My new Think Again column is called “Considering CNN’s Choice to Hire Piers Morgan.”
My new Nation column is “All the (Political) World's a Stage.”
I was not in Ohio this week, but I do live in the greatest city in the world where we don’t even worry about people voting for Mitt Romney—thank you very much—and in my city, you can leave a class on the theology and philosophy of Abraham Joshua Heschel, taught by my friend Rabbi Shai Held, a founder of Mechon Hadar, watch some debating in a bar, then drop by the Hammerstein Ballroom, where, in celebration of the musical career of Steve Van Zandt receiving the "Big Man of the Year" Award from littlekidsrock.org, you can see Darlene Love, singing "Among the Believers,” Tom Morello, doing an incredible “Sun City,” Elvis Costello's singing "This Time Baby's Gone For Good," Gary U.S. Bonds, “Standing in the Line of Fire,” Southside Johnny singing “She's Got Me Where She Wants Me,” Dion and Ruben Blades doing “Bitter Fruit,” and, oh yeah, Bruce and Steve doing “Until the Good is Gone,” Bruce, Steve and Southside doing an incredibly moving (if you’re me, anyway,) “It's Been a Long Time” and everybody together doing “I Don’t Want to Go Home.” Can you even imagine?
Bruce gave a nice speech about Steve, and they each accused each other of peeing on the toilet seat. But Bruce also said: “"Steve is the part of my brain that always wants it louder, harder more raucous, more, more please, a little more than that. Steve is my first audience when I write or I create something. I'm always thinking, 'What's Steve gonna think?' I may not always take his advice, but I'm always wondering what his opinion is. And whether Steve was alongside of me in the band or whether he wasn't, that part of our friendship always endured.'"
Steve laid out his hopes/plan for the survival of the music that helps the rest of us survive:
"If the old infrastructure is gone, we build a new one. If we, the few of us left, that grew up surrounded by greatness, don't build a new infrastructure, then those who have no standards will."
Steven's point-by-point plan includes establishing a radio format that supports new music and plays "the greatest music ever made" to set higher standards ("we got that done"); reestablishing a performance circuit for live performance of rock and roll (efforts underway "in spite of the occasional non-believer pulling the plug now and then"); providing a curriculum for music education via the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation; and providing musical instruments for the next generation via Little Kids Rock (saving them from becoming "computer nerds and investment bankers"). Steven thanked everyone for supporting Little Kids Rock founder David Wish's "crazy dream" and "endorsing his most sacred belief… that every kid on earth who wants one should have a guitar.”