This statement by Bruce Springsteen, explaining why he cancelled a gig in North Carolina, shook me to the core.
There I was, thinking that nothing in life could possibly be more important than watching several superannuated, tattooed, booze-sodden, drug-addled morons performing an anti-musical pagan rite that goes by the misnomer of music.
What could be more important than thousands of culturally challenged infants of all ages responding to the shamanistic ritual with the coordinated enthusiasm of a Nuremberg rally and the erotic passion of an orgy?
It has to be something of cosmic significance to be more important than incoherent shrieks of the audience to muffle the incoherent, electronically enhanced shrieks of the morons on stage, accompanied by a jungle drum beat and the same three chords repeated ad nauseam.
Music as an extension of pharmacology, a psychedelic symbiosis between an audience yearning to abandon whatever little humanity it had in the first place and cynical operators who know how to scream anti-capitalist invective all the way to the capitalist bank – what could possibly be more important than that?
Turns out some things are. Such as Bruce Springsteen’s flaming social conscience, born in the USA. (That’s one of his greatest hits, in case you don’t know, which I sincerely hope you don’t.)
And Bruce’s conscience says that North Carolina has forfeited the privilege of being regaled with such delectations as Born in the USA, Murder Incorporated and My Hometown.
This backward state has passed a law that, according to Springsteen, “is an attempt by people who cannot stand the progress our country has made in recognising the human rights of all our citizens to overturn that progress.”
Excuse me? I realise that eloquence beyond the fluent use of four-letter words isn’t a job requirement in Mr Springsteen’s profession, but still. It took me a while to realise that he doesn’t actually wish to strike a blow for the rights of all citizens to overturn the progress the country has made in attempting to recognise the progress of the people who cannot stand progress.
No, old Bruce is actually registering a protest against a law passed by people who cannot stand progress. The law doesn’t call for the slaughter of every firstborn boy, although I for one would give such a bill serious consideration if it could prevent the propagation of Bruce Springsteens.
No, the law that riled Mr Springsteen so is one his official statement describes as “the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, [which] dictates which bathrooms transgender people are permitted to use.”
‘Bathrooms’, in Americans usage, include public lavatories, changing rooms and dressing rooms. And the offensive North Carolina law simply states that transsexuals must use such facilities according to the sex specified in their birth certificates, rather than the one they have chosen for themselves.
Mr Springsteen, born as he is in the USA, is entitled to play or not to play wherever he wishes. What he’s not entitled to – or wouldn’t be in a sane world – is having an understanding audience for his ignorant and idiotic views.
Here’s a touch of sanity, to establish the proper framework for assessing Mr Springsteen’s protest.
First, a man who wants to refashion himself as a woman has, in the technical medical parlance, a screw loose.
Second, scientists have demonstrated beyond any shadow of doubt that a man cannot become a woman. He can only become a man shot full of oestrogen and with his bits cut off. His chromosomes remain XY, which makes him male in any other than a psychiatric sense.
Third, jurisprudence scholars raise serious doubts about the legal legitimacy of such a conversion. A man may fancy himself as a woman, a dog or a tree, but for all legal purposes he must still be regarded as a man.
Conversely, a woman, which is a Homo Sapiens born with XX chromosomes, may shoot herself full of testosterones and attach a dildo to her nether regions, but she’ll become a man no more than she can become, say, a pony (which some women no doubt fancy themselves to be).
In that context, protesting against the law that says men mustn’t be forced to share urinals with women, and crazy women at that, doesn’t strike me as one that ‘overturns progress’. What it does overturn is collective insanity that these days goes by the name of progress.
As part of this insanity, show business or pop celebrities are routinely accepted as authorities in areas outside their immediate expertise, such as it is. For example, as part of a day of special live programming, the BBC has invited the actress Angelina Jolie to act as keynote speaker on the global refugee crisis.
“Above all,” says Miss Jolie, “we need to address the conflict and insecurity that are the root causes of the mass movement of refugees.” Yes, but only in our virtual world is it possible to believe that a movie star, best known for her pouting lips, is ideally suited to ‘address’ such issues.
Perhaps Miss Jolie should get together with Mr Springsteen and see whose inanities are more inane. Who knows, a romance may blossom and they’ll concentrate on each other so much that they’ll spare us their profundities.