Dress Down Friday

Be-nice-to-a-rock-star day

Okay, I can’t take it any more. Will someone please explain to me in simple terms why Bono attracts the opprobrium he does? He’s copping it again in the “Evangelism” thread (obviously). After discussing Iraq, giving Bono both barrels appears to be the favourite pass-time of visitors to this site.

So far as I can tell, Bono’s greatest sin is to take himself a little too seriously. Not the most attractive feature in anyone, but given he is the front-man for one of the most successful rock bands in history, not altogether surprising. John Lennon, Jim Morrison, Liam Gallagher…..not a blushing violet amongst them, if I’m not mistaken?

In terms of the music, I think U2 disappeared up their own arses years ago, but they’ve left a not too shabby legacy: “Desire”, “One”, “Still Haven’t Found…”, “Running to Stand Still“. They’re also responsible for one of the best ever Beatles covers; their live version of ‘Helter Skelter’ on Rattle and Hum is superlative. And of course Rattle and Hum the film (I refuse to use the term ‘Rockumentary’) includes Bono’s infamous, anti-IRA ‘fuck the revolution’ speech, coming as it did a day after the Enniskillen atrocity:

“Let me tell you somethin’. I’ve had enough of Irish Americans who haven’t been back to their country in twenty or thirty years come up to me and talk about the resistance, the revolution back home…and the glory of the revolution…and the glory of dying for the revolution. Fuck the revolution! They don’t talk about the glory of killing for the revolution. What’s the glory in taking a man from his bed and gunning him down in front of his wife and his children? Where’s the glory in that? Where’s the glory in bombing a Remembrance Day parade of old age pensioners, their medals taken out and polished up for the day. Where’s the glory in that? To leave them dying or crippled for life or dead under the rubble of the revolution, that the majority of the people in my country don’t want. Sing no more!”

A pretty brave thing for an Irish icon to say at any time; even more so in the middle of US stadium concert in the late-80s. So brave, in fact, it earned him a temporary spot on the IRA’s hitlist (allegedly). (That’s a paramilitary organisation’s hitlist, not the musical variety.)

In recent years, Bono’s name has become synonymous with humanitarian/relief work. I can’t fathom whether most of his detractors simply regard him as insincere or resent a preaching, multi-millionaire celebrity asking them to stump up cash. My own take is that Bono has continued the bleeding heart work for too long for it to be an act, and if there’s one thing worse than a preaching, multi-millionaire celebrity using his status to buy influence, attract publicity and raise funds for humanitarian projects, it’s a preaching, multi-millionaire celebrity who doesn’t do any of those things.

You can’t tell people who to like, but I can and do ask why Bono – and not one of any number of waste-of-space global celebrities – has a near-monopoly on people’s scorn?

Can someone…anyone…help me out?