Ethics Dunce: Bruce Springsteen

Dear Loyal Fans: I'm mad at your state, so I'll take it out on you. Love, Bruce.

Dear Loyal Fans: I’m mad at your state, so I’ll take it out on you. Love, Bruce.

I want to express my appreciation to “The Boss” for beautifully illustrating why so many boycotts are unethical, and frequently stupid as well.

First, Springstein’s statement:


This is political correctness grandstanding and nothing else. Springsteen could have made a statement strongly deploring the new law, and it would have had exactly as much impact on the viability of the law and public opinion regarding it as this one. For good measure, however, the pop icon decided to punish his fans for a law most of them probably oppose anyway. I guess he could have also kicked some dogs or set his hair on fire, both of which would have been precisely as effective as withholding a good time that his loyal followers had paid for, planned and looked forward to.

Let’s be clear. This an empty gesture that does no good, and appreciable harm. Missing a concert means nothing to Springsteen, who doesn’t need either the money or the practice. It also mean nothing to the offending legislators, who don’t and shouldn’t care a bit about what a non-resident pop star thinks about North Carolina’s social policy.

A dumb, pointless gesture that gratuitously injures the innocent, does nothing to change the policy he’s objecting to, and accomplishes nothing but giving him the ego gratification of being able to claim he did “something.”


16 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce: Bruce Springsteen

  1. “The Wichita Eagle reports that under current regulations, one can change the gender listed on his or her birth certificate by showing medical paperwork that indicates an anatomical or physiological change occurred.

    The governor’s administration has proposed changing the regulations so that the gender on a person’s birth certificate can only be changed if the person signs an affidavit saying the gender was incorrectly recorded on the original certificate and also provides medical records backing up that claim.

    The change developed by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment seems to block transgender people from changing their birth certificates after transitioning.

    “They’re trying to change the rules in the middle of the game,” said Tom Witt, the executive director of Equality Kansas, an LGBT rights group. “This has been standing in Kansas for a very long time that transgender people are able to get their birth certificates corrected.”

    The department’s summary outlining the regulatory change says it’s intended to prevent allowing corrections that aren’t considered minor.

    The proposed change comes after Kansas received national attention for two bills that would restrict transgender students’ access to school bathrooms that don’t align with their recorded gender at birth. The state also faces a suit from a transgender woman over the department’s denial to update her birth certificates after her transition.”

    Some things need nipping in the bud. This is metastising.

    Note that the NC redistricting after the 2010 elections is such that even a 70-30 D-R vote wouldn’t remove the GOP majority in the house of reps, it’s more throughly gerrymandered than any other state in the union. Voting the bums out isn’t an option.

  2. I thought that the subject was Springsteen disappointing his fans to gratify his massive ego. Don’t think I’ll be going to any Springsteen concerts. I’ll save my money for the Stones or Keith Richards.

  3. I haven’t been able to stomach him since seeing him in all those pictures with Obama. Never liked his union-worshipping New Joisy swill to begin with.

    • Hear, hear!!! Guess you could say I’ve been “boycotting” Springsteen for many years…just don’t like him.

  4. “A dumb, pointless gesture that gratuitously injures the innocent, does nothing to change the policy he’s objecting to, and accomplishes nothing but giving him the ego gratification of being able to claim he did “something.”

    I’m not disagreeing, but wondering about the point you’re trying to make. Is the fact that the gesture is toothless and ineffectual the criterion for calling it unethical?

    That seems to be your primary point here; is there something else? Draw out the ethical link, please.

    By the way, all this reminds me of the McCarthy days when Laurence Johnson, a grocer out of Syracuse, exerted economic a pressure on TV shows, the old blacklisting scandal. In the 50s, this tactic came from the right; now it’s more likely to be from the left.

    • Sorry, I thought it was clear. Not only is he inflicting pain without any objective other than grandstanding (“I’m sensitive! I get it!” Shut up and sing.) but he’s hurting fans as well as venders and employees. Maybe you’re confused because the ethical objections to corporations announcing that they won’t do business in these states has been the topic in other posts. This is an entirely different issue. See: “kick the dog” reference. ALL boycotts hurt innocents…that’s why they are generally unethical, unless they hold out realistic promise of having some effect. This one has no sliver of a chance.

  5. The fans will get their money back. It’s the local vendors, security etc that will lose income. He’s punishing a lot of people.

  6. Springsteen is incorrect. The strongest means he has of raising his voice in opposition to HB2 is to announce he’ll donate everything he earns from the concert to the groups opposing HB2, proceed with the concert, and then follow through with the donation.

  7. What a hugely inflated ego. I’m not going to North Carolina any time soon myself, Bruce. The food is terrible and most everybody still smokes.

    • Agreed. Everyone who planned on seeing the concert should be saying “WTF?!?” What is fascinating is that Bruce tool all the time to think about what he was doing and write about it, and neither his own brain or anyone around him also came around to “WTF?!?”

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