Discourse in America is imperiled by the Bruce Springsteen Effect: the lyrics are injected with a blue-collar sensibility, but the main act will cater to a multi-million-dollar lifestyle at day's end. In rock music as in the U.S. economic outlook, there's a separation between letter and spirit. It's to this paradoxical tune that the metonym "Main Street" has been employed of late, with politicians and economic authorities glomming onto the phrase in seeming solidarity with the common man.

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