Thursday, 01 November 2007

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Joe Posnanski on Why Bruce Matters (to Him in Japan) Regular readers can count on one hand the number of times I've written a link post; that's because I consider such appropriations the equivalent of blasting music from moving cars: you want credit for having taste enough to love what you're listening to. So I try to avoid other people's prose (yeah you know me) and declaring it telling/moving/compelling/&c.—but on the rare occasion I do so, I hope you take my recommendation seriously. In this case, I'm pointing to Joe Posnanski's inspired (not inspiring) account of a bout of crippling back pain in Japan. Posnanski's quickly becoming one of my favorite writers: he reads with an enthusiasm and voraciousness I don't often encounter and writes with unparalleled humanity. Offhand, the only person I can think of who moves me as much or as frequently as Posnanski would be Wally—both communicate the content of particular experience expansively. (Others may move you intellectually, but few writers can make you remember what it was like to feel before you could think. I mean this as the highest of compliments.) Joe and Wally make you remember the joy of uncritical fandom. You feel what they do because they do real good with words. I don't. Especially when I can't draft posts. (Hope you don't mind your Acephalous raw.) That said: I can't recommend Posnanski's most recent post highly enough, even if you're not a fan of Springsteen and know nothing about baseball. More below the fold: I didn’t hear “Born to Run”—the album—until I was in college. And, like countless other kids, I listened to it over and over and over again, even though none of the songs really spoke to me, not literally. I don’t know anything about cars or the backstreets of the big city, and I haven’t really been around too many people like Eddie or the Magic Rat or the barefoot girl sitting on the hood of a Dodge (drinking warm beer in the soft summer rain). I still have absolutely no idea what Tenth Avenue Freeze Out is supposed to be about. I guess Bad Scooter was searching for his groove. But it doesn’t matter, not to me. There was something electric in the music, something I NEEDED to hear at that moment in my life, something I still love to hear, something about wanting to bust out and make a name for yourself and just be heard, man. I was like most of my friends, I had this nameless ambition to do something, be something, but also this overriding suspicion that I was going to live a half life with a dead-end, John Cusack, “I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought or processed, or repair anything …” kind of job. Bruce shouted down that fear. We’re gonna get to the place where we really wanna go and then we’ll walk in the sun. Other Bruce albums and songs through the years have had that sort...

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