Springsteen and Us
The subheading to Joan Walsh’s article declares “ecstasy and community return on Bruce Springsteen’s 2023 tour” [“Our Lost Years,” March 6/13]. If that’s the case, it must be a community of the wealthy and privileged. I once had the pleasure of meeting Bruce Springsteen at a campaign stop in Columbus for John Kerry, but I cannot afford seats for his current tour. In Tampa, tickets went for $199 for the “cheap seats,” other tickets selling for $299 and soaring with “dynamic pricing” to as much as $5,000. Part of the problem is Ticketmaster’s monopoly. But performers like The Cure have found ways to respect their fans and keep ticket prices more affordable. Springsteen could certainly afford to do the same.
Mary Jo Kilroy
Springsteen is indeed a great artist and rightfully admired for his poetic observations that are both personal and universal; he always intertwined politics and current events with the individual struggle for success and love. When the NYPD threatened to pull security from a concert at Madison Square Garden in protest of his song chronicling—with eerie drum beats—the 41 bullets that felled an innocent man by police hands, he remained steadfast. Now in his later years, Springsteen’s reflections have turned to his more personal losses of friends and family. That is only natural for all of us. My days of marching are long over, too. However, I have neither Springsteen’s artistry nor his platform. To abandon a wider concern for community, particularly in the face of an attempted coup in Washington and the current openly racist, anti-Semitic, and authoritarian rhetoric that is ubiquitous, deserves to be questioned, if not lamented. Does Springsteen not have the right to cloak himself in the comfort he has earned? Perhaps I am being too hard on an idol by expecting a lifelong commitment to the larger “us,” but it seems to me that the shiny armor we have placed him in is now just a bit tarnished.
Lessons From Debs
It is a pity that Bernie Sanders does not discuss his hero Eugene Debs’s stand against US involvement in World War I beyond a brief mention in his new book with John Nichols [“Anti-Union Capitalism Is Wrecking America,” March 6/13]. Debs was confronted with a very similar situation to the one progressives now face with Ukraine when an autocratic state, the kaiser’s Germany, attacked Belgium and France. But Debs argued that it is the ruling class that declares (and profits from) all the wars, while it is the working class that fights them, and that it is foolish for the latter to “fall upon each other and to cut one another’s throats for the profit and glory” of these ruling classes, whether they be that of an autocracy or a democracy. And yet isn’t that just what we all—Russians, Ukrainians, Europeans, and Americans (including you, Senator Sanders, the champion of the working class)—are doing? Debs has a lot to teach us in this area, too.