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How Music Can Shape your Worldview

Monday, July 21, 2008 - 10:42 AM

Sarfraz Manzoor’s book, “Greetings From Bury Park,” would seem to be pretty specific at first glance: the surprising story of how a young Pakistani immigrant to Britain deals with his strict Muslim father and the very different society around him – through the intermediary of Bruce Springsteen’s music.

The thing is, his story is specific only in its details; if you look at what he’s writing about more generally, it really is a very common thing. As teenagers, we are still forming our view of the world, and music can be a powerful force in shaping that developing outlook. My Queens neighborhood in the 1970s was quite homophobic, but I was a huge fan of David Bowie, and his sexually ambiguous persona meant that whatever childhood fears I’d keep (heights, Red Sox fans, milk chocolate), homophobia was not gonna be one of them.

What musician or band helped shape your view of the world?


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Comments [3]

Richard Mitnick

As a kid growing up 40 minutes from the real Asbury Park in the late 1950's and 60's, Highway 9 was as a metaphor for us the same way that Graceland was for Paul Simon ("goin' to Graceland") and U-2 (in the movie "Rattle & Hum").

Along with Antheil, Varese, Arvo Part, Mark O'Connor, and Sir John Tavener, I have everything Bruce on three hard drives and my .mp3 player.


Jul. 21 2008 03:42 PM

I'm on my way out to Highway 9. No joke, it's about 10 minutes from my house. The only thing that's going to spring from any cages is toothpaste, yogurt, breakfast cereal, and milk.

Sounds better in the song, doesn't it???

Jul. 21 2008 02:15 PM

My life changed as well as a 16-year-old (albeit Presbyterian and living in Oklahoma) when I came east for a summer and saw Bruce at the then-Brendan Byrne Arena in New Jersey. I went back home to Oklahoma with something -- Bruce's music -- that defined me with confidence in a way that I hadn't been before.

My loyalty to Bruce has continued all this time and his music saw me through some tough times, whether it was my first apartment off 10th Avenue in Hell's Kitchen, following 9/11, or coming out of the closet as a gay man.

My partner and I will be seeing him later this month at Giants Stadium -- and I can't wait.

Jul. 21 2008 02:06 PM

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