Saturday, February 04, 2006

Impressed by Bono

I've heard that Bono is into humanitarian work, especially with Africa, and has been using his influence to get into contact with people in high places, but I've never really paid it much attention. He's just seemed so megalomaniacal for the past 10 years. Reading this speech he gave at the president's prayer breakfast has me rethinking that opinion, though. He seems right on the mark.

33 comments:

Gobula said...

Bono a megalomaniac? Are you fucking insane? Bono has been on the mark for the past 25 years, and will continue to be one of the world's great humanitarians until he dies. Is that too much to ask from the most important leader of a band to ever exist?

P.S. The fastest way to piss me off is to say something even remotely negative about U2 or Bono. Not cool at all. Hadrian thinks I'm a movie snob; he should listen to me talk about music sometime.

scott said...

Sorry to rain on your parade, gobula, but what part should a musician play on the world stage?

Gobula said...

What kind of question is that? Just because he is a musician doesn't mean he doesn't have any reason for playing a part on the world stage. Just look at what he has done in Africa. Famous people have an obligation to use their fame for the good of the world, and he has done that better than anyone else.

Gobula said...

Musicians have had more of an impact on politics in the past 40 years than politicians have.

scott said...

I don't buy 'musicians have had more of an impact than politicians.' Bono, okay. The Beatles, sure. Green Day, possibly. Kanye West, sort of. They drew the masses into politics, which is good, but they actually changed very little.

But, come on, Bono? Do you really think that the establishment cares about what he's saying? No. They care that Bono the rock star is at their prayer breakfast, because he gets good press.

Now, I've read Bono's speech, and it does give a good message, and it would be nice if the president listened to it, and he should listen, because he claims to represent a party of religious conservatives.

And, I'll admit, after reading his speech, I think he's even more of a megalomaniac than I thought before, but his message is a good one.

Gobula said...

The Beatles maybe 40 years ago (but even then their importance was very weak, Green Day no (by the way, I've been a Green Day fan since before most people knew they existed, if you think they matter politically you are sorely mistaken), Kanye West hell, hell no. These are bands that don't even bear consideration, and if this is the common feeling of musics impact in the past 40 years I should just shoot myself now and save a lifetimes worth of struggle.

Politicians don't have to care about what Bono says, the fact of the matter is that many people do care what he says, and they pay attention. Look at the "One" campaign, several million people giving their names to something very simple. Bono has saved the lives of many people, and that is important.

You speak of the "establishment" and "politicians" like they are something grande and mysterious. Those are general words given to people who appear larger than life but are really not. Bush has only done what he has been allowed to by voters. Us democrats say we care and act against it, but why then is Bush still the president, and why do we still complain about our political situation? What happened to the filibuster against Alito? We belong to a political group that should have died 50 years ago, yet has remained alive through the good grace of a few amazing characters.

scott said...

Your thoughts are.. thought-provoking.
I'm going to have to get some sleep to form my thoughts into a cogent argument, if argument's what is really called for. I'd love to hear your 'political rockstar ' list, though.

As far as the Democratic party goes, I'm not sure how I can disagree with you. The party has no broad message anymore, at least not one that resonates with me. There are a few shining stars, but unless they can stand together and present a united front, what hope do the non-republicans have? We can't vote twice. And most republicans can't have their minds changed by reasonable debate.

Gobula said...

The idea of Bono as a megalomaniac is just so God damned stupid that I can't even begin to understand the logic behind it. How much do you have to fucking do for other people before they realize that you want to help them. No wonder Jesus died alone and afraid.

Gobula said...

What seriously scares me is that most people have no idea what the "political rockstar" list is. This statement basically says that I have wasted my entire life and have spent all my savings on trivial things. This is a hard thing to swallow at 22.

Gobula said...

When did I say you have bad taste in music? You're taste in music is your own personally.

scott said...

Alright. I'm through with this. I try to agree with you, I try to ask your opinion about important music, and you tell me I have bad taste in music. Forget it.

scott said...

You don't even know what my fucking tastes are.

Gobula said...

Never once did I say you had bad taste or anything else. I enjoyed your last post that showed great sense. But now this most recent one comes confused and disillusioned. I saw that you agreed with me and I accepted it and I never questioned your taste.

Gobula said...

Wait, when did I say you have bad taste in music? I did the simple thing and scrolled up and I didn't see any instance of me saying you had bad taste. Now I'm just confused by that comment, because it makes me think I said something that I shouldn't have; but I don't see anything that should be construed that way.

Hadrian said...

Um... wow. I hope you guys have gotten some sleep. Am I going to have to separate you two?

And since it does seem to be a point of contention I suppose I'll weigh in: Bono has actually never struck me as megalomaniacal-- in fact he's always come across as pretty well grounded for a rock star. Although of course the albums that immediately followed Achtung Baby were in fact big steaming piles.

Gobula said...

Biting tongue.... biting tongue....

Degolar said...

Since I'm the one who first used the term megalomaniacal, I suppose I should say something. I'm not going to bother trying to defend it as necessarily right or wrong since I didn't put much thought into it and don't know enough to make a case either way. I've enjoyed U2's music and heard bits and pieces about Bono outside of that, but have never really given him much thought. As I originally said, I've heard he's into humanitarian work. I know almost nothing about it, but I know he's trying to do something good. If I ever became rich and famous, I would do the same. I know the band started with a Christian identity and has always professed humanitarian values. I respect them for that. But I also got the impression--without being a hardcore fan or going to any concerts--that sometime in the 90s Bono went to 24/7 sunglasses and took on more of a rock star persona and an air of self-importance. That's the way it's seemed to me as a casual observer, anyway, and that's where the label came from.

The whole point of the post, though, was to say that perhaps I judged too quickly and should rethink the label. Berating me for throwing out the term as my past impression is hardly an effective way to convince me it was wrong. In fact--and here I'm going to act older and wiser and get patronizing, so be forewarned--this whole conversation had the potential to be intellectually engaging, but just turned into a name-calling session. If you really believe passionately in this, there are more diplomatic and effective ways to make your point. I'm still interested in hearing more about Bono and why you hold him in such high esteem, as well as your list of others who are doing good.

Gobula said...

So the problem here is poor word-choice?

Apparently I have been misinterpreted again. I don't recall any name-calling and I still can't figure out what "list" you people are talking about, I never mentioned a list. I could think of some kind of list if you wanted me to, just tell me what kind.

I am also shocked that I would have to explain why I hold Bono in high esteem. I mean come on, when you almost get a Nobel Peace prize that's something to be held in esteem.

Degolar said...

See, that's what I'm talking about; when I said I don't know much about Bono and his work, I meant it. I was not aware he was almost awarded a Nobel Peace Prize, nor of what he did to deserve it. I have no idea what the One campaign is. Instead of calling me/us "fucking insane" and "God damned stupid" (scroll up, you wrote it), you could elaborate on some of these things.

Gobula said...

If you don't know much about Bono and his work, why did you call him a megalomaniac? That was name-calling.

My problem seems to be that I assume everyone knows everything that I do. You have a very good point in that I get really pissed off over things that other people don't understand.

By the way, I never called anyone "fucking insane" or "God damned stupid", just scroll up and read it (I guess that would be the definition of "context"). I asked if you are insane in a rhetorical sense to make a point, and I said "The idea of Bono as a megalomaniac is just so God damned stupid". Neither one of those were an insult. If anyone should be insulted it should be me, since I have been on the receiving end of several personal attacks in this thing. Just re-read this series of posts and you will notice that I never said anything negative about anyone. You seem to gotten hung up on the naughty words instead of the intention behind them.

I don't understand Scott's final upset posts and I don't understand this "list". I thought Scott and I came to a mutual agreement, but then all of a sudden he is telling me I don't know what his "fucking tastes" are. Of course I don't know his tastes! I've never even met the guy! That post made no sense to me.

All I tried to do was defend Bono's good name for good reason. If you wanted elaboration why didn't you ask for it?

The worst thing about this is that everyone has ignored my "This statement basically says that I have wasted my entire life and have spent all my savings on trivial things. This is a hard thing to swallow at 22." statement completely. You do realize that that wasn't a joke I hope. I take this very seriously.

Anonymous said...

First of all I think that it is quite obvious that a function of music (at least lyrical music) is to comment on our societies and cultures. Also that Bono has a very altruistic personality despite his celebrity status. More than anything he has used his job as a celebrity to try to get us to realize our selfish and hypocritical actions. A good example is the speech he gave at the president's prayer breakfast.

It seems like this has already been realized in this blog, and what is really being argued now is just what Gobula has said or didn't actually say.

My second point then is: stop being such fucking pussies and review what is typed above cause...its all right there for you. There is a TYPED record of everything right there for you and, at least to me, it seems clear to understand.

Lummox said...

Wow. This erupted into quite the free for all. Next everyone will be throwing folding chairs and lighting fires (if those things actually exist in cyberspace). I think the main point here is that Bono is a funny name and we all need stop for a minute and make fun of that. Huh huh, Bono.
Now don't you all feel better?
Here's my take on this, and no this is not an attck on anyone, and no I also don't know a whole lot about Bono, except that he is a great musician and does many humanitarian acts worldwide:
Bono is trying to play politician here without actually being a politician. He can say whatever he likes because it is a free country and he pretty much spoke his mind, but if he is going to try to change things, he should do it the way he knows how, through music, not through his fame as a musician. It's like Angelina Jole all of a sudden trying to be this huge savior of third world children. They both should try to actual do something instead of using their fame to try an influence politicians into action. George W. is not going to be swayed by a musician (even when the musician has some pretty good points to make). Bush is a politician and most poiliticians are swayed only by 2 things: money and other politicians. I totally respect Bono and I think that his heart was in the right place but if he wants to make a change, he should become run for an office and change things. Though they are heartfelt and have good intentions, his words won't carry much weight without someone in power to back them up. I mean, it's not like he would be the first entertainer to take office.

Vote Bono 2008!!!!

Degolar said...

"why did you call him a megalomaniac?" --I explained that in my first comment.

"the definition of 'context'" --Yes, I realized I was twisting your meaning a bit, but it was to make my point that your approach was upset yelling instead of engaging dialogue. Whether you call me or my statement dumb is splitting hairs, you are still being hostile.

"All I tried to do was defend Bono's good name for good reason. If you wanted elaboration why didn't you ask for it?" --That has been the point of my two comments in this conversation. In both of them I asked you to elaborate.

"everyone has ignored my statement completely" --Ignored it in writing, but have pondered it. I'm not sure I understand what you are saying, so I haven't been able to figure out how to respond to it. Again, elaboration would be welcome.

(anonymous --until you bother identifying yourself in some way for the sake of continuing dialogue, your input is moot.)

Degolar said...

The Meta-Conversation

Perhaps we are piling on you a bit, Gobula, but there's a point I'm trying to make that I'm not sure you're seeing. My general impression of your online writing, both on your own blog and in comments on others, is that you are so abrassive and angry that I'd rather not get involved. It's hard to know for sure with writing because there is no facial expression, body language, tone, and other cues to indicate, but that's what I get. I also think maybe you don't mean it that way and would like to have more engaging conversation, but I can't really tell. So maybe I'm just a big pussy who's afraid of confrontation, but I would be more likely to dialogue with you if you generally came across as more civil (and I don't mean bad words).

Degolar said...

The Bono Conversation

Scott: You say after reading the sermon you appreciate what Bono has to say but see him as more of a megalomaniac than ever. What in the speech gave you that impression? I had the opposite reaction. He acknowledged up front that he has a rock star persona and that may invalidate him in some people's eyes, but he still feels he had something important to say. In general I found him humble and genuine in the sermon, and that's why it's made me rethink my opinion of him.

Lummox: Your attitude is the one I hear most often concerning Bono, Angelina Jolie, and others like them, and I'm afraid I really disagree. Yes he is a musician, and he has always tried to convey his values through his music. But just because he's a musician he can't be other things as well? Your job doesn't involve D&D, yet you still have that interest. And if we can only do good through our jobs, what's the point of volunteerism? I may be a librarian by profession, but can't I still do environmental work or something that doesn't involve books/information with the rest of my time? People really seem to pigeon-hole celebrities and not allow them to be three-dimensional. It's just that when Bono volunteers he has the money/prestige/influence to do it on a larger scale and everyone watches because of his status.

Gobula: Do you have anything more specific to say about Bono other than he is Jesus reincarnate and anyone who disagrees is whacked?

Degolar: As I've said, I'm seeing Bono in a new light, mostly because I've never really paid him much attention before. But I still say he changed somewhere along the line. I remember when he first started making it he seemed humble and down to earth, but then he went to the big sunglasses and slicked-back hair and leather and I don't know, he just started carrying himself differently. These are all very superficial things, I know, but he seemed to become very self-inflated. Maybe it was intended to be ironic and I didn't pay close enough attention to get that. Maybe it was just a phase and I haven't given him a chance since. But I know it's there, because I've talked to other people who see it too. Can anyone tell me any more about this aspect of his persona?

Lummox said...

I wasn't trying to pigeon hole anyone. I was just pointing out that he seemed to be preaching to a deaf choir and if he wants to make changes, he can try a different route. The only people who understood his prayer/speech fully were the people that cared about him as a singer and as a figure in entertainment. Not very many people in places of power are ever going to even give him a second thought as long he is an entertainer. I'm not the one pigeon holing him. I think he should be trying to do good with his fame and money, and possibly use it to move into the political forum. As long as he is (I mean this satirically) just part of a band (/satire) that is all the public (in general) will see him as. I don't agree with the view, i am just stating a fact. I may play D&D, and be a Data geek, and be a husband, but people put labels on everyone and they stick. Unfortunately, Bono is labeled a rock star and that is all that most people will see. Most people who hear of his work outside of fame, usually end up thinking that it is just publicity (like the Jole connection I made earlier). I am playing the devil's advocate here.
I think his music is great and his other works are awesome too. I can see more than the star, but the majority of people out there don't. And that is why I think he won't be taken seriously unless he puts himself into a new role. The problem is dropping the old one, or at least minimizing it so that it doesn't overshadow the new one. Just look at Schwartzenegger (I have no idea how it is spelled and am too lazy to look it up). I think his superstar image overplays his political persona, and it is hard to take him seriously. That's why I think Bono should go fully into the role of politician if he wants to make a real change. Not that he can only be one or the other, but because no one will respect his opinion fully if he tried to be both at once.

Gobula said...

This series of posts has outlined a very big flaw in online conversation. I seem to have come off very negative when that was never my intention, and it seems that I have been taken much more seriously than I should have been. This probably explains why Hadrian hasn't said much, as he is the only one who knows my personality and understands that I shouldn't be taken seriously. I never called you or your statement dumb, and am still trying to figure out why my comments have been labeled insults.

And yes, I know I am always angry. Those of you who don't know me don't realize that I am usually laughing while making my pissed-off comments. Apparently the humor that is supposed to be conveyed in the majority of my posts is getting lost in translation.

The whole Bono thing is something that has a VERY personal connection to me and any negative comments about him immediately set me off, and I have an extremely good reason for this (but no, I won't elaborate).

Degolar said...

Point taken, Lummox. I'm pretty much guilty of what you describe since I haven't given Bono's humanitarian work a second thought because I was bothered by his rock star persona.

Gobula said...

The idea of me as hostile is really pretty funny. Oh well, I'm sure it will all get cleared up when I release my manifesto.

I should probably point out that a person is usually overly expressive after a beer or 30.

Degolar, I don't think you ever answered my original question. I mean, I don't know you all that well and as far as I know you could have been typing all of this while wearing big red clown shoes and hitting yourself in the head with a trout.

Degolar said...

Which first question? Why I called him a megalomaniac? Read these descriptions below from Wikipedia and realize that I didn't pay attention enough to realize it was ironic, I just saw the surface messages of an obsession with grandiose or extravagant things or actions.

"In early 1992, U2 began its first American tour in more than four years. The multimedia event known as the Zoo TV Tour masterfully confused audiences with hundreds of video screens, upside-down flying Trabant cars, mock transmission towers, satellite TV links, subliminal text messages, and over-the-top stage characters such as "The Fly", "Mirror-ball Man" and "Mister MacPhisto". The tour was, among other things, U2's attempt at mocking the excesses of rock and roll by appearing to embrace greed and decadence - at times, even away from the stage. Some missed the point of the tour and thought that U2 had "lost it," and that Bono had become an egomaniac." And: "With the Popmart Tour, U2, once again continued the Zoo TV theme of decadence. The show hit the road in April, 1997; the set included a 100-foot tall golden yellow arch, a large 150 foot long video screen, and a 35 foot tall mirrorball lemon. . . . The Popmart Tour and Zoo TV Tour was intended to send a sarcastic message to all those accusing U2 of commercialism. The shows were also intended to be shining a mirror back onto the world, taking all the subtle advertising and messages we are exposed to every day and blowing them up so they were visible to the world, best shown in the famous picture of Bono (dressed as The Fly) with the message "WATCH MORE TV" written next to it."

I, apparently, was one of those who missed the point and thought that U2 had lost it.

Gobula said...

No, when I asked if you were insane;) Hense the fish slapping comment.

I have that concert on video, it was brilliant. U2 has definately not lost it. A few people don't like their newer stuff, but most of them haven't actually listened to it.

Degolar said...

Ah . . . um . . . I think it best not to discuss that in such a public forum . . .

Lummox said...

Huh huh Fish slapping.