Thursday 7 October 2010

Why Do People Hate Bono At First Sight? Saves Time...

Dorian Lynskey (music writer for the Guardian) on how we must stop being beastly to Bono, or the Right Wing Conspiracy will win:
Though criticising Bono is hardly a new phenomenon, in the past couple of years it has become a feeding frenzy. He has been ridiculed for the financial struggles of his ethical clothing line, Edun, and private equity firm, Elevation Partners, his lobbying appearance at a Conservative party conference, the carbon footprint of U2's 360° tour, and even the back injury which forced the band to cancel their slot at Glastonbury.
Yes, well, those were all cases of monumental FAIL! weren't they?
Anyone else would have to run for office to receive such relentlessly harsh scrutiny.
Like the scrutiny that Obama came under? Heh! There's another case of the hype not matching up to the reality...
Of course, someone with Bono's profile and clout deserves to have his feet held to the fire. His manner can be off-putting, not least in his columns for the New York Times; he underestimated (or ignored) leftwing discomfort with his realpolitik charm offensive on the Bush administration, and U2's 2006 decision to move their publishing business to the Netherlands for tax reasons was a disastrous own goal which needs to be reversed.
No sign of him doing so, though, is there?
It is as if Bono has become a lightning rod for general suspicion of celebrity activism. But unlike many celebrities whose political gestures are half-hearted and tokenistic, he has made it a time-consuming second job and is sufficiently well-versed in nuts and bolts issues to have serious conversations with world leaders, and serious leverage.
It must be absolutely exhausting for the poor dear...
So to borrow an apt legal term, cui bono – who benefits – from casting him as a self-serving clown? Certainly not the causes he champions, nor any other celebrity who attempts to use their public platform for anything more than entertainment. It's the constituency represented by the New York Post and other rightwing outlets that will raise a cheer if celebrities, who tend to lean left, are discouraged from politics.
Yup, the Global Rightwing Conspiracy has taken some time out from manipulating the price of oil, sabotaging peace talks and getting their Random Earthquake Generation Machine overhauled to...get everyone to loathe the lead singer of an Eighties pop group.

The conservative media has taken this tack since the 1960s, but in the case of Bono, especially, the left is increasingly happy to take its talking points from the right.
See? Even when the left speak, the Right is pulling their strings!
This is the danger in knee-jerk Bono-bashing. Armed with a robust ego and a strong faith, the singer can weather the blows. But any young band with political ideals might well compare his experience with that of a band like the Rolling Stones, who moved their business to the Netherlands but without inspiring a fraction of the ire, and take the path of least resistance.
Perhaps people just prefer the Rolling Stones' music, and are prepared to cut them some slack. Perhaps the Rolling Stones haven't revealed themselves to be hypocrites, whinging abour Warble Gloaming while jetting all round the world for tea and scones with the great and good?

Just a thought...
Bono's activism is an ongoing experiment to see how far fame can be used to lobby for progressive causes, and to what degree a musician can act on principles rather than merely voice them.
Interesting. Is it not possible, then, to use fame to lobby for non-progressive causes?
After the Dixie Chicks were monstered by the US right for criticising George Bush in 2003, they sardonically titled their subsequent documentary after one particular criticism: Shut Up and Sing. Those who seize every opportunity to think the worst of Bono are helping to ensure that future generations of musicians do exactly that.
Don't know about anyone else, but I'd actually welcome that. It'd make a nice change, frankly...


Macheath said...

I'll settle for some knee-jerk Bono-bashing every time; please, JuliaM, can we have a Bono jokes thread?

What's the difference between Bono and Jesus Christ?

Jesus doesn't think he's Bono.

Macheath said...

PS That joke's even better when you consider this.

Richard said...

I did a post on Bono's commercial dealing last month here. This attracted the quite brilliant comment: "I believe Geldof is despised in Africa. They can back off. We despised him first."

Sue said...

Same reason we hate that other self righteous little prick Bob Geldof. Scruffy, patronising, filthy rich and forever going on about US giving money to that bottomless pit in Africa.

Crap music too.

Chuckles said...

I thought it was because every time he claps his hands a kid in Africa dies, but he still carries on doing it.

Fascist Hippy said...

Bono is a knob, always has been, always will be.

Greencoat said...

Ireland has gone from Yeats and Shaw to Geldof and 'Bono'.

Evolution in reverse.

JuliaM said...

"I'll settle for some knee-jerk Bono-bashing every time..."

It is pretty satisfying. :)

"This attracted the quite brilliant comment: "I believe Geldof is despised in Africa. They can back off. We despised him first.""


"Crap music too."

Oh, I don't know - I always rather liked 'Rat Trap' and 'I Don't Like Mondays'. That's about it, though.