"Why did Elvis let the Colonel have such power over him? Simply, the Colonel was his boss. In the context of Elvis’s world, when you come from poverty, you cannot turn down a hundred and fifty thousand dollars, no matter what you have to do for it. And this is a key to Elvis’s attitude. His predicament was an inevitable result of his aspirations. He was innocently authentic, but he craved the inauthentic, as country people, who are so close — uncomfortably close — to what is starkly real, often do. For him, the bright artificial lights of the city, flashy cars, and fat rolls of cash represented the values of the dominant social classes. They were the emblems of success. He wasn’t a firebrand. He didn’t seize the opportunity for protest (as Bob Dylan, for instance, did, by focusing on dust-bowl classics). Elvis behaved like many other poor Southerners, accepting the heel of oppression when they should have been thinking more radically. This is characteristic Southern passivity and fatalism, which often belies an inner fire — a rebel sneer, at least."
Bobbie Ann Mason, Elvis Presley (112)
One of the several questions I am to be answering this summer is why Andrew Bird is not an Elvis Presley type. For a while I thought it was a — comparative — lack of humility. But now I have to consider where that comparative lack of humility comes from. I suspect this has something to do with it — Chicago’s North Shore, versus the bad side of Tupelo and the Memphis projects.