would give the Springsteen ‘Right of Reply’, from the Progressive Left perspective, if I may be so bold. As ‘The Boss’ is busy touring the world right now, and coming to Wayne Swan’s home town of Brisbane pretty soon too I believe. At which event I’m guessing Wayne swan will be in the front row!

So here I go.

Now, the article starts out by making an interesting point:

‘…most politicians-certainly most politicians of national stature-are either too dull, or too monomaniacally careerist to maintain fervent emotional relationships with artists. And when they do, the objects of their affection often resemble them ideologically or dispositionally-‘

Take the lyrics of the Springsteen song that is quoted in the article:

“Workin’ in the fields / Till you get your back burned / Workin’ ’neath the wheel / Till you get your facts learned / Baby, I got my facts / Learned real good right now.” He screams the song’s immortal lines: “Poor man wanna be rich / Rich man wanna be king / And a king ain’t satisfied till he rules everything / I wanna go out tonight / I wanna find out what I got.”

Now, it’s interesting to note the dichotomy of political belief as it relates to these 2 men & how they take different meanings out of the words of this song.

Chris Christie believes it exemplifies “The American Dream”, of starting at the bottom and working your way to the top. And no party enables the American Dream better than the Republican Party. That is, that the poor man working in the field aspires to be rich, that’s what motivates him to keep working in the field until his back burns. So that one day he might climb to the top of the greasy pole, and that he may become the rich man.

Then, as a rich man, he will keep aspiring to be more than that. He will aspire to be ‘king’. As in, in modern parlance, a CEO, PM or President. And that is fine and admirable according to Christie, and most modern Conservatives.

However, where I think Springsteen differs, is in the kicker in the tail told in that song, via the line:

‘And a king ain’t satisfied till he rules everything.’

Springsteen is saying the ‘king’ wants to keep the man in the field, workin’ neath the wheel, till his burnt back is broken.

Chris Christie doesn’t question the ‘Power at all costs as you rise to the top’ mentality. Springsteen does.

In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Springsteen had a few modern media moguls and politicians, like Rupert Murdoch & Silvio Berlusconi, in mind, when he wrote that line.

Men mainly. Though mannish women, like Margaret Thatcher probably would qualify also, whose sole aim in life has been to seek to rule as much of everything as they can, and destroy, denigrate, divide and conquer, those who try and get in their way.

Chris Christie, and most Conservatives, see nothing wrong with this at all. It is the purest manifestation of their ethos, which basically amounts to bare-knuckle Social Darwinism.

However, I believe, as most Social Democrats do, that Springsteen questions this mentality, and what’s more, disdains it utterley and completely.

For what does it benefit a man, if he does not benefit the greater good? The Common Weal. And that he cannot bring relief to his fellow man with good deeds?

Such as paying your fair share of tax, which then provides public services for the needy, and allows government to give them opportunities they cannot afford to provide for themselves, in order to better themselves?

As opposed to Christie’s idea that you only get what you take, or break your back to get.

That’s why Chris Christie doesn’t get why Bruce Springsteen stoically refuses to join the ‘Club of Kings’, even though Christie thinks he can explain it, when he says, “You want to know what he’s saying?”, Christie asks. “He’s telling us that rich people like him are fucking over us poor people in the audience, except that us in the audience aren’t poor, because we can afford to pay 98 bucks to him to see his show. That’s what he’s saying.”

Well, where do I start with that lot?

For a start, I don’t think Bruce Springsteen would take too kindly to a Republican Governor, who has slashed taxes for the rich & services for the poor, and who seeks to smash the Working Man & Woman’s collective voice, the Union, in their joint Home State of New Jersey, paraphrasing what Bruce Springsteen means with his lyrics, or how he manifests a hypocrisy with them by his actions in being a wealthy person, who sings songs about the poor’s struggles. By telling others, who can afford ~$100 for a ticket that they are poor, and downtrodden by ‘The Man’, as manifest by Christie and his plutocratic mates in the Republican Party.

No mention, of course, about how it may well be the case that a lot of the ticket purchasers could have put aside the equivalent of $2/week from their Minimum Wage jobs, for a year, just so they could afford to see Bruce Springsteen play live.

No, simply because they can still afford a ticket, that means they are not as badly off as Bruce Springsteen makes them out to be, according to Christie. A telling, and common, current Conservative mindset.

Maybe Bruce Springsteen understands better than Chris Christie exactly how these people came by the money for the tickets, and he expresses his sympathy and empathy in his songs?

Also, what Chris Christie, and most modern Conservative politicians, doesn’t understand, is that a wealthy individual does not have to abandon his principles and beliefs, nor empathy for the plight of the poorly-paid worker or the indigent who have fallen on hard times, or the disabled…just because he is a wealthy individual himself.

I mean, that’s the core difference between these 2 men. One believes that being a high-wealth individual disqualifies you from sympathy for the poor devils, and you are a hypocrite, therefore, if you seek to speak to that.
And then there is the other one, who believes in the eternal struggle against the wealthy in society, in order to get a better deal for those who don’t have as much, due to whatever circumstance, and so sees it as his duty to campaign to force the wealthy to share a little bit of their fortunes with those less fortunate. Even if you are one of ‘The 1%’ yourself.

Therefore, maybe, because Springsteen knows that Christie will never be able to comprehend this basic fact, is why he has no time for him. And never will.

I mean, Chris Christie is the living, breathing embodiment of the (fat) kid who never wanted to share, and thus is the walking, trash-talking epitome of today’s global Conservative Manifesto:

‘I got mine. You can go fuck yourself!’

1,043 thoughts on “Talking At Cross Purposes About Unknown Knowns and Known Unknowns.

  1. C@t:

    I got pissed off with this from Maley:

    If PMS is a myth, then women lose an excuse to be angry – that they’re running late, that their partner left the washing up, that they’re paid less than their male counterparts, that they carry an unequal load of domestic work, that they’re subjected to unacceptable levels of violence, that the female toilet queues at music festivals are ridiculously long, that their haircuts cost more, and that they are expected to pretend the ageing process doesn’t apply to them.

    Read more:

    Perhaps it’s just that she’s a terrible writer and so can’t make her case more pointedly, but I can’t see what PMS has to do with we women arking up about gender inequality.

  2. Aguirre,
    I’m wondering if a free program like Slim Computer, or Slim Clean, may be able to help in a similar situation in the future? It even allowed me to get rid of the dreaded Bing Bar after I had installed Winamp to listen to something. 🙂

    Though I will keep an eye out for the Terms and Conditions trick now. 🙂

  3. pms doesnt cauce long que at loo

    wait till menapause , and bladders that need reparing. lol

    and who says p m t a myth. i ve have not heard that one.

    but its no excuse of course.

  4. Thanks C@tmomma, hadn’t heard of them so I’ll check them out. I’m usually pretty good with this stuff. Having a program I’ve used without that sort of incident suddenly turn feral on me – well, it took me by surprise.

    I got a message to say my new modem is in the neighborhood. With any luck I’ll get it today or tomorrow, and not a day too soon either. There’s nothing quite like having your broadband seize up every 15-30 minutes to keep the angst levels high. When it works, it works well – no issues with downloading anything. Then it stops.

  5. Morning all

    PVO cracked the sads the other day on twitter about not wanting to vote for either party this year. Was that his way of saying that Abbott’s goose is cooked, and the Liberals are bound to lose with him at the helm?

  6. I see Peter Reith over at The Drum (AS USUAL!) flogging a dead horse…and going by the negative comments directed at him and the coalition by usually conservative types, I’d say they were knackered!

  7. PVO. is like the rest of those OM. recruits..just roaming the office looking for relevancy in their beige world!
    They must be realising that they made a poor deal exchanging a career for a carer!

  8. jaycee

    PVO also wrote a piece over the weekend as to why the Libs would not go back to Turnbull, and that they will stick with Abbott.

  9. 39c here yesterday, supposed to be 29 today. It’s already 30.5 c here in my office/computer room and it’s only 8.30am.

    Showers & storms predicted here today so I can’t imagine it won’t keep getting hotter as the day progresses.

    The thermometer has been bumping up towards the 40c mark for almost a week now and the outside temps are just awful.

    Our birds are getting heat stressed & it’s hard to keep them cool. A couple of days ago I was a bit late getting up and found one of the Corellas plucking out his chest feathers and bathing in the water bowl.

    He looked a pitiful sight but is ok now I’ve brought him in under cover in a smaller cage. I have been spraying them with water throughout the day.

    It must be awful for pets whose owners/carers are out all day at work.

  10. The temp has been a bit coler here the last coupla days, but it is going to skyrocket by thurs’….I wrote a post on a community forum the other day on the delinquent roadside vegetation clearing done by vandal farmers in the district, but had to pull it because my quoted passage from Dostoyevsky (Ch’ 1 pt’5) about the peasant killing the mare was a bit too strong a metaphor for the public to take!……The “public” out here in the mallee don’t take too kindly to Dostoyevsky!

  11. Victoria, re PVO:

    They’ll all start doing it soon enough. The ALP are closing in on 50-50, which means they’ve been wrong all this time. After all, how long has it been since they started saying the 2013 election was a foregone conclusion? They started in on that as soon as they realised there wasn’t going to be an early election.

    Now, they can’t be wrong of course, not publicly anyway. So, that must mean that politics is broken. It’s always ‘broken’ every time political journalists look like fools. PVO has done the equivalent of picking up his bat and going home. It’s a dummy-spit because he’s just realised he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and he’s damned if he’s going to let some upstart on Twitter point it out to him.

  12. Look, IMHO, and it’s only an opinion based upon hearing Peter van Onselen speak at the launch of Troy Bramston’s book of iconic Labor Leader’s speeches, he appears to be undergoing a political catharsis, of the sort you go through when you realise your youthful ideology must now be tempered by reality.

    And the reality is, Labor governments are better than Coalition governments.

    You could tell it got stuck in his throat on the way out, but he admitted that Bob Hawke was a better Post War Prime Minister than John Howard. Ever since that day I have noticed him questioning his beliefs. Even to the point, over Xmas, of musing that he may have some Lefties on the Contrarians.

    I’m glad he is doing this. He’s not stupid. That I do know.

  13. The trouble really is that the political news landscape has altered. All the people who used to write about what’s happening have been supplanted by people who want to tell us what’s going to happen. So instead of news we mostly get predictions from people styling themselves as ‘experts’. We used to have an opinion page for those sorts of people – now they’re on every page. You’ll note that whenever something happens you’ll have an article about it on the front page, and right next to it an ‘explanation’ by one of the staff writers.

    Telling people what’s ‘going to happen’ is really just a version of telling people what to think. Besides which, 9 times out of 10 it’s actually telling people what they want to happen. And what they want to happen is tied in with what they’ve been wanting to happen for a while.

    It’s why Shaun Carney was reduced to writing versions of the same article every week, and eventually had to go. He’d backed the wrong horse, refused to admit it, and therefore had to excise large swathes of reality just to make his pieces internally consistent.

  14. Aguirre,
    Par example, the latest stoush between what The Australian put on it’s front page screamer about the ABC, and what the reality was, as carefully explained in a letter to The Australian, which they refused to publish because it would have put a serious dent in their credibility among their readership. Like an arrow to the heart that makes you wake up and smell the coffee(to mix a few apt metaphors 🙂 ).

  15. The Liberals are in a panic. Remember the faceless men of the Liberal Party article the other day? Was it by Steve Lewis? Hinting at the Libs to focus on other MPs, not just Abbott. Good luck with that. What else to do? Change leaders? But to whom?

  16. People might have objected to TA being “sensitive” towards Peta C. They might have seen something there that either is non-existent or is better left untouched. And they might not have liked it.

  17. People often remember and react to the little details rather than the big picture. Abbott’s firefighting stunt may well have come unstuck when he said he was postponing his holidays to fight fires. With most other firefighters using their Christmas break to do their duty that would have gone down like the proverbial lead balloon. They sacrified holidays or took time off without pay to fight fires, Abbott took paid work time and will doubtless claim travel expenses for that time as well. Not a good look in the circumstances.

  18. leonetwo

    Abbott postponed holidays for how many days? There are still countless fires to fight at present. Is he in attendance at one of them?

  19. victoria

    Aboott only attends fires when a camera crew is around, so I suppose he’s now off on that surfing holiday.

    That holiday is a bit suss too. Abbott told the world he was going to spend his holiday on the NSW South Coast, somewhere in the Sussex Inlet area. Apparently he holidays there most years. Strange that his holiday destination was not very far from where he was fighting fires. So easy to hop in the car and drive down after a hard day posing for the cameras.

    Everything Abbott does is fake

  20. victoria,
    As I saw it, Abbott postponed his holidays by one day, so that he could go down to Joanna Gash’s electorate to do the picfac for the Front Page of The Daily Telegraph the following day.

    I don’t remember seeing him actually do any fire fighting. I think he stood around with a hose for the media. I think he was sent to observe that the fire didn’t break Containment Lines. Then he went home at the end of the day. Then off on his holidays.

    I stand to be corrected if he did any more than that.

  21. You can tell a lot from those photos of Abbott. Like who his backers are, Noosa Interstate Trucking Company, for example. Harvey Norman, of course. Also, it was telling that one of his photos in Afghanistan had 2 women either side of him. Probably had to go searching for them for the photo. 😉

  22. C@t

    He’s never gunna live down his advertised self-aggrandising volunteer firefighting stunt. Cop this from David Donovan

    David Donovan ‏@davrosz
    Why Abbott hasn’t said anything Andrew Laming. He’s still busy putting out fires – in Logan. #StopTheStunts

  23. Speaking of male models – my lovely daughter has been up on a visit from the big city. Over dinner the other night Abbott and his fire fighting was mentioned and someone said he looked like a male model in that now very familiar pose. To which daughter said ‘He could never be a male model, he’s too puny, you have to be built to be a model.’. So there’s one post politics career option for the LOTO shot down in flames.

  24. Abbott’s just about to break the habit of a year and watch SkyNews for their. Pretty sure the 51-49 will be heavily underlined as well as the improvement in Abbott’s net disapproval.

  25. Congratulations to C@tmomma for authoring The Pub’s first 1000-comment post! We come a long way baby!

    But all good things come to an end, and there is now an official NEW THREAD

  26. C@tmomma,

    [ scorpio,
    I hope you and the birds have a good day, despite the heat. ]

    The same to you and the rest of THE PUB’s worthy clientèle! 😉

  27. well now saying

    rossmore has picked up on the december poll release

    so apologise , i should of waited.

  28. Dr Emerson said voters appeared to be accepting there was a contrast between the major parties and that Labor was taking the right decisions for the needs of the modern Australia.

    “And perhaps an alternative which is walking back to some sort of yesteryear,” he told Sky News on Tuesday.

    But Dr Emerson warned against over-analysing the poll result.

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