Prompted by the palpable bile of a justifiably sneering K-Punk
, I went and read Paul Morley's rim-job
of an article about U2. I was not amused.
I find it hard to disguise my dislike of Bono, and even harder to disguise my dislike of U2 fans, who somehow manage to hear something unique and interesting in the nth
iteration of that delaydelaydelay-soiledsoiledsoiled stadium pap - but there are more important matters to attend to than bitching about U2's tiny sonic-palette, or the gargantuan stage-ego of that slick-haired buffoon.
Bono's emergence over the last few years as the gurning public face of the compassionate celebrity movement to alleviate all of the world's ills (TM) has frequently caused outbreaks of total moral incomprehension from certain members of my family, with whom I have sympathy. I too have wondered how it is possible to preach charity and condemn the excessive consumption of the developed world while being a phenomenally wealthy and privileged star. Is Bono's self-righteousness so overwhelming that he doesn't see the contradiction between his ridiculous lifestyle and his message of generosity and equality? Can you legitimately complain about the commercial rape of the environment while making a living from huge world-spanning tours that require plane-loads of equipment, leaving a carbon footprint so big that the outraged are left with no option but to hope it is made sooty-flesh and stomps Bono into putrescence?
Rather than this phenomenon being the revival of charity, I am led to wonder instead if this is not the blossoming of a new and extraordinary greed. I do not see Bono inviting George Bush and other national leaders to tax the unholy fuck out of him and his troupe of weeping celebrities for hire (see Joss tear up at the sight of the bulging-eyed child!), instead, I see a man who would like to maintain his extravagant lifestyle, while enjoying the moral capital of his righteousness. What the celebrity appearance asks of us is that we respond to their donation of time, with a donation of money, but internal to this exchange is the assumption that Bono's time is worth more than that of ordinary people, and the only way this can be accommodated is through equating Bono the celebrity and Bono the man. To collude with celebrity fundraising is to be part of an obscene cult in which the person at the end of the phone with their credit card bears the entire weight of the enterprise - the weight of saving the world, and the weight of feeding the ever-swelling egos of the maniac figureheads. Bono and those who will inevitably follow in his wake must not be allowed to grow fat on this acclaim, free as it is from cost and responsibility.
A choice must be made: no one should be able to enjoy both excessive financial and moral capital - the two are not compatible. If Bono wants to be treated as a great moral leader, we should demand a sacrifice.