You wouldn't think this was possible, but Glenn Beck had apparently never actually sat down and listened to Bruce Springsteen's "Born In The USA," never heard the lyrics, never formed a familiarity with the song's storied history in American politics, until this week, I guess? Anyway, now that he's heard that the song isn't some glorious tongue-bath to American exceptionalism, he's denouncing it on the radio. Per Lindsay Beyerstein:
Twenty-six years after the release of Bruce Springsteen's hit song, "Born in The USA," conservative talk show host/performance artist Glenn Beck finally got around to listening to the lyrics.
Beck was shocked, shocked to discover that for all these years he'd been rocking out to a song about a bitter down-and-out Vietnam vet who has been kicked to the curb by the aforementioned USA.
Via Spencer Ackerman, here's what Beck had to say about it:
BECK: You get filled with patriotic pride, and then you find out that Bruce Springsteen's 'Born In The U.S.A.' is anti-American. 'Born down in a dead man's town/ the first kick I took is when I hit the ground/ you end up like a dog that's been beat too much/ so you spend half your life just covering up...' [He reads the entire lyrics in an incredulous tone of voice; manages to mispronounce 'Khe Sanh'] Hmm. Yeah! [crosstalk] ... It's time for us to wake up out of our dream state. Out of the propaganda... This is the thing that people who come from the Soviet bloc or Cuba, they're all saying, 'How do you guys not hear this? How are you not seeing this?' Well, because we don't ever expect it.
All of this gives me the opportunity to bring up one thing that's always puzzled me about Beck: his love of the band Muse. Beck follows Muse on Twitter, and he took the stage at CPAC to the tune of their recent hit, "Uprising." Here's the video, you can hear the song pretty clearly:
Don't get me wrong, Muse is awesome. But what's weird about Beck's embrace of Muse is that their lead singer, Matthew Bellamy, is a 9/11 "Truther."
"When I was younger, my mother communicated with ghosts," says Bellamy as the limo snakes its way to Manhattan's South Street Seaport and the posed and dissected cadavers that constitute the "Bodies" exhibit. "She and my dad would invite friends over to use a Ouija board and talk with spirits. I was allowed to watch. I imagine my interest in the unknown started then."
That curiosity about what lies beyond has never gone away, and it has taken a particularly sinister turn. "I've always been quite interested in conspiracy theory, and I still am," says the slight Bellamy, dressed for the macabre occasion in a light-blue striped button-down shirt, black slacks, and black loafers, his brown hair styled in the irregular thatch favored by Brit rockers since 1965. "But I've learned to be careful in talking about this stuff. People take my curiosity as evidence of belief. I think as I get older, I'll become more and more interested in pursuing verifiable lines of thinking rather than blurting out my opinions."
On 9/11: "There is evidence that suggests the powers that be knew of the attacks beforehand and let them happen. There's a video on YouTube called Loose Change that explains it."
I hate to take Bellamy's "curiosity as evidence of belief," but he's been talking up 9/11 as an "inside job" for a long time.
Music is just music. But Beck very recently torched Texas gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina for espousing these same "Truther" beliefs, so it's sort of funny to see him making allowances for Muse, while assailing The Boss for being un-American for that time he thought we should take better care of our veterans.
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