Since the mainstream media and the blogosphere seems to be paying little attention, I think Ethics Alarms can be forgiven for doing its best to try to keep what is being buried by apathy above ground a little longer…
Here is Curmie’s Comment of the Day on the post, “More On The Obama-Springsteen Exchange, Since Apparently Its Significance Isn’t Sinking In…”:
I suspect there aren’t too many regular readers of this blog who actually lowered their opinion (as opposed to having it confirmed) of Obama and Springsteen as a result of this exchange, but I’m one.
I actually see this as the flip side of some of the antics of James O’Keefe and his lot: that by exaggerating a real problem beyond recognition, he loses the opportunity to actually make an important point. Imagine if instead of the quotation you cite, he’d said “But most of your audiences were primarily white. And they loved Clarence when he was onstage, but if some of them had run into him in a bar [note past tense!], things might have been very different.”
That would be a true statement, worthy of consideration by all of us. No, not all white Springsteen fans, but some; not certainty of the response, but plausibility; and not the n-word, at least spoken aloud–but perhaps a tension, a distancing that ought not to be there and is worthy of addressing.
That Obama, with something of a reputation as a wordsmith, would say something so profoundly stupid and insulting is indeed deeply problematic. Does this one incident legitimately characterize him as an anti-white racist? Perhaps not… but perhaps so.
As for Springsteen–certainly the working class persona he tries to exude felt a lot more authentic back in ’70s, when it was authentic. I haven’t paid a lot of attention to his more recent stuff, but I still consider myself a fan of the music he wrote and performed a generation or so ago. I’m a bigger fan, though, of the late Warren Zevon. In one of my favorite songs of his, we get this:
“They say, ‘Everything’s alright.’
They say, ‘Better days are near.’
They tell us, ‘These are the good times.’
But they don’t live around here.
Billy and Christie don’t,
And Bruce and Patti don’t.
They don’t live around here.”
What Warren said.