The most nausea-inducing moment of Sunday night’s Super Bowl came not during the public spanking of The Chiefs by the Bucs. It was during a tone-deaf, two-minute TV commercial starring New Jersey’s own Bruce Springsteen, in which the mega-wealthy musician and leftist sage revealed that his longtime working-class grift is as phony as his cowboy hat.
In the commercial entitled “The Middle,” Bruce, is seen driving a 1980 Jeep CJ-5 to a chapel in Lebanon, Kansas, which he describes as “standing on the exact center of the lower 48.’’
He rhapsodizes about this geographical oddity — ignoring the fact that Kansas voters handed a substantial state victory to Donald Trump over Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.
“It’s no secret,’’ he continues, undeterred by Kansas’ Republican bona fides, “the middle has been a hard place to get to lately. Between red and blue. Between servant and citizen. Between our freedom and fear. . . .’’
He sifts soil with hands that have never performed manual labor. (Or labor of any kind.)
He sips from a cup.
He lights a candle. There’s a shot of a back-lit American flag. A random horse.
“We can make it to the mountain top, through the desert and we will cross this divide,’’ he says. “Our light has always found its way through the darkness. And there is hope on the road ahead.’’
As the mini-film reaches a visual and musical climax designed to jerk tears from viewers’ eyes, a slogan appears onscreen — “To the ReUnited States of America,’’ which is rich, when one considers just how divided the people of this nation remain.
In the next and last frame — surprise! Here comes the Big Reveal.
The words “Jeep.com/The Road Ahead’’ appear. And in an instant, the viewer realizes that this entire exercise in heart-string-pulling, Middle American condescension, a ride we’ve taken with the expectation of a dollop of wisdom, has been nothing more than an expensive effort to sell motor vehicles to the public.
How could Bruce have done this to us?
Heavy criticism flew from the right, but also from the betrayed left.
“Convincing someone that Springsteen is fraudulent . . . now requires much less work from both him and you,’’ Washington Post pop music critic Chris Richards wrote ahead of Super Sunday.
“Springsteen’s songbook has long stood up for the marginalized and the disenfranchised,’’ Richards continued, “but here, in lieu of writing a new song, he’s sticking up for a car company whose products are hastening the death of our planet — a death that the boomer demo being courted with this two-minute clip won’t have to witness.’’
He didn’t just sell out, he’s a planet killer!
Bruce, 71, has been spreading his man-of-the-people drivel and contempt for the right at least since the Reagan administration. Now, the little people are not amused.
“Pretty easy for a guy who is worth 500 million to say what he did . . .’’ reads one online comment.
Jeep is also less of an American brand than is commonly believed.
Currently, it is owned by Stellantis, a Franco-Italian-American multinational automotive manufacturing corporation with headquarters in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. At a time when so many of his fellow citizens are out of work due to the pandemic, one would hope Bruce would root for all-American vehicles.
If there’s a silver lining here, this commercial may finally convince Americans to ignore the fraud that is Bruce Springsteen.
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