Monday, October 8, 2007

Springsteen vs. O'Reilley

I have a confession to make. To admit the forthcoming fact to any other living human being, let alone myself, is somewhat akin, in my own mind at least, to getting an enema by way of sea urchin, but it serves as the basis for a short rant.

I watched "The O'Reilley Factor" tonight.

Now normally, neither sheer morbid curiosity nor the promise of untold wealth and omnipotent knowledge could persuade me to watch that glorified Macy's Day float's noggin ramble on and on about the evils of liberal media. The reprehensibly short-sighted nonsense that unfurls from Bill's mouth makes about as much sense as a 21-gun salute for Jerry Falwell at the Maryland Death Fest (you may not know what that is, but it doesn't sound pretty, now does it?). Tonight, however, my interest was piqued beyond the point of reason.

I was on the elliptical machine at the YMCA, burning off some M&Ms, when I saw a preview for The O'Reilley Factor set to air that night. For the first 15 seconds, it was pretty predictable: torture is OK as long as we know its going on, Obama won't wear an American flag pin and therefore is a fascist baby-eater, yadda yadda yadda. After that, however, something managed to break through the daydream I was having about drinking stouts in the mountains with Angela Gossow (gorgeous, aloof, and terrifying lead singer of melodic Swedish death metal group Arch Enemy...for those playing the home game) after having won the Pulitzer for my epic poem Do Dogs Have Communes on Mars?

The headline flashed up before me like a neon sign gone retarded--The Boss: Anti-American?

"The Boss," of course, refers to Bruce Springsteen, arguably the greatest Americana songwriter of this generation, and the "Anti-American" refers to not only his having been staunchly liberal and outspoken during his entire career, but also to recent comments he made in an interview with Scott Pelley in which he decried the torture of terror suspects, the rampant wire-tapping of the Patriot Act, vote blocking in the 2000 election, and more.

Now, it doesn't bother me that much that O'Reilly calls Springsteen an anti-American, or says that the things against which the Boss is railing never really happened. Those are easily refuted by anyone with a high-school education and a computer, so we'll leave that dead horse alone for a while...till I get bored. Hell, it doesn't even really bother me that O'Reilley called Bruce to task on his comments, demanding that he come on Bill's show and back them up...Bill knows that Bruce is on tour, and is going to be for the remainder of the year. Such is the nature of his occupation; and how safe it is for O'Reilley to say something like that when he knows full well that there isn't a chance Springsteen can get away from his tour for a few minutes so that he can tell Bill O'Reilly where to stick it.

No, what bothers me is this paraphrase: "Bruce Springsteen and other high-profile musicians like him use their occupation and their music to try to convince the country that their own personal position on things is correct."

This from a pundit who goes on national television several times a week and calls "BULL!" to anyone who disagrees with him--and is usually right.

This from a pundit who makes a living bullying his guests.

This from a pundit makes a living telling people what to believe and where to stand on issues.

This from a pundit guilty of almost as much double-talk as the administration he so blindly and vehemently supports.