10 March 2009

Working Class Hero

Last spring, when Hillary was still actively running for President, the Times ran an article headlined With Right Props and Stops, Clinton Transforms Into Working-Class Hero.

What is a working class hero, anyway? If the definition of a hero is one who is "distinguished by exceptional courage and nobility and strength", is not a working class hero a blue collar person evidencing those traits?

working class heroOn my commuter line, some of the older train cars have names. They’re named after historical figures, like Eleanor Roosevelt and Commodore Vanderbilt, or named for places like Peekskill and Putnam. They’re named for cultural figures like John Cheever and Thelonius Monk. And one of them is called “Working Class Hero”.

Each time I see it, I think of the Lennon song - more specifically, the Marianne Faithfull cover of the Lennon song, but that's just because it's the version I know best.

And I wonder - do the powers that be who name the trains realize that Lennon's lyrics are tacitly fomenting revolution?  Or did they just think that they were saluting the engineers and conductors and repairmen by calling the car the Working Class Hero?

11 comments:

kathy a. said...

working class hero is an excellent name for a train!

it could be interpreted generally as a little salute to the folks who keep the trains running. but those folks -- some might be on the naming committee -- might also believe that fighting the good fight is worth it.

de said...

I dunno... someplace other than NYC, I could tell myself they didn't know, but...?

It's a pretty forceful song, too antiestablishment, in my opinion, to be a deliberate choice as a nod to Lennon.

Good question. How can we find out?

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

I think it sounds very Soviet. I think I saw a statue with that name in Russia.

bernthis said...

working class hero- to me represents all of us who are out there everyday trying to feed and house our children on less and less

YourFireAnt said...

There's a lot of subtlety floating around in the world. All for US, apparently.

;-)


FA

ilinap said...

I love that the trains have names. I've always been a fan of personification. Now I have The City of New Orleans running through my head. Great train song.

Cold Spaghetti said...

I am absolutely fascinated that the commuter trains have names. What happens if one breaks down and/or is upgraded? Does the name remain with the new train or does it retire?

Good potential, anyway, for someone wittier than me. "Darn it, Joe, Working Class Hero just jumped the tracks."

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I really like what Bernthis said.

Mad said...

I can't imagine feeling happy go lucky whilst riding the working class hero. I'd feel more downtrodden and would spend all my time streaming Mike Leigh movies to my laptop.

Woman in a Window said...

I don't know but if Green Day were on that train singing Working Class Hero I'd be all over it with nary a thought.

kathy a. said...

our local commuter trains [BART] only have numbers. but the amtrak trains -- even though some of them are commuters to farther destinations -- each car has a name, but they tend to be counties or such.