Of course conservative media outlets like Faux News and The Weekly (No) Standard would slam Bruce Springsteen, Dave Grohl and Zac Brown for singing CCR’s Fortunate Son at a Veterans Day celebration on the National Mall.
“Tone deaf,” TWS said. “Taking shots at the red, white and blue,” said one of Fox’s blondes — couldn’t say which, they’re interchangeable.
They all agreed that the song, written by Army vet and CCR front man John Fogerty, is “anti-war,” “anti-draft,” “anti-military.”
Except it’s not. What it is is anti-elitism, anti-I’m-a-bigshot-so-my-kids-don’t-have-to-go-to-war-but-you’re-nobody-so-you’re-kids-do.
It’s true that Fogerty opposed the Vietnam war, it’s true he opposed the draft, and it’s also true that he was drafted. But what he opposed even more was the blatant inequality about who was sent to war and who got a deferment.
It’s not the first time, though, that conservatives have been unable to comprehend song lyrics. Ronald Reagan, among others, used Springsteen’s Born in the USA as a campaign song (until Bruce told him to stop). Born in the USA, a song about just how bad the United States treats its veterans once the shooting stops. If it stops. Talk about tone deaf.
But then, this is kinda par for the proverbial course, wherein the course is headlines, soundbites and song titles and par is the conservatives’ seeming inability to see anything that is not either/or, or, in this case, red, white and blue.
Nuance is not for the patriotic at heart.
Much was made about nuance in 2004 when GW Bush used the word against John Kerry. Many of my colleagues in the “mainstream media,” never ones to miss jumping on a meme bandstand, beat it to death, treating it as if being able to see more than the flip sides of an issue was a bad thing. It’s not.
In fact, we’d live in a much better world if we stopped with the I’m-right-so-you’re-wrong bullshit. And don’t take my word for it. Just think about it. Let it roll around in an open space in your mind for a little bit. See what happens.
What would happen, do ya think, if we just listened a little more? And, by listen, I mean actually hear the words being spoken and what they mean rather than snatching a word or two out of what we think we hear and formulating our brilliant takedown while the other person is talking.
It may just be too much hard work for some of us. I can’t guarantee the Faux heads will ever be capable of it. When one of their number actually explained what Fortunate Son was all about, another said he just wasn’t sure. Maybe if Bruce and company had explained it before they sang it.
As if. As if listening to the song itself is so fucking hard he needs someone to explain it to him before he hears it.
It’s so easy to talk without knowing what we’re talking about. Some of us have made whole careers out of it, because a lot of us like nothing better than to have someone else condense this complex world into the lowest common denominator so we don’t have to wade through nuance ourselves.
And just look where that’s gotten us: