“The difference between what can be proved and what cannot be proved is what humanity calls ‘art.'”
So claims Jeff MacGregor in a fascinating series of notes on Derek Jeter, baseball, the beautiful, the sublime, and American nostalgia against lies, damned lies and statistics.
I suspect, however, that the entire article actually serves as a pretense for getting these paragraphs into print:
Maybe the most interesting thing you can say about American art and culture over the past 30 years is that at the same moment in our history, Ronald Reagan and Bruce Springsteen were both pining for some lost America. Both mourned for lost youth and lost greatness, but from opposite ends of the same table, from opposing points along the same timeline of our desires.
The relationship of Springsteen’s art to Reagan’s politics has always been that of the prodigal and the father, the distance between them filled with equal measures unsung love and lyrical revulsion. That our culture delivered Reagan and Springsteen up to us in the same moment speaks volumes about our appetite for an imagined past, and about the forces at work in America, the forces at work in opposition and in harness and in response to our pervasive sense of something profoundly lost.