- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Like a rock

“[Bruce] Springsteen may have been the Boss, but [Bob] Seger … was the shop steward. … [H]is best song, ‘Like a Rock,’ was a hymn to reliability that later became a classic reminder to Buy American. Around my parents’ house, these are what are known as the Core Values. …

“He knew he was running against the wind, a funky old soul from Main Street who felt like a number in this modern world. … His world was a diminishing blue-collar paradise utterly without irony, which is why you never hear Bob Seger mentioned as an influence by anyone who’s even marginally cool. …

“[T]he America of ‘Fire Lake’ and most of Seger’s songs no longer exists. … That America is gone, but so’s the place where a guy with a bushy beard could fill a stadium or get on rock radio singing artful lyrics about how much better things used to be. Bob Seger makes you nostalgic for nostalgia.”

Andrew Beaujon, writing on “Don’t try to take him to a disco,” Tuesday in Salon at www.salon.com

Baboon brides

“The drama and frenzy that the contemporary white wedding tends to inspire in its principals has lately become a topic of scholarly as well as popular attention. ‘Cinderella Dreams,’ by the University of Illinois professors Cele C. Otnes and Elizabeth H. Pleck, examines ‘the relationship of ritual to consumer culture.’ …

“The best chapter — a model of engaging social history — concerns the evolution of the honeymoon from a period of seclusion devoted to sexual initiation to one devoted to unwinding from the stress of wedding planning. … It is this theme, of the unmooring of wedding customs and traditions from their original purposes, that propels the book most powerfully.

“Whereas a wedding once provided young people with a moment of transformation so powerful that even a modestly funded event was a momentous one, nowadays — with marriage an iffy bet and with most betrothed couples having already helped themselves to all the liberties of adulthood — the only way to underline the moment is to put on an elaborate and costly show.

“Further, there were once measures of propriety that held wedding spending in check: no large weddings for second-timers, or older brides, or couples of differing religions, or the visibly pregnant, or cohabitating partners, or couples who would have to assume large debts to throw a lavish reception, or women whose sexual history was extensive and well-known.

“But these strictures have all eroded. With clergymen and parents no longer the guardians of wedding rituals, that role has passed to retailers and party planners, who would happily marry a pair of baboons if someone was willing to foot the bill.”

Caitlin Flanagan, writing on “Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off,” in the November issue of the Atlantic Monthly

Thanks for nothing

“Thanksgiving? What’s that? It’s become one of the most ignored traditional American holidays. Thanksgiving commemorates the colonists giving thanks to God for their survival in the new world.

“Unfortunately, that part of the holiday is gone. It’s become turkey day and football. The only stores really using the theme in advertising are supermarkets — get your turkey and trimmings. …

“When was the last time you saw pictures of Pilgrims? Or anything about their giving thanks — meaning, to God. Don’t hold your breath. God isn’t allowed.”

Barbara Simpson, writing on “Christmas is just about gone,” Tuesday in WorldNetDaily at www.worldnetdaily.com

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