Archives for posts with tag: Bruce Springsteen
Prick Cadillac

Oozing down the street, indeed. Make no mistake, fellow social justice warriors: Bruce Springsteen is pure, unadulterated pink slime.

[Ideological Content Analysis is both pleased and privileged to bring readers this thought-provoking and patriarchy-challenging guest post by Rokuro “Rocky” Roth-Hideyoshi, roving pop correspondent for Beat/Down: A Journal of Queer Quriticism and Aural Experience.]

Does any circumstance better illustrate the unrepentant heteronormative and intra-racial supremacy of corporate radio than the fact that “Pink Cadillac”, Bruce Springsteen’s hate-saturated 1984 B-side to the disturbing “Dancing in the Dark”, continues to receive occasional airplay on nominally non-Aryanist networks and to be hosted on YouTube and other popular websites without censorship or content disclaimers? As Kevin Ransom writes, it is one of those “songs that have practically been pounded into cliché by super-heavy radio rotation.” Springsteen’s ersatz protestations of anti-racist commitment are never convincing – a case, one suspects, in which, as Hamlet would put it, “the hater doth protest too much” – and even assuming the “Boss” has the best and most progressive of intentions, his social justice eruption insurance premium is always going to be on the high side in view of the unforgettable wreck that constitutes his “Pink Cadillac”.

An unabashed paean to European-American sexual exclusivity as well as a puerile celebration of priapic chauvinism, “Pink Cadillac” concerns the leering interest of its self-aggrandizingly amorous protagonist in the “back”, i.e., posterior, of a womban’s “Cadillac”, or objectified, dehumanized, commercialized, and customized “crushed velvet” body – conceptualized in this instance as an empty vehicle-vessel requiring a licensed (i.e., privileged) driver – which is, of course, to say an owner. “But my love is bigger than a Honda, it’s bigger than a Subaru,” he insists, betraying his insecurity while at the same time perpetuating the adolescent cruelty of the miniature Asian male sexual organ stereotype. Springsteen is one of those white men who only feels adequate when he has succeeded in making the other – in this case, the “yellow man” he fantasizes about killing in “Born in the U.S.A.” – feel small and marginalized.

The economic context, one must also remember, found the American worker and music consumer – Springsteen’s primary audience – uncertain about the future of their country’s industrial base in the face of Japanese electronics and automotive competition after nativist propagandists had largely succeeded in riling white Americans into a paranoid frenzy about global trade and the opportunities this presented for economic development in an increasingly interconnected and justice-seeking planetary order. The butt-wiggling braggadocio of the “Boss”, then, must have provided a powerful salve to the chafed egos and bruised sexualities of a generation of self-absorbed and privileged white males in desperate need of perpetual reassurance. Losing at one game, he plays another: reproductive protectionism.

Bruce Springsteen

In 2016? Really?

“Honey, I just wonder what you do there in the back of your Pink Cadillac,” he declares, hovering hairily over the listener, who feels herself almost compelled to detect the beer that is undoubtedly on his breath. He positively belches a pushy, intrusive curiosity about the sexual history of an unnamed female-gendered person, and one is left to glean from the rapist protagonist’s later reference to Eve that Springsteen is addressing a womban. Invading her mental and physical space, he commands her to “come on over here and hug me” in an attempt at projected volition so as to facilitate his intention of sexual assault and simultaneously implicate the victim as an accomplice in his own act of non-consensual violation. His invocation of Eve, too, serves to shame the target of his transgression into complicity by establishing a useful correlative with the temptress of myth.

The song, which Springsteen wrote in its first version under the rapey title “Love Is a Dangerous Thing” in 1981, took on anti-Semitic and white supremacist overtones as it devolved into what would become the honky-tonk clunker “Pink Cadillac”. In an erratic aside, the “Boss” – knowing he has the undivided attention of his impressionable audience – actually interrupts the assault to address his male listeners specifically, wishing to issue a warning to them about an imagined Jewish peril. “Well, they tempt you, man, with silver, and they tempt you, sir, with gold,” he rants, going on to espouse the canard about how the Joooooooz also “tempt you with the pleasures the flesh does surely hold.” Honestly, Mr. Springsteen? In 1984? The “Boss” confirmed for the world the depth and grossness of his anti-Semitism and sexism when he forbade peerless diva Bette Midler to include a cover of “Pink Cadillac” on her 1983 album No Frills.

Springsteen also revealed his frightening adherence to the white supremacist beliefs of the Christian Identity cult when he prefaced a live 1984 performance of “Pink Cadillac” with these contextualizing remarks: “Now, this is a song about the conflict… between worldly things and spiritual health… between desires of the flesh… and spiritual ecstasy… now, where did this conflict begin?… well, it began in the beginning in a place called the Garden of Eden… now, the Garden of Eden was originally believed to have been located in Mesopotamia… but the latest theological studies have found that its actual location was ten miles south of Jersey City, off the New Jersey Turnpike… now, understand, in the Garden of Eden, there were none of the accouterments of modern living… I mean they didn’t have no Laundromats, they didn’t have no like, like little toasters you could put your Pop-Tarts in and then watch Johnny Carson on TV…”

Relocating the Garden of Eden from the geographical Middle East to some presumably pristine white enclave of the American imaginary when it was still free of the tacky consumerist dreck and mass media “brainwashing” peddled by the stereotypical Jewish merchant caricature of anti-Semitic propaganda, Springsteen casts Adam as the progenitor of the Aryans, whom he believes to be the living embodiment of Israel. BDS activists have attacked Springsteen for the singer’s apparent willingness to tour the Zionist state this summer; but these misguided crypto-racist neckbeards miss the point entirely. Springsteen, if the dark history of “Pink Cadillac” is any indication, is venturing to Israel not to entertain the evil Joooooooz, but to conquer and occupy what he, in the fever of his sweaty, race-crazed delusions, regards as the rightful lebensraum of the Aryan Nations of Jersey.

No wonder a 2012 study found that listening to Bruce Springsteen music for seven minutes can turn normal people into racists!

Rokuro “Rocky” Roth-Hideyoshi

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A cute horror romance aimed at silly girls and daters, Warm Bodies imagines a post-apocalyptic America in which the last living people have barricaded themselves behind high walls against the teeming zombie hordes outside.  As in Rhodesia, manpower is precious and young people are expected to contribute to national/species security by serving in paramilitary units that go on foraging missions beyond the walls.  Grigio (John Malkovich), leader of the human resistance, even sends his own daughter Julie (Teresa Palmer) and her boyfriend (Dave Franco) on an assignment to retrieve medicine from an abandoned clinic.  Their group, unfortunately, is attacked, with most of them being eaten by zombies; but, to her surprise, one unusually sympathetic corpse named R (Nicholas Hoult) takes pity on Julie and helps her escape from the horde.  The forbidden attachment formed between Julie and R (which, one assumes, stands for Romeo) sets in motion a Montague-Capulet dynamic, complete with balcony scene, with the pair of pulse-crossed lovers lost in a conflict of attrition between the seemingly irreconcilable biological imperatives of the dwindling living on one side and their eaters, the dead, on the other.

Why people became zombies in the first place is never made clear, though it seems to have had something to do with a collective abdication of the heart.  The dead, who preserve themselves by eating brains, decompose gradually, losing their humanity until, reduced to feral skeletons or “bonies”, they pounce like velociraptors on any heart that beats.  Hunger, whether for flesh or love, is one of the themes of Warm Bodies and finds its expression in a favorite song of Julie’s, Bruce Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart”.  The gaunt appearance of the end stage of zombification suggests that privation, whether literal or emotional, may be a cause of the plague.  R has no memory of his life, but assumes that because he was wearing a hoodie, he may have been unemployed.  The superior standard of living enjoyed by Grigio and the humans suggests that the human-zombie conflict may be one of haves and have-nots, an interpretation reinforced by R’s theft of Julie’s boyfriend’s expensive watch.  An expository montage introduces a possible political element by flashing the headline “President Infected”, indicating that Obama, whatever his role, is somehow a party to the plague – perhaps through his promotion of conventional and class warfare? – or maybe just another all-too-human victim of whatever human frailties are to blame.

As the shufflers in George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead congregated around a shopping mall, pointing to consumer culture as the zombifying agent, the zombies in Warm Bodies gather in and around an airport, possibly invoking 9/11 as the traumatic cultural cataclysm.  One of the corpses, a former airport security guard, continues robotically waving a body screener, unable to extract himself from the War on Terror’s police state mentality.  If George Bush is to blame for the zombie plague, then the antidote, Warm Bodies may be naively hinting, is a detoxification in the form of love and transnational brotherhood to rid the body politic of the selective xenophobia standardized as America’s foreign policy.  Whatever its intentions, Warm Bodies need not be taken too seriously, as it functions just fine as a funny and involving zombie romcom.

4 out of 5 stars.  Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Warm Bodies is:

[WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS]

8. Drug-ambivalent.  Prozac receives a sarcastic reference when the abandoned clinic is found to be stocked with it, perhaps indicating that too much medication has contributed to the allegorical zombification and societal disconnect and collapse.  Julie, however, is fond of liquor.

7. Gun-ambivalent.  Julie frowns on her father’s macho and, to her mind, closed-minded reliance on firepower, but also uses a gun to defend herself from the bonies.

6. Anti-family.  Parricide is in one instance a necessary act of self-defense.  Julie has to defy her father at every turn to save her love and facilitate a peace.

5. Bi-partisan.  The film encourages compromise, characterizing both the militaristic nationalism of Grigio and the soullessness of the bonies as bigoted, extreme, and destructive.  Warm Bodies invites the moderate elements of both sides to recognize the humanity in those across the aisle.  This process is vindicated when a pack of hungry zombies, witnessing Julie and R’s affection, feel stirrings of warmth within themselves and eventually join the humans against the bonies, who, however, are never allowed to redeem themselves and must be exterminated.

4. Antiwar.  Grigio’s shoot-to-kill policy toward the zombies makes peace and reconciliation impossible and almost results in R’s real death.

3. Moderately egalitarian.  Medical treatment provided by living humans – Ozombicare, if you will – helps to rehabilitate and integrate the salvageable elements of the zombie population.  They are then allowed to mix freely with the normal humans.  The bonies, however, represent the degradation and savagery, expressing itself in cannibalism, to which redistribution of wealth in its extremities of implementation is prone.

2. Pro-miscegenation/anti-racist (i.e., pro-yawn).  Apart from the human-zombie romance at the story’s heart, there is the recurring appearance of a zombie black boy and white girl pair who parallel Julie and R’s discovery of interspecies amour.  “Corpse”, Julie explains to her girlfriend Nora (sexy but underutilized Analeigh Tipton) is just a word humans invented to label a state of being they fail to understand.

1. Alien-delugist.  Apart from the automatic association of a border wall with America’s illegal immigration problem, the alien element of the zombie horde is made explicit by the inclusion of one corpse wearing a turban.  The biological regeneration of R and other zombies, Warm Bodies suggests, demonstrates that foreign undesirables can be successfully assimilated and refashioned into productive Americans.  The film ends with the great border barrier crumbling to the ground, presumably under the weight of its crotchety old hatefulness, so as to usher in the rainbow-riding Age of Amexiquarius.

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