Mid-Atlantic Popular &
American Culture Association

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The Boss and the Gov: Who’s the real Jersey guy — Bruce Springsteen or Chris Christie?

Richard Lee (St. Bonaventure University)
Anne Elizabeth Lee (St. Bonaventure University)
Presentation type: 

Although Bruce Springsteen and Chris Christie are worlds apart ideologically, the two men share a common bond. Not only were they born and raised in New Jersey; they rose to national prominence largely because they are from the Garden State. Unlike other public figures who emerged from the state, their public personas are inextricably linked to New Jersey.

In this paper, we will explore the similarities between these two dissimilar men. Despite their differences, Christie is an avid Springsteen fan who has attended over 100 Springsteen concerts. While Christie generally is extremely vocal and direct in his criticisms of those on the other end of the political spectrum, he chooses his words about Springsteen carefully and is respectful in his public comments about the “Boss.” Likewise, Springsteen has refrained from directly criticizing the governor, although Christie’s political agenda clearly is out-of-step with the Boss. For example, in 2011 Springsteen penned a letter to the editor of his local newspaper criticizing the state’s fiscal policies, but never mentioned Christie by name.

To learn more about the relationship between these two men, we will examine the points at which their lives and careers have intersected, including a chance meeting on a flight, Christie’s attempt to have Springsteen play at his inauguration, Christie’s challenge to Springsteen to play a Labor Day concert in Atlantic City and their bonding in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

The presentation will be especially topical since New Jersey’s 2013 gubernatorial election (in which Christie is seeking a second term) takes place on November 5, two days before the start of the MAPACA conference.

About the presenters

Richard Lee

Richard Lee has been a music critic, political reporter and deputy communications director for two NJ governors. He also was a founding member of the Hall Institute of Public Policy - NJ. Rich left NJ in 2011 to teach at his alma mater, St. Bonaventure University, where he is a professor in the Jandoli School of Communication and Executive Director and founder of the Jandoli Institute, a research center focused on media issues.

Anne Elizabeth Lee

Anne Lee, a lecturer in journalism at St. Bonaventure University and assistant director of SBU’s Francis E. Kelley Oxford Program, worked as a journalist for 25 years and taught composition and critical thinking courses at Mercer County Community College and the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. A graduate of St. Bonaventure’s journalism program and of the Pratt Institute School of Information, Anne also worked as an academic librarian and writing tutor and in government communications.

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