David Brooks Explains Why People Are Obsessed With Bruce Springsteen

David Brooks

Photo: top-people.starmedia.com

In his latest column for the New York Times, David Brooks wrote about how portraying a distinct identity gives us power — and instead of being limiting, it opens doors.This concept hit him over the head after attending a Bruce Springsteen concert in Spain, where he saw “56,000 enraptured Spaniards, pumping their fists in the air in fervent unison and bellowing at the top of their lungs, ‘I was born in the U.S.A.! I was born in the U.S.A.!'”

Brooks says that people are obsessed with the way Springsteen identifies with a working class, Jersey background, just as others are attracted to artists and politicians who craft very specific identities:

“The whole experience makes me want to pull aside politicians and business leaders and maybe everyone else and offer some pious advice: Don’t try to be everyman. Don’t pretend you’re a member of every community you visit. Don’t try to be citizens of some artificial globalized community. Go deeper into your own tradition. Call more upon the geography of your own past. Be distinct and credible. People will come.”

The more successful people become, the more they’ll feel pressure to please the masses. But Brooks points out that as Springsteen gained more fame, he dug deeper into his roots. By doing so he risked alienating some fans, but gaining more loyalty from others.

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