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what the hell ?lyrics of born in the usa


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Lots of questionable takes in this whole discourse that honestly turn more of an eye than the original lyric at-hand.

I always took the line to be Bruce recounting how the propagandized military referred to the Vietnamese, not how Bruce's character thought of them. I think it should read with quotation marks around that line, as if he is parroting what his commanding officer is telling him to do. This shows the powerful ignorance of that line, then.

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On 10/3/2021 at 4:31 PM, DaveNJ95 said:

  And Bono's original line in Do They know it's Christmas was changed in more recent performances.

Really?  It shouldn't be.  It was the most powerful line in the song, and Bono's delivery of it, a bitter, accusing tone, was perfect.

It's what made people empty their wallets.  We felt guilty.  Because it was the truth - everybody was thankful it wasn't happening to them, and that line struck home. 

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21 minutes ago, Rizla said:

Really?  It shouldn't be.  It was the most powerful line in the song, and Bono's delivery of it, a bitter, accusing tone, was perfect.

It's what made people empty their wallets.  We felt guilty.  Because it was the truth - everybody was thankful it wasn't happening to them, and that line struck home. 

I don't like that line cos I don't think I'd ever want anyone to suffer like that. However ... how often do we thank goodness that we live here, not elsewhere? That's what should be remembered and, as Rizla says, one of the reasons we paid up. 

That line did the job.

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40 minutes ago, Eileen said:

I don't like that line cos I don't think I'd ever want anyone to suffer like that. However ... how often do we thank goodness that we live here, not elsewhere? That's what should be remembered and, as Rizla says, one of the reasons we paid up. 

That line did the job.

Thanks, Eileen.  That's just it, we didn't like that line because while we didn't actively want others to suffer, we couldn't help being grateful that it wasn't us.  It made us uncomfortable about feeling that way.
When people who weren't even born at the time are "offended" by that line, I find that offensive.

It really comes back to what I said earlier about people being superficial and not paying attention to the deeper meaning.  That line isn't an instruction.  It's an invitation to examine our own thoughts and conscience.

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  • 1 month later...

There is this paper, Another Side of “Born in the U.S.A.”: Form, Paradox, and Rhetorical Indirection. Very academical stuff, but as with a lot of Springsteen things, you need to narrow it down to the essence.

"Another example of a paradox in Springsteen’s work is the tension between the local and the national—or perhaps even the global—especially in relation to political subjectivity. Lawrence Grossberg made the following observations about Springsteen during the Born in the U.S.A. period: Springsteen empowers his fans, energizes them, within their affective commonality by invoking personal and local images . . . But even as he recognizes that one must do more (recreated in his political raps during the concert and in his support for local groups and struggles), even as he appeals to national imagery, his commitment to the local and the image prevents him from engaging in larger issues. America, such a powerful image in his current success, is always invoked as one's “hometown,” and Springsteen deals with national history by reducing it to the level of individual lives (Grossberg, “Rockin’ with Reagan,” 134.)

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But what is mostly missing in those academic papers is the voice of Springsteen himself. This Molly Meldrum interview from 1996 pretty sums up where the electric BIUSA is all about:

Q- As an outsider, not an American, it has always fascinated me to see Black Americans, Korean Americans, Hispanic Americans or whatever of how proud they are to be American when they hear the national anthem or the flag, more so than a lot of other countries have. Its like “America-one for all…”

A- Actually, , Australians do pretty well at that as well…

Q- Its fascinating how it all comes together and “Born In the USA” seemed to have that pride ….

A – Yes it did have that in it but maybe that is why some people misinterpreted some of it. But along with that there was that character’s pride and determination to be noticed and to claim a part of that for himself. Those issues are tricky…they are dynamite and they are constantly being abused by jingoistic flag waving and nationalism which is very , very distructive. There are so many grey areas in that whole subject where you can stumble and that was running through the country at the time and I was putting in my two cents worth to claim that feeling for myself because that’s how I felt and also because I had created a body of work based on characters who had been left out. In “Born In the USA”, the character is a Vietnam veteran who comes home and is so disillusioned and rightly so because the system has failed him. It’s the same in Australia because I met quite a few of the Vietnam Vets down there in ’85. So he comes home and he feels betrayed so he is now searching for some piece of America that he can lay claim to. He just wants to find one small spot of honest ground to restart his life on. That song is basically about survival and that guy now has to create some sort of country for himself now.

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"I always took the line to be Bruce recounting how the propagandized military referred to the Vietnamese"

--------

Bruce's possible references aside...

Some soldiers may have used "yellow man" (but they commonly used VC, 'C'harlie, and gook). The "propagandized" military was concerned about red men (communists) not yellow men. Our allies minus the ANZACs (that is RVN, ROK, ROC [covertly], Filip, & Thai) were "yellow men". Killing the yellow (brown?) man was more likely how the anti-war left (Bruce?), pro-VC left, and black power movement[*] portrayed the war - not the "propagandized" military. The Yellow Peril was a late 19th and early 20th century military and media concern.

 

[*] also "rice farmers", "rice-growers"

 

 

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On 11/14/2021 at 5:21 PM, el sergio said:

and Springsteen deals with national history by reducing it to the level of individual lives (Grossberg)

Mr Springsteen's art deals with the ugly side of the national and international history of the USA by creating individuals, that in one way or other REPRESENTS aspects of this dark side. Mr Grossberg on the other side, so it seems to me, REDUCES Mr Springsteen's art by REDUCING it to the level of (only) individual lives.

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On 10/3/2021 at 1:01 PM, Nicholas said:

Lots of questionable takes in this whole discourse that honestly turn more of an eye than the original lyric at-hand.

I always took the line to be Bruce recounting how the propagandized military referred to the Vietnamese, not how Bruce's character thought of them. I think it should read with quotation marks around that line, as if he is parroting what his commanding officer is telling him to do. This shows the powerful ignorance of that line, then.

You are giving too much credit for empathy and open mindedness to the protagonist, who is, inescapably, an uneducated loser.  

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On 9/18/2021 at 4:20 PM, catfish said:

Teacher :

''Morning class your first lesson today is history nope sorry I do apologise class its '' changing & destroying 

history '' now have you all brought your matches that  I asked you to bring ? that good.

right then this morning it will be books that we burn and we will dance around the fire then this afternoon its evil L.P's to melt  and written lyric music books to 

tear up and tomorrow we talk about the devil folk who wrote the evil stuff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

The likelihood that you know more about post 60’s American history than I do is zero    

 

 

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The "cool rockin' daddy/long gone daddy" lines always intrigued me. At first i thought that these were throwaway lines. Next, I thought them to be clumsy juxtaposition, in sort of "one minute you'r right there, then something slips" sentiment. Then, my brother suggested the protgonist hanged himself and I can't think about the song in any other way anymore.

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4 hours ago, sloone1 said:

The "cool rockin' daddy/long gone daddy" lines always intrigued me. At first i thought that these were throwaway lines. Next, I thought them to be clumsy juxtaposition, in sort of "one minute you'r right there, then something slips" sentiment. Then, my brother suggested the protgonist hanged himself and I can't think about the song in any other way anymore.

Geoffrey Hines in his small but excellent booklet "Bruce Springsteen's Born In the USA" described that "cool rockin' daddy/long gone daddy" line perfectly:

"If this character is going to stop running, is he going to surrender or is he going to turn and fight? If you're "born down in a dead man's town" is being born in the USA a blessing or a curse? Springsteen answered these questions by borrowing from Hank Williams 1948 hit "I'm a Long Gone Daddy". Williams song as a swaggering kiss-off to a woman who thought she had the singer under her thumb; before she knows it, Williams sang he'll be "long gone" out the door. Springsteen drops the leaving but retains the swagger, using "gone" in the beat-poet sense of being "cool" or "far out". "I'm a long gone daddy in the USA." his protagonist sings, as if confident that all the hypocrytical judges, hard-assed sergeants and head-shaking personnel officers in the world can't break his spirit"

gettyimages-1196387442-612x612.jpg.7bac109e4bb4ae309276c46e456a84a5.jpg

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If you were born in the seventies - or earlier - you would know how people spoke. I mean, have a look at any 80s action film. That was the reality, and that was what was considered acceptable/standard language for the general public. I don’t mean it was right, better or polite. It was simply the world pre-internet or pre-globalisation, when your audience was largely composed by people who looked and spoke like you. Imposing (retroactive) PC towards people you’re/‘ve fighting/fought against is something that would probably have sounded like satire in any other epoch of world’s history (again, no value judgement given). Today we’re so pampered and removed from any real major conflict that any word that doesn’t tick all the PC boxes (twice) is considered anathema. I mean, we’re so far gone that somebody might have problems with the y. man word, but we’re still ok with the orange agent, the atom bombs, or the fact that on Korea were dropped twice as many bombs as in the whole WWII (again no judgement given).

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15 hours ago, el sergio said:

Geoffrey Hines in his small but excellent booklet "Bruce Springsteen's Born In the USA" described that "cool rockin' daddy/long gone daddy" line perfectly:

"If this character is going to stop running, is he going to surrender or is he going to turn and fight? If you're "born down in a dead man's town" is being born in the USA a blessing or a curse? Springsteen answered these questions by borrowing from Hank Williams 1948 hit "I'm a Long Gone Daddy". Williams song as a swaggering kiss-off to a woman who thought she had the singer under her thumb; before she knows it, Williams sang he'll be "long gone" out the door. Springsteen drops the leaving but retains the swagger, using "gone" in the beat-poet sense of being "cool" or "far out". "I'm a long gone daddy in the USA." his protagonist sings, as if confident that all the hypocrytical judges, hard-assed sergeants and head-shaking personnel officers in the world can't break his spirit"

gettyimages-1196387442-612x612.jpg.7bac109e4bb4ae309276c46e456a84a5.jpg

I think the story is much more bitter, than Hines wishes it to be. Hines is of course unsure himself. He writes: "I'm a long gone daddy in the USA." his protagonist sings, as if confident that all the hypocritical judges, hard-assed sergeants and head-shaking personnel officers in the world can't break his spirit". The protagonist does not, as Hines seems to imply, put forward questions and answer them by citing Hank Williams. He is just telling the story of his life. It is a grim story. He fought a war that was not his, lost his friends and can find no job. The hypocritical judges, hard-assed sergeants and head-shaking personnel officers has all turned their backs on him. Yes, a long time has gone since he was someone that someone else listened to. He is a long gone daddy. He is on his own. He has no-one. There now is no Sandy or Mary or some mister to whom he can tell his story. He has nothing but this story of loss. And he can only tell it to none and all. So he talks real loud. Perhaps, perhaps someone out there will hear and say: are you talking to me?

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  • 1 month later...

"Presidential candidates have misappropriated the song ever since, most recently in 2016 when then-candidate Donald Trump added “Born in the USA” to his pre-rally playlist. It’s no surprise that Trump would reinvent the song’s meaning to suit his own purposes; he does that with almost everything. But it reinforced the false narrative about the song’s message for a whole new generation of Americans, ones quick to latch on to simple sound bites without looking for the deeper meaning. In an ironic twist, crowds at later rallies actually booed the song, at least in part because of Springsteen’s support for Trump’s rival Hillary Clinton.

One would like to think they actually booed it because they disagreed with the song’s scathing assessment of America, which still holds true for far too many today. That’s giving them too much credit, though; they probably never listened to more than the chorus.

All of this may seem like a tempest in a teapot to many of you, but it’s not. Even our music, film, and books — maybe especially our music, film, and books — are part of our history; twisting the true meaning of any of them distorts that history. The very fact that so many today consider songs like “Born in the USA,” “This Land is Your Land,” and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son” to be “patriotic” songs shows how far we have to go in battling for historical truth, even in our favorite songs."

Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” is Still Completely Misunderstood Today | Beat

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4 hours ago, el sergio said:

"Presidential candidates have misappropriated the song ever since, most recently in 2016 when then-candidate Donald Trump added “Born in the USA” to his pre-rally playlist. It’s no surprise that Trump would reinvent the song’s meaning to suit his own purposes; he does that with almost everything. But it reinforced the false narrative about the song’s message for a whole new generation of Americans, ones quick to latch on to simple sound bites without looking for the deeper meaning. In an ironic twist, crowds at later rallies actually booed the song, at least in part because of Springsteen’s support for Trump’s rival Hillary Clinton.

One would like to think they actually booed it because they disagreed with the song’s scathing assessment of America, which still holds true for far too many today. That’s giving them too much credit, though; they probably never listened to more than the chorus.

All of this may seem like a tempest in a teapot to many of you, but it’s not. Even our music, film, and books — maybe especially our music, film, and books — are part of our history; twisting the true meaning of any of them distorts that history. The very fact that so many today consider songs like “Born in the USA,” “This Land is Your Land,” and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son” to be “patriotic” songs shows how far we have to go in battling for historical truth, even in our favorite songs."

Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” is Still Completely Misunderstood Today | Beat

I could not agree more. But - do we not have to acknowledge, that Born in the USA has two faces? And that one of these can be used by the ones, who has such an inclination, to reinforce their nationalistic views? So, I would say, "battling for historical truth" must in this case also mean to explain these two faces, not just to correct one false meaning with a true one, which, since the song has two faces, also is false.

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2 hours ago, ulfhpersson said:

I could not agree more. But - do we not have to acknowledge, that Born in the USA has two faces? And that one of these can be used by the ones, who has such an inclination, to reinforce their nationalistic views? So, I would say, "battling for historical truth" must in this case also mean to explain these two faces, not just to correct one false meaning with a true one, which, since the song has two faces, also is false.

What exactly do you mean that the BIUSA song has 2 faces?

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41 minutes ago, el sergio said:

What exactly do you mean that the BIUSA song has 2 faces?

well, "exactly" is not my strong side, more less so, when it comes to art. but i have tried to gravitate around the subject in my writings of October 22, September 22 and ditto 28.

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i am just old enough to remember the end of the Vietnam war on tv

i remember the protests and more importantly just how long it took the veterns in this country to get any sort of recognition let alone support even from the RSA  (returned servicemen's association) and our guys were all volunteers

as a very young teen and lover of music videos i had no doubt in my mind what that song was about and as a budding rightie very anti communist pro-Reagan young'in i sometimes found the anti American sentiment a bit grating but also understandable from the verterns perspective - and i only read born on the 4th of July in the last 20 years !

still when i hear it in concert i want to have Jimmy by my side

 

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On 12/23/2021 at 5:06 AM, Daisey Jeep said:

i am just old enough to remember the end of the Vietnam war on tv

i remember the protests and more importantly just how long it took the veterns in this country to get any sort of recognition let alone support even from the RSA  (returned servicemen's association) and our guys were all volunteers

as a very young teen and lover of music videos i had no doubt in my mind what that song was about and as a budding rightie very anti communist pro-Reagan young'in i sometimes found the anti American sentiment a bit grating but also understandable from the verterns perspective - and i only read born on the 4th of July in the last 20 years !

still when i hear it in concert i want to have Jimmy by my side

 

i do not really understand what you mean here: do you want the song to mean something else, than what the song means? - i too remember the war. the  pictures sent on tv back then, well it was the only real school i ever attended too. and as always, I have little understanding for the ones, who feels more pity for the veterans coming back from the vietnam war, than for the people of vietnam, who was suffering the former's agression. as for the maltreatment of the, - not heroes, but the US own victims of the war, it is interesting to hear Orson Welles talking about the misery of the real heroes of WW2, who also was mistreated by the US government, especially if they were of the working class.

anyway, as usual, i appreciate your very personal and straightforward way writings. i wish, i had some of those qualities.

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5 minutes ago, ulfhpersson said:

i do not really understand what you mean here: do you want the song to mean something else, than what the song means? - i too remember the war. the  pictures sent on tv back then, well it was the only real school i ever attended too. and as always, I have little understanding for the ones, who feels more pity for the veterans coming back from the vietnam war, than for the people of vietnam, who was suffering the former's agression. as for the maltreatment of the, - not heroes, but the US own victims of the war, it is interesting to hear Orson Welles talking about the misery of the real heroes of WW2, who also was mistreated by the US government, especially if they were of the working class.

anyway, as usual, i appreciate your very personal and straightforward way writings. i wish, i had some of those qualities.

i answer this after ive finished wreslting with the turkey

i feel like a lie down already and the thing is still in the fridge (please be defrosted turkey)

merry chrismtas ulfhpersson

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16 minutes ago, Daisey Jeep said:

i answer this after ive finished wreslting with the turkey

i feel like a lie down already and the thing is still in the fridge (please be defrosted turkey)

merry chrismtas ulfhpersson

and a very, merry Christmas to you, Daisey Jeep!

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From a recent free speech case arising from a Texas HS, currently on appeal in the Fifth Circuit.

On September 20, 2017, Arnold (the teacher) played the Bruce Springsteen song "Born in the U.S.A.," and told the class to write down how the song made them feel. (Docket Entry No. 126 at 52). He then gave the students a timed assignment to transcribe the Pledge of Allegiance, stating that, because the assignment was written, the students were not actually pledging allegiance to the United States. (Id. ). Oliver (the student) refused, drawing a "squiggly line" instead. (Docket Entry No. 119-2, Oliver Dep. at 218:4–12).

Arnold stated in his declaration that he had given the assignment for years, explaining that its purpose was "not to compel orthodoxy," but rather to illustrate "that people sometimes recite things every day out of habit and without thinking about what they are actually saying." (Docket Entry No. 126 at 6). Arnold emphasized that most students cannot write the words to the pledge even though they recite it daily. (Id. ). Arnold stated that he pairs the pledge-writing assignment with Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A." because "many students feel like the song is patriotic, but when directed to pay attention to the words of the song, they feel that the song's lyrics do not reflect a patriotic intent.”

https://casetext.com/case/oliver-v-klein-indep-sch-dist

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