October 13, 2017

"The show isn’t afraid to go dark; death is a fact of life, as Springsteen acknowledges..."

"... when he recounts narrowly slipping out of the Vietnam War draft and wonders who might’ve gone in his stead."

From New York Magazine's very positive review of Bruce Springsteen's Broadway show "On Broadway."

He "acknowledges" that "death is a fact of life" when he tells about "narrowly slipping out of the Vietnam War draft"? Springsteen avoided the draft — I'm reading here — by failing the physical "largely due to his deliberately 'crazy' behavior and a concussion previously suffered in a motorcycle accident."

I don't see that as acknowledging that "death is a fact of life." It's more of an acknowledgment that selfishness is a fact of life. But that is credibly called "dark," and it does take some courage to admit to something you did in the past that could be seen as a failure of courage.

ADDED: From the NYT review:
But now, entire swaths of the Walter Kerr Theater, apparently unmindful of downbeat lyrics like “I ain’t nothing but tired,” started clapping along to “Dancing in the Dark,” Mr. Springsteen’s biggest hit, from 1984.

He stopped cold. “I’ll handle it myself,” he said, shutting them down with a small, sharky glint of a smile....
Ha. Great.

49 comments:

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Whoo! Very unflattering picture at the link, too!

rehajm said...

The show may be called dark but I guarantee the audience is the brightest of bright whites.

Fernandinande said...

I got a 1-A along with a nice, high number. At the physical my heart rate was 45 bpm and went down to 44 bpm after the (one minute?) stair-step test or whatever they call it, because I'd been running 10-15 miles every day. The guy said "We don't see that very often!"

And I said "Well, and at these prices you're lucky to see it at all!"

True story! Except for the last part.

So anyway, I know all about death 'n' shit too, because draft physical.

Earnest Prole said...

Sorry, Bruce fans, but 'Springsteen on Broadway' is a dud

“Sorry to break the bad news, Bruce fans, but Springsteen's choice to develop this four-month residency in New York by himself, without the help of a stage-savvy director, has proven a cavalier and foolish decision by the rock icon -- the arc of this disjointed production is saved only by its music and the exclusivity of its venue. He would've saved himself some trouble simply rocking a straight, two-hour acoustic set and selling his audiobook with the candy and cocktails.”

robother said...

I guess there's a fine line between "dark" and "dork". Springsteen has made his living on that line.

Khesanh 0802 said...

I usually don't hold lack of service during VN against people. Springsteen frosts me a bit because he leans so heavily on Americana, but it turns out he was no better than BIll Clinton.

Earnest Prole said...

And the New York Times says brace yourself for a grim triumph:

“There came a moment the other night, near the end of Bruce Springsteen’s overwhelming and uncategorizable Broadway show, when it seemed possible to see straight through his many masks to some core truth of his being. This was when the audience, which had mostly restrained itself through the first 13 songs of the 15-song set, could no longer sit on its hands as if in church. The show had been, to that point, quite solemn — and would continue to be. But now, entire swaths of the Walter Kerr Theater, apparently unmindful of downbeat lyrics like ‘I ain’t nothing but tired,’ started clapping along to ‘Dancing in the Dark,’ Mr. Springsteen’s biggest hit, from 1984.

“He stopped cold. ‘I’ll handle it myself,’ he said, shutting them down with a small, sharky glint of a smile.”

M Jordan said...

I read this play is getting rave reviews from the glitterati.

I therefore despise it, as I do Born in the USA Springsteen, Mr. Fake Populist.

Tim said...

I got a letter from the draft board saying that my number was about to be called even though they were drafting fewer folks then. Went to see my Dad, he was career Air Force, asked him if I should go ahead and join. Lol, he said I really wasn't military material, was playing in a band at the time, long hair and all. He looked at me and said, just wait a bit, don't so anything yet. So I took his advice and waited, and I'll be damned if President Nixon didn't abolish the draft about a week later. I never worried about not being military material, but I always wanted him to be proud of me. After he had been gone a few years, my Mother told me he said to her once that he liked the fact that no matter what happened, I never gave up. Funny, I had never considered it that way, I had family, I couldn't give up. Thanks, Dad.

Bill Peschel said...

A Springsteen show where you can't move to the music? What is this, "Footloose"?

Boy takes himself a wee seriously, doesn't he?

Jupiter said...

"It's more of an acknowledgment that selfishness is a fact of life."

If you are minding your own business, and the slave-traders come to take you away, but you fool them into thinking you are sick, they will just go looking for someone else to enslave. So resisting slavery is selfish?

Fritz said...

I drew a 13 in 1970. Student deferment.

dda6ga dda6ga said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5KU34DrrPI

Meade said...

"But that is credibly called "dark," and it does take some courage to admit to something you did in the past that could be seen as a failure of courage."

Red Bruce of Courage

Paul said...

So he is a draft dodger. No wonder he is liberal.

He sports the white feather of 'courage'.

Bay Area Guy said...

I had two uncles serve in Vietnam, one in infantry. They didn't whine about it, or dodge the draft. They filled the roles that the wiley college kids avoided.

Bruce -- a great singer -- choked on this one issue.

William said...

I avoided the draft by joining the Air Force. I served as a clerk in England, You don't know the pain of a paper cut until you've suffered one from high grade, military bond paper. Veterans know what I'm talking about, so I won't speak further. Suffice to say that I was glad to shed some blood for my country......I don't hold draft dodging against Bruce. Not everyone functions at my level of valor and patriotism. As rock stars go, Bruce is reasonably well behaved, and I like his music, so let it go......There are very few stars in literature, music. or movies who share my politics. I draw the line at Jane Fonda and tune out the background static from the rest,

Bob R said...

I almost never like it when people clap along or sing along because they rarely do it well. I would be doubly pissed if I had paid $1K per seat to hear someone in a small setting. Good for Bruce to shut them down.

Unknown said...

"I almost never like it when people clap along or sing along because they rarely do it well."

This reminded me of when Ann shared the video of Harry Connick Jr. converting the audience 1-3 clapping to 2-4.

Mountain Maven said...

BS is overrated, always has been.

Clyde said...

Too old to rock and roll, too young to die.

EDH said...

Aren't we witnessing a bit of a reveal here?

Celebrities revealing their private silences -- whether it's turning a blind eye to pervasive harassment within their industry, or shame in the act of simple self-preservation -- while perhaps having all along tried to deflect those deficits of courage by oversized projections of their righteous indignation at others and virtue signaling their own moral superiority precisely where there was minimal personal risk?

Bob Ellison said...

If you assume "shut up and sing" is correct, then you should also assume "shut up and listen". Springsteen is a singer, not a political philosopher. His name isn't even spelled correctly.

He's good at music.

gg6 said...

Aw, a deeply philosophical draft-coward.
But I guess that teach that in rehab.

traditionalguy said...

Springsteen has made being a rock singer from New Jersey into an entire career. And strangely that makes him a hero to many today. But an E.B. Sledge who was more our hero type, he was not.

Khesanh 0802 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Khesanh 0802 said...

For those wondering what traditional guy is referring to: With the Old Breed at Peleliu and Okinawa. Sledge personally experienced what Sherman said about war.

Jupiter said...

gg6 said...
"Aw, a deeply philosophical draft-coward."

If you think I was a coward because I refused to be Lyndon Johnson's willing bitch, well, fine. Think it. The government had no right to my life.

Of course, at the time I turned 18, and refused to register for the draft, in 1972, they weren't actually drafting anyone. So the easy thing to have done would have been to fill in the form and forget about it. Like most boys did. And I don't blame them. But the government had no right to my life.

Cog said...

I’m also reminded of my own draft physical, in LA. An old school friend was there who was schizophrenic. He got the 4-F honestly that Springsteen faked to get. Sadly, my friend took his own life a few short years later. Also, another guy was there who wandered around asking really dumb questions like he couldn’t understand the simplest directions. I remember thinking he was faking crazy. At least, he seemed to but I didn't really know. But back to this idea about it taking courage for Springsteen to say now he faked crazy back then, I suppose he could lie about it night after night during his Broadway run, but what point would there be to that.

anti-de Sitter space said...

""But that is credibly called "dark," and it does take some courage to admit to something you did in the past that could be seen as a failure of courage."

Red Bruce of Courage"

Re this stuff, it was courageous to participate in a cluster-F. This pointless participation was courageous because it was politicians who were deciding that you should die and kill for this cluster-F-ery. If everyone had courage we would still have Americans dying and killing in Vietnam.

OTOH, re powerful men messing w/ gals, it's courageous for the victims to speak out and refuse subjugation. Re this stuff, unlike re war, it's unacceptable to give politicians a pass re abusing people.

Got it.

Now I Know! said...
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Now I Know! said...

Meade, did you serve? Were you eligible for the draft?

Now I Know! said...

We all know that avid golfer Doofus-in-Chief got four deferments and then got a medical supposedly because of bone spurs in his heels.

Now I Know! said...

Trump is another major chicken hawk.

RichardJohnson said...

I don't see that as acknowledging that "death is a fact of life." It's more of an acknowledgment that selfishness is a fact of life. But that is credibly called "dark," and it does take some courage to admit to something you did in the past that could be seen as a failure of courage.

Many of us subjected to the draft gamed the system. A friend wore yellow underwear to his physical, which at the time made him a 4-F deviant, apparently. A lot depended on where you went to your physical, I believe.

I got a 1-O (Conscientious Objector) classification. When I was a freshman in college, a time when my 1-S status meant I wasn't yet liable to be drafted, I argued for Conscientious Objection in dorm bull sessions. In retrospect, I believe my stance was a reaction to a friend being killed in a gun accident with his brother when I was in elementary school.I concluded that as the brother suffered for having killed my friend, I would also suffer for killing. The father of a friend,who had been an Air Force pilot in three wars, wrote a recommendation. (Vietnam had disillusioned him.)

My gaming the system consisted of delaying and delaying getting a job to fulfill the 1-O obligation. I was back in school and didn't want to leave the area and school. After a year and a half of delay, the draft board informed me that I was no longer obligated- the draft needs had kept going down. I did end up working 2 years as an Aide in 1-O type jobs that were near my school. The genocide in Cambodia convinced me that pacifism was untenable- no one has clean hands.

Some of us did not game the system. A classmate of mine entered the Army before we graduated from high school. He attended a high school assembly on which featured a debate on whether there should be a draft. He stood up in the assembly, clad in his Army uniform, and made a comment. Several months later he was killed in Vietnam. When I saw his name on the Vietnam Memorial, the 23rd Psalm rushed through my head.

Consider John Kerry, who ran as John "Reporting for Duty" Kerry. Kerry spent only four months in Vietnam, well short of the standard 12 months. His reason for getting out early were "wounds" which were much less grievous than some I had suffered from playing pickup soccer or football. That suggests to me that John Kerry also gamed the system. I am not going to hold John Kerry against that. But those who inform me that John Kerry "did his duty" while others were gaming the system are incorrect. John Kerry also gamed the system.

Big Mike said...

I served.

Fernandinande said...

Jupiter said...
gg6 said... "Aw, a deeply philosophical draft-coward."

If you think I was a coward because I refused to be Lyndon Johnson's willing bitch, well, fine. Think it. The government had no right to my life.


I think the cowards are the people who allowed themselves to be drafted. They cooperated with their own enslavement, probably out of virtue signaling and peer pressure more than anything else, but certainly not out of principle for an idiotic adventure like Vietnam; you can't get much wimpier than that.

TwilightofLiberty.com said...

One of the best things about graduating from college was no longer having to pretend Bruce Springsteen's music was anything other than total shit. He's very popular with the undergrads.

Valentine Smith said...

All yes all those who failed to serve during that time wonder deep in their hearts did I have it, what it takes, the courage to stand and even possibly die like those countless others. Especially the draft dodgers.

Yancey Ward said...

The draft was ended when I was 6 years old, so I never faced it. Had I faced getting drafted into the infantry for Vietnam, I may well have done a Klinger, too. Like a commenter above wrote, the draft is just a form of slavery.

rcommal said...

He's acknowledging his selfishness, and selfishness is a human thing. As you say, AA, he slipped out via "crazy behavior," I suppose as a last resort. Our current president slipped out via bones spurs, I also suppose as a last resort.

It certainly did help, back in the day, to be crazy or crippled. It certainly worked for many.

rcommal said...

Both things did. and many were pretenders.\
















rcommal said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yp7r0j4XrO8&hl=en_US&fs=1

Etienne said...
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Meade said...

"Meade, did you serve? Were you eligible for the draft?"

I was eligible. But beginning in 1969 when I was 15 — counseled by my family's church youth minister — my plan was to commit civil disobedience by "knowingly and willfully" violating the U.S. Selective Service System law in 1972, a plan with which I followed through. I'm still waiting to be arrested, fined up to $250,000 and serve up to 5 years in prison. So, no, I have not yet "served."

How about you, Now I Know!, have you registered with the Selective Service? Have you served?

Now I Know! said...

Registered in 1985

Now I Know! said...

Served, but saw no action.

Meade said...

In prison? Or in a branch of the military?

Now I Know! said...

Yes Meade. I didn't get raped in prison.