Wal-Mart, Springsteen and the Left

The left's disdain for Wal-Mart is not exactly a secret. When it was recently announced that Bruce Springsteen — who will perform on The Mall this weekend for an Obama Inaugural event — would release a greatest-hits CD exclusively at Wal-Mart, many of his fans on the left howled. As I noted in a piece for National Review today, fans accused him of selling out. On a discussion site at backstreets.com, one poster said, "It makes me so upset. This goes against EVERYTHING he is about. How could Bruce do this?!?!!?!?"

Well, he did it by being a capitalist, as the number of T-shirts and tickets sold at each concert demonstrates.

As Springsteen became more politically outspoken, for his fans on the left, the music and the message became one. The messenger was not just singing about a "Land of Hope and Dreams" — he was, they felt, somewhat justifiably, preaching about everything they have hated over the past eight years. (Meanwhile, fans on the right shrugged their shoulders and hoped he'd play "Candy's Room.") For the true believers, it meant that the pedestal he was on became awfully high and that when reality set in, it could be a crushing blow.

Judging from the number of unrealistic Obama T-shirts being sold on every sidewalk in town, including Obama as Superman and the Obama family — children included — dressed as Jedi Knights, there could be a parallel.