Friday, November 11, 2005

Bono Must be Stopped

In October, U2’s Bono had a friendly meeting President Bush in which he set aside any remaining integrity by ignoring things like the Iraq war, the environment, and runaway corporate profiteering in order to advance his celebrity-driven version of helping the poor. Then, to make matters worse, he proclaimed in a Rolling Stone interview that he was, indeed, the messiah: “I’m representing the poorest and the most vulnerable people. On a spiritual level, I have that with me. I’m throwing a punch, and the fist belongs to those people who can’t be in the room, whose rage, whose anger, whose hurt I represent. The moral force is way beyond mine.” That generated a lively discussion amongst the folks here at Holler about Bono, rock star politics, and the challenges of separating the art from the artist.

Bill Glahn:
Good grief. I'm reading Tim Tyson’s Blood Done Signed My Name at Dave's suggestion. Bono needs to read it far worse than I do. He should pay special attention to the parts addressing paternalism. And to get a more realistic idea of what "having a row" is. As well as what "paying a price" is all about. As well as...Aw, fuck it. This guy's hopeless.

Dave Marsh:
What Bono does is disempower poor people and empower the worst of the rich ones.

You know, when the Turtles merely played some debutante ball at the Nixon White House because Tricia was a fan, rock fans disowned them (they never had another hit single, and they were in the midst of a string of them).

This is on U2 fans, to my mind, to put a fucking stop to this nonsense, to let Bono know that his preening and grandstanding and letting some lying jackass motherfucker like Bush seem to be compassionate and give-a-shit about AIDS and malaria and Africa has reached the point where it’s simply intolerable. To sit with that man over a meal and NOT bring up Iraq—and you know he didn’t or he’d boast of it, because he’d boast if he’d cut a fart at the table—NOT bring up the people of New Orleans, not bring up anything except that which the Representative of the Poor and Powerless decides are The Issues...this is some ugly shit, man. It’s depraved, in the true sense of the term. I have truly never been so disgusted by the behavior of a rock star.

Kevin Gray:
I probably shouldn't tell anyone but that there was a time when I would actually spend money for a U2 album. After falling asleep with the TV on and waking up to still photos of Bono and Bush my first words this morn were "What the fuck!?" Maybe Bono and Bush were on the roof of the White House tooting up. Or maybe he, Bush, Laura, and Condi had a late night swingers' party. In any event, I am trashing my U2 music. Just gonna throw it in the garbage.

Stewart Francke:
Kevin--I hear ya. It really turns me off on their music, including songs I've dearly loved and been deeply moved by. Even clung to. And I was asked by some great old friends from Saginaw to go with them on Monday to see the band, whom I've never seen in concert. Because I love the friends I'll go, and I don't wanna stiff ‘em on a ticket. But this latest thing with Bush and Bono's Messianic "representative of the all the world's poor & oppressed" is really corrupt. I thought of Bono's "mission" while watching the film The Constant Gardener the other night—how ego-based benevolent intentions actually make things worse, more complicated, putting innocent people in the crosshairs of evil banality even more frequently. From a distance, it truly seems about little more than who he thinks he needs to be.

Kevin Gray:
I am still trying to figure out who appointed Bono "spokesperson for the poor." I listened to the Millions More Movement day Saturday in prep for the radio interviews I have been doing on Katrina, the MMM, race, class and so on. And after listening to the black elite basically frontin', they reinforced my feeling that they were representing their own interests and positions and not the poor and working class. (And a number of folk on the stage and in the crowds are perhaps a paycheck or two away from being poor themselves.)

There are a great many talented artists who produce beautiful work but whose politics and personal behavior is fucked up. I might look at their work, listen to their work, but I won't pay for it. At this point, if Bono were on fire I wouldn't piss on him...well, maybe I would, but I certainly will never buy another CD, tape, or album.

Craig Werner:
I'm definitely on the “send Bono to sea in a leaky sieve" camp. T.S. Eliot presents an example of what’s wrong with so much of the "art not the artist" position, which often simply assumes that because something's become canonical, it's valuable. For most of Eliot, I agree that his politics make his art problematic (though I'd hold out for Prufrock and Gift of the Magi). But I've been thinking about a more difficult case, which would be John Milton. Politically, Milton makes Eliot look like fucking Che Guevara. He's reprehensible in almost every way. But when I read Paradise Lost, I dream in blank verse for a damn week. There's a power in that language that I can't deny, however much I'd like to. This may be a matter of Milton communicating things he didn't want to. (I think it was Shelley who said that Milton was of the devil's party without knowing it, and I think Phillip Pullman might well agree with that). Maybe he was just a great enough artist in some sense to transcend his own stupidity. Kinda like the best of Neil Young....

Kevin Gray:
I grew up in the South being bombarded with Elvis movies but always hearing the rumor claiming Elvis said the only thing a black man could do for him was shine his shoes or wash his car. True or not, that stuck with me; it's probably what inspired the Public Enemy line "Motherfuck him (Elvis) and John Wayne.” Still, I bet I know the words to pretty near all his songs. My old man even had Elvis on the machine at his juke joint, and my mother still has original Elvis albums. But many of us considered Elvis as a black man in a white man’s body doing what he had to do to get over on the white man. James Brown is viewed in kind of the same way, doing what you have to do to get over. And with James, "Say it loud I'm black and I'm proud" buys a lot of forgiveness. That along with being shot at by the police for whatever reason.

I'm pissed with James because when the police chased him thru Aiken/Augusta, shot up his truck and took his crazy ass to jail, it was the black community and black press in the state that came to his rescue. And after his release, he went back to kissing Republican ass and did and said very little in the way of thanks to those who had his back. But "Say it Loud" goes a long way. Still, James is punished by the black community for his pronouncement of being a Republican. Down here, that's who you are likely to see at his concerts: white, shag-dancing, penny loafer wearing Republicans.

That being said, I don't believe I've ever heard James or Elvis claim to represent the poor.

Bill Glahn:
Bono's failing is that he doesn't understand that there is no progress through begging. This from, Dylan’s “Union Sundown”:
Democracy don't rule the world,
You'd better get that in your head.T
his world is ruled by violence
But I guess that's better left unsaid.

Kevin Gray:
I don't want to overly romanticize the notion, but many of the people on this list and many of the people we admire live (or died) by the credo of "speaking truth to power." Most of us accept the consequences of such. It's not easy. We have lost family, friends, jobs, position, money, identity, etc., because we harddheadedly hold on to that.

I have learned a lot from Dave over the years. I have a book of "Dave-ism." And one quote I use two, three, four times a week: "Fuck manners. Manners are a bourgeois affectation. You don't have to show manners to rude motherfuckers with their foot on your neck. Fuck ‘em!"

Well, if there is someone standing next to one of those rude motherfuckers with his arm around him, I can only conclude that he is giving the bastard leverage to apply more pressure to my neck.

I have been a U2 fan. As I write this and all through the day "Pride (In the Name of Love)" has played in my head. Whenever I hear "early morning April 4, shots rang out in the Memphis sky" it makes me think of Dr. King and where I was the day he was murdered. I was sitting with my mother in her bedroom watching TV and crying. I think the song is beautiful because it makes me think of mother holding me and saying it will be all right. So, for Bono to validate the same group that, were King alive today saying what he was saying April 3rd, the same criminals that when they get the chance will try to kill Hugo Chavez, that left poor people to die on roofs, in attics and in the Middle East... well, a line has been crossed.

Okay, I haven't thrown my U2 away, yet. But sometimes the only vote we have is the dime or dollar in our pockets, and for sure (when I get a dime or a dollar) I won't be voting for Bono's accendancy to misrepresentation of the poor and validation of rude motherfuckers.

Dave Marsh:
Funny thing because where I first parted company with Bono and company (and where he and I first butted heads) was over "Pride." I hated it, and I hate it still.

What does this mean?:
Free at last, they took your life
But they could not take your pride

What kind of overweaning, sanctimonious little amateur-ass parson wrote that simpering idiocy? If you ask ME, when you bleed to death from the bullet, you ain't got anything left to be proud with. And according to Bono's Bible, presuming it's roughly the same as my own, pride goeth before a fall—pride is a SIN.

Right then and there, I knew he was full of crap.
You know that the Elvis thing was totally debunked in 1957 by an article in Jet, right? It's a fantastic article. I don't know if I could lay hands on my copy of it. Some of it may be quoted in Peter Guralnick's first Elvis book.

In that movie about the first PUSH Expo, whatever it's called, there is a truly pathetic scene--as pathetic as anything in The Fog of War--where Rev. Jackson brings Sammy Davis, Jr. onstage, fresh from Sammy's endorsement of
Nixon. And he just gets the hell booed out of him.

I forgive a lot of Elvis and James, I forgive everybody as much as I can in the typical hope of the damned that somebody will forgive them. BUT when the wrong-doing is ongoing, it needs to be stopped. Elvis at least had the good sense to keep his negotiations with the Feds private. James, I think, had been so crushed by the failure of the civil rights movement to provide a real black power base (not to mention his own, er, personal peccadilloes) that he saw black entrepreneurship, a Republican project at that time, as the only solution. I can rationalize that.

I cannot rationalize what Bono is doing, because it involves lying not only about who he represents but about his own success in "getting things done." He hasn't gotten anything done. And part of what that's about, in my view,
is telling his audience that he's taking care of things for them--they don't need to empower themselves, let alone help anybody else empower themselves. And also, as I say, it gives Bush good cover for "caring" about the "issues."

I know what people mean about the reek of these things inside the art. "I Don't Want Nobody to Give Me Nothing (Open the Door, I'll Get It Myself)" is James's summation of that reek. I don't know if Elvis has one; for me, the
reek comes on a track like "Hurt," where you realize he's more fucked than any of the people he wanted to rat out. The stench has been rolling out of U2 for some time. But I don't fault people who continue to find U2 appealing--I might fault them aesthetically but not politically. But it is time to draw the line. Otherwise, there is no line and there will be a meaningful diminishment of what this stuff can mean--every time the audience is further divorced from having an impact on content, that much is true.

Lauren Onkey:
I’ve been suspicious of U2 since Rattle & Hum, precisely on the point of their Irishness. It’s at this point in their career where Bono begins talking about being Irish, and sometimes talking about Irish politics from the stage (as he does in Rattle & Hum about the IRA bombing in Enniskillen). But he does it through his definition of/appropriation of blackness, and that’s where it went wrong for me. In the film, Bono explores black music like it’s a sampler platter at a buffet or something: a little New Voices of Freedom choir, a little BB King (who is only quoted when he praises Bono: “you mighty young to be writing such heavy lyrics”), a Harlem street musician, a Billie Holiday poster. He refers to himself as a white nigger in interviews. Black music and musicians are finally just tools for self aggrandizement—they don’t require anything of Bono, they allow him to discover his inner blackness. I don’t see any exchange: blackness exists to be consumed.Their Irishness does not get them off the hook on this point: yes, the Irish can claim a kind of blackness both in Ireland and (at least early on) in the US. But the Irish have another, uglier, history with African Americans, too.Now there are moments when the Irish have (re)claimed blackness in more productive (sincere?) ways: the most famous was the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association’s use of symbols and tactics from the U.S. Civil Rights movement. Bernadette Devlin McAliskey, a leader of that movement, claimed blackness and black alliances, but she knew they had to be reciprocal; you can’t just claim blackness to define yourself and in the process ignore the long history of Irish white privilege (or, in Bono’s case, a history of white appropriation of black music). When Devlin visited Irish American groups supportive of her cause in Northern Ireland in ‘69-’70 she unnerved them by talking about race in America. When she was given the key to NYC she gave it to the Black Panthers. She made it clear that if Irish Americans were interested in supporting Catholic emancipation in Northern Ireland, they also must support racial emancipation in the U.S. She tried to make Irish Americans aware of their own race privilege, and to face their own racist past. The Irish can’t get a free pass on claiming blackness—you have to give something back in return.Bono’s meetings with Jesse Helms & Bush, etc. just seem more of the same to me, but worse. Bono has a bigger stage, more respect, more attention, now, and so there are severe consequences.

Danny Alexander:
I suppose I understand the point Craig is making about Milton, and I have to admit that I have been wildly inconsistent about whether or not I condemn the art for the artist or cut it some slack despite the artist.

Dave Marsh:
I think it makes all the difference when you’re living in the same period as the artist. When Pound was doing whatever fascist-backing stuff he did, the question wasn’t whether his poetry was good, the question was if you supported his project and whether talking favorably about his work supported his “right” to support the fascists. Not whether he was an anti-Semite or this or that particular of his fascist sympathies, not whether the Cantos are beautiful. There was a war on.

I don’t care that Bono goes to the White House and sullies the name of rock’n’roll or some bullshit like that. Those days are over. But I do care that a guy whose only platform, whose only credibility comes out of the music and then he goes and not only lies about who he is and who he represents, but specifically attacks those who believe that the criminal he is meeting with should be challenged on his crimes. Who does he think is dying in Iraq? Oil magnates?

The challenge is not to Bono. The challenge is to US, and to U2 fans in particular. Would you deny yourself your favorite music if your favorite music was caught up in something that perpetuated evil-in-action, not just evil in theory?

Here’s a passage from CLR James in State Capitalism and World Revolution (1950, thus roughly contemporary with the notes that became American Civilization). See if this does not capture the Bono ideology completely:

“The Christian Humanists have a systematic political economy. They propose decentralized self-governing corporations of private property with every worker in his place. They have a philosophy of history. They believe in the eternal ambiguities of the human situation and the impossibility of ever attaining human freedom on earth. They have a theory of politics. The natural and ideological elite must rule, the masses must not have absolute sovereignty. Since evil and imperfection are eternal, they say, the alternatives are either limited sovereignty or unmitigated authoritarianism.”


Anonymous glenn radecki said...

The last thing I want to be is an apologist for Bono, but after reading this collection of vitriol, I feel compelled to come to his defense.

The premise for this collection of writings is, to use the most charitable terminology possible, deeply flawed. Bono is not, has not been, and never will be (excepting him becoming a US Citizen) responsible for taking Bush to task about Iraq. There are many, many people who hold that responsibility (let's start with the voters in the last electron, hmm?); feel free to point the finger in their direction. Suggesting that his meeting with the President obligated him to discuss the war, environment, or "corporate profiteering" is both incorrect and irresponsible. It borders on the offensive.

Adopting the idea propagated here that Bono has set himself out as a representative of the poor still leaves unanswered the question: why is this so automatically wrong? Do we deny that he has, effectively, the largest megaphone? Do we challenge the progress already achieved? Should people be going about this in some other way?

Considering all of Bono's activism and preaching -- preening and grandstanding included -- there is very little evidence to suggest that Bono has ever truly attempted to put himself out as the "spokesperson for the poor" in general. Rather, to his credit, his activity has been fairly narrow in scope, and generally limited to the continent of Africa. This distinction was nowhere to be found in this critique.

The idea that Bono is "lying" about who he is was brought up more than once. I don't know about the authors of this piece, but I've never been confused about the fact that Bono's an egotistical multi-millionaire rock star (we need look no farther than the $165 ticket price on the current tour). With that cleared up, we can turn to whether Bono is lying about his representing the poor of lying about "getting things done." No, he's not personally canceling debts or producing AIDS medications cheaply, but things are happening, aren't they? There is attention being paid to the subjects he talks about, right?

I doubt that any celebrity could accurately represent what the poor must endure. But the charges leveled here are that Bono is somehow deliberately misrepresenting the issues. How? What is he doing that is so very wrong? His focus is too narrow? Bono's talking about those in Africa being the poorest and most vulnerable people is factually inaccurate?

Bill Glahn quoted Bob Dylan lyrics in the middle of the piece as an example of how Bono is allegedly working in the wrong way to achieve the goals he talks about. With all due respect to Mr. Zimmerman and his lyrics as quoted, it seems a bit unfair to decry Bono's "catch more flies with honey" method of trying to get something done, as it really hasn't been tested. I'm sure history will have a judgment one way or the other, but fairness dictates at least letting him try.

Bono is undoubtedly an easy target for a number of reasons, but this piece contained decidedly unfair claims and characterizations. A student of rock and roll history such as Dave Marsh should have very carefully considered what was being written before using the words "sullies the name of rock’n’roll" or "I have truly never been so disgusted by the behavior of a rock star." Are you REALLY sure you want to use that line? Perhaps you'd like to reconsider.

The suggestion that Bono "set aside any remaining integrity" in his meeting with Bush is simply wrong. Especially when the example used to back that claim is that he should have gone after Bush about things like Iraq. Were Bono to do that -- to divert focus away from his issue -- he would be doing something deserving of the criticism leveled here.

We don't need Bono to go away. We need him cloned. Want Bush held responsible for Iraq? Find a Bono willing to take on that issue -- it'll be much more likely to happen.

1:32 AM  
Blogger Bill Glahn said...

There is little evidence that Bobo has set himself up as "the spokesmen for the poor?" What evidence do you need other than his own words flatly stated. "Catching flies with honey" has been a disproven method for dealing with the power elite since history has been recorded. Read some. We're not talking about defusing a squabble over 8-ball rules down at the local billiards parlor.

12:15 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

You can spend all day one-upping one another with invective about Bono if you like. Meanwhile, at least a few people in Africa with AIDS will live instead of die because he was willing to part with some of that precious rock-star credibility and find common ground with a shitheel like George Bush. Is there anything more humble?

10:36 AM  
Anonymous Matt Weston said...

Bono is not, has not been, and never will be (excepting him becoming a US Citizen) responsible for taking Bush to task about Iraq.

Everyone who is opposed to the war is, given whatever methods are available to them, responsible for taking Bush to task about Iraq. Bono's silence/inaction on this implies that he's not opposed to the war.

There are many, many people who hold that responsibility (let's start with the voters in the last electron, hmm?); feel free to point the finger in their direction.

Well, let's see: the choices were between a pro-war candidate, and a pro-war candidate. A vote for Kerry was as much a vote for the war as a vote for Bush, if not more so (Kerry wanted to send more troops to Iraq than Bush).

Suggesting that his meeting with the President obligated him to discuss the war, environment, or "corporate profiteering" is both incorrect and irresponsible. It borders on the offensive.

Suggesting a rock star challenge the president's policies is offensive? No, it's the president's policies themselves which are offensive.

Adopting the idea propagated here that Bono has set himself out as a representative of the poor still leaves unanswered the question: why is this so automatically wrong? Do we deny that he has, effectively, the largest megaphone? Do we challenge the progress already achieved? Should people be going about this in some other way?

This begs the question, what progress has Bono achieved? His current "savior of the world" bit strikes me as carreerist opportunism -- being a glam-rocker didn't take, so he's gonna try to save the world (all by himself, I might add: he never encourages organization of any kind, unless it's organizing to donate to Live8).

Considering all of Bono's activism and preaching -- preening and grandstanding included -- there is very little evidence to suggest that Bono has ever truly attempted to put himself out as the "spokesperson for the poor" in general.

Again, from the recent Rolling Stone piece: "I'm representing the poorest and the most vulnerable people. On a spiritual level, I have that with me. I'm throwing a punch, and the fist belongs to those people who can't be in the room, whose rage, whose anger, whose hurt I represent. The moral force is way beyond mine."

The suggestion that Bono "set aside any remaining integrity" in his meeting with Bush is simply wrong. Especially when the example used to back that claim is that he should have gone after Bush about things like Iraq. Were Bono to do that -- to divert focus away from his issue -- he would be doing something deserving of the criticism leveled here. we should take Bono to task when he does challenge Bush? I'm sorry, but the logic here escapes me.

10:38 AM  
Blogger Shawn Poole said...

As someone else who loves a lot of U2's music (including even the "newer" stuff like ACHTUNG BABY and ALL THAT YOU CAN'T LEAVE BEHIND), I want to throw my two or three cents in...

First of all, I've also been moved often by "Pride (In The Name Of Love)", but it's always bothered me that the line was "early morning April 4" when MLK was in fact murdered in the early evening. In light of what would come later, this refusal to acknowledge a basic historical fact (especially when it would be just as easy to sing "early evening April 4") certainly seems more telling now than it used to.

I've also interpreted the line "They took your life, but they could not take your pride" somewhat differently than Dave Marsh did, and more than likely differently than Bono intended, as well. The pride I always heard in that line was pretty much equivalent to the "Dignity" that Dylan sings of, as opposed to the biblically condemned sin that Marsh references. It seemed to me that Bono/U2 were saying that King's life was ultimately one of such powerful dignity, something to be so proud of, that not even a rain of bullets could wash away its power completely. It also makes me think of the essential struggle of the Civil Rights movement that King helped to lead: the struggle to be fully recognized---socially, politically, legally, etc.---as a human being. To me, to be part of such a struggle requires a certain amount of pride---if you define that as recognition of one's own worthiness to be entitled to such things as full citizenship and equal treatment under the law. In response to those who would see such pride as a sin, I guess I would have to reply "it ain't no sin to be glad you're alive."

All that aside, however, the fact remains that Bono's current political approach is absolutely wrong. It's certainly nothing very new...there've been plenty of folks in and out of the music world who've become single-issue whores and have ultimately accomplished very little or nothing. There've also been many egotistical, paternalistic "messiah-complex" white men in particular who have made similarly small/negative political contributions.

What's really scary, however, is the fact that his actions are being pushed (and not just by right-wing media outlets) as some kind of innovative approach to "rock politics", and Bono as some kind of new "model rock star". I firmly support any effort to dispel this myth. More importantly, whether or not I ever buy another U2 record or go to another show, I intend to continue working with others to replace Bono's dead-end posing with a real political movement that's centered not around any one particular person (famous or not) but a set of ideas---social/economic justice, etc.---and that's democratically led by everyday people, not millionaires and office-holders.

5:56 PM  
Anonymous Nicole Colson said...

I don't measure what music I like by a political yardstick, but I do measure musicians who put themselves forward as the saviors of the poor and downtrodden by what their actions actually accomplish (isn't that what Bono's asking us to do?).

And when Bono traipses off to Africa with Treasury Sec. Paul O'Neil, or meets with Bush (multiple times) or calls Tony Blair and Gordon Brown the "Lennon and McCartney of debt reduction," he darn well is responsible--because he's giving cover to the policies of people that throw millions into debt and misery.

Just ask people who were campaigning in favor of debt relief what they thought of Bono and Bob Geldof’s over the moon praise of Bush and Blair after the G8 summit this year. Live 8 did incredible harm to existing movements to cancel the debt--precisely because after the G8 summit, Bono and Geldof talked about what a victory they had won, how they had really stuck it to world leaders and world leaders supposedly listened to the people. Meanwhile. Bush and Blair were busy attaching more conditions to aid, like privatization, that end up screwing poor people even worse than before.

There are many problems with Bono as a musician these days, but there are more problems with him politically—precisely because his cozying up to the political elite creates the illusion that no one is to blame. It gives politicians cover.

When Bush and Blair held a press conference in June to announce their aid package to Africa, for example, a reporter asked Bush if he thought it possible to eradicate poverty.

Bush responded: "Do I believe in my gut we can eradicate poverty? I do believe we can eradicate poverty. And, by the way, Bono has come to see me. I admire him. He is a man of depth and a great heart who cares deeply about the impoverished folks on the continent of Africa, and I admire his leadership on the issue."

In other words, “Hey, lay off—I have Bono’s seal of approval.”

There’s a serious point to be made here, which is why I'm glad that this topic came up.

Namely, that music can have an impact on individual consciousness, and can even inspire movements and help provide cohesion to them. But, while music can be a force towards change, on its own it can’t change the world.

Want to end poverty? It will take a radical mass movement—not a rock star doing it on our “behalf” (or, in Bono’s case, on behalf of Africa. Paternalistic much?)

“Live 8” is a perfect case in point. I thought one Internet post on Glorious Noise put it really well: "Bob Geldof and his merry gang of do-gooders are going to save Africa (again).Their recommendation on how you can help: 'wear a white band.' Or, better yet, listen to one. That will definitely make Bush and Blair do the right thing."

In fact, Geldof made sure to strip any politics out of the event by lecturing his stars beforehand to NOT criticize Bush or Blair from the stage.

And you'd think the man would at least have enough shame to recognize that he screwed up royally by not including more than a token of Black acts on the bill.

But rather than being contrite about this glaring failure, Geldof defended it, saying, essentially, that that’s what people want to hear.

“From Guangzhou to Bogota, they listen to 50 Cent, Eminem, U2 and Coldplay.” Geldof told Time.

“Do they listen to the more esoteric individual cultures? No. That's reality. Do they listen to Muddy Waters? I wish they did. Then I'd put a bill up there with him and John Lee Hooker.

When the Time reporter helpfully pointed out that John Lee Hooker is dead, Geldof laughed and said “It'd be difficult. Even more difficult than putting Pink Floyd back together. Well, not that much more difficult.”

And we're supposed to take anything these fools do seriously? (And I have to say that I agree with Dave Marsh about “Pride.” I'v always found it to be a lame song—not only does it praise martyrdom in a way that’s counter to everything King stood for, but to my ears the vocals on it are aneurysm-inducingly over the top.)

I’m an atheist myself, so I don’t believe in heaven. But if I did, I’d say I hope that if the Dublin Messiah ever tries to enter the pearly gates that Joe Strummer gives him an ass-kicking but good.

1:29 AM  
Blogger d said...

-----dave marsh, the ultimate groupie and star chaser...can anyone say hypocrite-----

12:30 PM  
Blogger d said...

---thank goodness for bruce springsteen, bono, and pete townshend (course dave has his personal wars with the latter two, why, because only bruce can be "right" or "good" or "the best" or "altruistic" or "charitable")...and bruce is all these things, and it inspires me to try to do better too--------

12:36 PM  
Blogger d said...

---what more, in the name of love...there's alot more than love and care, but there's even less without it...proud to be black, pride...proud to be able to vote, pride...proud to be an AFRICAN american, pride...proud not to be afraid to be who you are, pride...proud to be a leader, pride...THEY took his LIFE, THEY could not take his PRIDE...who, the bigots and the racists, maybe pride's not the "right" word, maybe another word would have served better, i don't know , but i do know i just love bill glahn's own self-righteous gibberish and pompous horseshit "read some" comment, and the original posts by marsh and co. which just proves to me what pricks you guys can be----

1:04 PM  
Blogger d said...

---aesthetically, onstage, the songs and performances are very nearly as good as they have ever been, imo, partly because newer songs like miracle drug and beautiful day, and stuck in a moment and sometimes you can't make it on your own, are as exciting and powerful as anything they've ever performed...and dave, what one might have to be proud of as one is lying there bleeding from the bullet you speak of, is maybe your lifework, your legacy, your effort, and ultimately, your life and your love of it, and the cruel and bitter hate that has taken the rest of it away from you, i don't and wouldn't know, but i do know that i respect your scholariship and your love of music and politics, and your insights into both of them, as well as your writing, and that you too are once in awhile, sometimes, or often "full of crap" as well------

1:40 PM  
Blogger bartian63 said...

Gee, "D", we all give our names. Why do you like to trash other people hiding behind an initial?

Danny Alexander

5:36 PM  
Blogger d said...

----well, it's "d" and not "D" so it appears too that it's ok to "trash" people then as long as the one doing the trashing uses their full name so as to try to make a name for themselves-----

8:59 PM  
Blogger Fred Wilhelms said...


It's called having the courage of your convictions.

9:18 PM  
Anonymous Peter Marmorek said...

As Auden said, and I believe him, in his memorial to Yeats

Time, that is intolerant
of the brave and innocent,
And indifferent in a week,
To a beautiful physique,
Worships language and forgives
Everyone by whom it lives;
Pardons cowardice, conceit,
Lays its honours at their feet.

Time that with this strange excuse
Pardoned Kipling and his views,
And will pardon Paul Claudel,
Pardons him for writing well.

Bono, Young, Dylan...their art will last after their -sometimes wrong- politics are forgotten

7:21 AM  
Anonymous Nicole Colson said...

Seriously...friends with Jesse Helms? The destroyer of funding for art in the US?

This stuff is totally indefensible.

Bono dines with Jesse Helms

Associated Press Writer
Dec 13 3:37 PM US/Eastern

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Bono and Jesse Helms? Not only are they friends, but the Irish rocker and archconservative former North Carolina senator also share a common cause: fighting AIDS in Africa.

Before U2 opened to a raucous crowd of 17,000 at the city's new downtown arena, Bono had dinner with Helms.

"He (Bono) called us a couple of weeks ago and said he wanted to see his old friend the senator," said John Dodd, president of the Jesse Helms Center, who accompanied Helms and other family members to Monday's meeting.

Since they were introduced several years ago, the Republican Helms and Bono have become close allies in the fight against the AIDS epidemic in Africa.

Helms, who is 84 and suffers from a number of serious health problems, arrived backstage before the show and was joined by Bono for a casual meal. On the menu: grilled chicken, roast beef and salmon.

"It was nothing fancy," Dodd said. "They ate in the cafeteria with the roadies and the rest of the crew."

The two men talked for a few minutes about their work and what they have been able to accomplish and what still needs to be done, Dodd said.

Bono briefed the senator on DATA _ or Debt, AIDS, Trade in Africa _ a nonprofit organization he helped found in 2002 with other activists to increase awareness of the crises in Africa.

Did Helms stay for the concert?

"No, he didn't," Dodd said. "He has been to a U2 show before, but he was tired after traveling back from Raleigh earlier in the day."

2:29 AM  
Anonymous Nathan Diebenow said...

After Cindy Sheehan left Crawford this past Thanksgiving, I remembered again that she paid the "ultimate sacrifice" as did her late-son, Casey, over the Iraq War.

Then, out of nowhere it hit me: what am *I* willing to sacrifice to end the war in Iraq? What is it that I hold dearest? Answer: my CD collection, but I have yet to burn any of them as symbols of protest.

Am I chicken-shit? I don't think so, because true sacrifice is what it's all about, not cheap sacrifice like yellow ribbon magnets and American flags. I can always replace my CDs, but Cindy can't replace Casey and all those dead Iraqis and U.S. soldiers.

So what comforts has Bono sacrificed for Africa? Not much, I'd say. He's as smug and self-satisfied as Bush, if not more. Whether or not he openly admits to being a "champion of the poor," Bono is certainly not acting like Abbie Hoffman, MLK, Ghandi, or even Jesus Christ. If he at least tried, he'd be shoving *humanity* down the president's throat through non-violent resistance and subversive humor.

An Irishman who refuses to use humor to fight for social change is no Irishman, let alone a Christian, in my book. I'm afraid even a dead Jonathan Swift would prefer listening to Yanni than U2, with all things being equal.

4:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


11:33 AM  
Anonymous NBCFU2 said...


This is going to be one rushed and run-on sentence of a reply, but that's all I have time for, for now.

Your post was a study in both informed articulation and near-perfection: "near," since, you cannot take Bono to task for charging $165 for the highest price tier of the three they had on the Vertigo tour, and NOT simultaneously mention both the $90 scattered arena and $49.50 (before service fees etc.) for General Admission tickets - arguably the best "view" in the house for hardcore fans; especially when one considers the stage design which offered not a single bad perch when compared with the dinosaur rock endstage configuration that, Springsteen and dozens of other arena acts have not only used, but not unlike these former mainstays of AOR radio, is equally dated.

You also neglected to mention that Springsteen's take at the gate is settled well before all is said and done, and that he's already bagged in upwards of anywhere from three quarters of a million-to-one million per show in a guaranteed take from the promoter, before he's even set foot onstage: this slick business allows for him to give the illusion that he keeps his ticket prices down. That's sound managerial advice when you're selling yourself as a populist, but gross tens of millions of dollars even when you're not working in a given year.

To infer that Springsteen enjoys his money less than Bono, or any other rock star or person, is absurd, at best!

If I recall correctly, Springsteen charged $75 (before fees) on the Rising tour, and more than that for his solo acoustic Devils & Dust tour (primarily in arenas) and the Seeger Sessions tour.

A reasonable person can understand the higher price for the latter ( considering costs and overhead for more than a dozen band members, production and crew), but not for the latter, solo acoustic tour; which was anything but intimate, which was anything but affordable, and featured as Springsteen who charged fans $95 for the privilege of being told to "go fuck yourselves" and to "shut the fuck up," not once, but at least twice, in both East Rutherford and Bridgeport. I was at both of these shows, and never have I been so grossly offended by a performer -- whose shows I'd been attending since the 1970s -- in all my years of concert going. Furthermore, in both instances, it was the fault of Springsteen and/ or his crew, to fail to detect that there were PA (sound) glitches at both venues, and instead of Bruce giving both situations a chance to air out fairly, he impatiently launched into a mini-tirade of expletives at a show where, there were children who were also in attendance.

Now, while I'm not a prude (I'm a native New Yorker, you think I really give a fuck?) I do have exceptions to the rule, and these exceptions would be young fans, not of age, being exposed to such treatement by a singer who claims to be a populist etc. His behaviour was and remains inexcusable, and the fact he could not even PROPERLY (and finally) apologize in that lame ESQUIRE magazine piece, was a further illustration in both his narcissicism and air of entitlement.

As for "egomania" in rock 'n' roll, you don't think the Bruce's, Bob's and Bono's make it to where they are by being modest, do you?

You're much brighter than this.

As for Marsh, and his unfounded hatred of Bono - or even better, of Paul Hewson (Marsh, did you tell these things to Bono when he inducted Bruce, or when Bruce inducted Bono to the Rock hall of fame?) - two things:

-at the very least, please do have the gall to tell that to Bono/Hewson's face and stop hiding behind your keyboard

And, to quote his favorite pedagogical subject (or object, depending on your view):'s a sad man my friend who's livin' in his own skin, And can't stand the company....

12:08 AM  
Blogger Gerhard said...

WTH is wrong with you people? Bono is doing some real good in the world. He is NOT a politician. He has no mandate to talk about every possible subject when he is talking to Bush. Quite wisely he stuck to the subject that he was their to discuss, instead of ruining any chance of getting anything done at all by bringing up a subject (Iraq) on which he knew DAMN well he would not get a straight answer. You people are dummer than rocks. Take a class in logic AT LEAST before you go so far as to spew such hatred based on idiotic pseudo-logical criticism of a man of peace and true compassion. Wow.

2:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bono is a cunt

8:48 PM  
Blogger Molly Ultra said...

Because Bono is willing to sacrifice his street credibility with people like you wankers in order to try and convince (the one time) most powerful leader in the world that his money would be better spent saving the lives of thousands of Africans a day... Because Bono is willing to do that you criticize him? Just because your black and white visioned ego wouldn't allow you to compromise your "friends list" in order to try and save people's lives you would like to criticize this guy for lobbying on something he believes is the most important emergency of our time...? You guys aren't Swift Boat Vets are you.

By the way, after meeting with Bono several times Jesse Helms wept and asked for forgivness PUBLICLY for the way that he had viewed the AIDS epidemic before having met Bono. Bono and his campaigning changed this stuborn old Republican's mind on this issue. The former Tresuary Secretary Paul O'neil had a similar experience on his trip to Africa with Bono.

You all have got to be joking.

George Bush was one of the worst things to ever happen to this country but he also kept many (not all) of his promises on this particular issue. PEPFAR could have been better but it was a start.

Not even the President of the Bono hating fan club, and extreme liberal activist Henery Rollins will dis Bono for his efforts.

Glenn R put thing a lot more eloquently. I don't have the same skills but my facts are correct. I guess F.O.A.D isn't the proper way to end this with any dignity but I'm already damned in your narrow, horse-blinkered view so, F.O.A.D, indeed.

4:08 AM  

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