B is for Bono
January 2, 2015 8:16 AM   Subscribe

U2 frontman Bono Vox writes an end-of-the-year letter.
posted by chavenet (87 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
B is for Blowhard…
posted by mazola at 8:24 AM on January 2, 2015 [13 favorites]


This is sort of dovetails nicely with his po-faced apology for the album incident of last year. (And I hadn't seen the video of that until we watched the Big Fat News Quiz last night. How did I miss that?? It was completely bonkers!)
posted by Kitteh at 8:25 AM on January 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Aw, he knows he can be a pompous blowhard and pokes fun at his own self over it too. It kind of wouldn't be Bono if he didn't do that - when they were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and Bruce was giving a speech introducing them, he quipped that Bono had "one of the most endearingly naked messianic complexes in rock and roll history".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:27 AM on January 2, 2015 [10 favorites]


Annual family newsletter + Bono = thank you, no.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 8:29 AM on January 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


Pffft - pogue mahone to all y'all haters.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:30 AM on January 2, 2015 [6 favorites]




I also dislike the Bono when he is doing other than singing. What I was able to read of that served only to reinforce this attitude.
posted by The Vice Admiral of the Narrow Seas at 8:34 AM on January 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


i think it's important to note that he admits right off the top that he's high on painkillers. i'm not a fan of bono or u2, but there are some interesting bits here about aging and how easily our perceptions of self can change when someone throws a wrench in our gears.
posted by nadawi at 8:36 AM on January 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


I made it to A.
posted by biffa at 8:38 AM on January 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Was hoping for a parody. Made it to C, unsure as to whether it's a parody.

Ugh.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 8:44 AM on January 2, 2015


I wrote some rambling emails when I was on percocet too. I'm giving him a break, New Years Day, we all get a little sentimental.
posted by arcticseal at 8:49 AM on January 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm afraid to click on that in case it forces a free download of their entire tedious back catalog.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:50 AM on January 2, 2015 [23 favorites]


I'd say the album fiasco was less like leaving a pint of milk on our doorsteps, and more like slipping our landlord a couple of quid so you could borrow the keys, slip into our house and leave it on our kitchen table, pal.

And if we could leave references to "people who enjoy being angry" behind in 2014, that'd be just great.
posted by ominous_paws at 8:54 AM on January 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


I just hope he doesn't plan on churning a new one of these out every bloody Sunday.
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:02 AM on January 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


From Twitter: Bono announcing he may never play guitar again is like me announcing that I may never break dance again.

Well, the man himself does say this:
As I write this, it is not clear that I will ever play guitar again. The band have reminded me that neither they nor Western civilization are depending on this.

But in general, R is for Rambling. I worried it was getting too long when it looked like he was going to go through the entire alphabet, but when he started having 2 or 3 entries for some letters I gave up and kind of skimmed through it looking for the interesting parts.
posted by TedW at 9:02 AM on January 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


The great thing about the Internet is nobody has to read or look at any blog entry they don't want to.

What I read here was mostly full of gratefulness to his family, friends and fans, mixed in with self-admonishment. He predictably spends time plugging charities he's supported.

One of the things that I loved about U2 when I first started listening to them was their earnestness. Part of what makes Bono come across as a douche is that his earnestness had no filter - he's even earnest about how awesome he thinks he is. South Park kind of nailed it in this regard. I still like him, though, and found this to be a good read. If you don't like him, it's not going to change your opinion.
posted by Joey Michaels at 9:04 AM on January 2, 2015 [26 favorites]


Besides, if you don't like Bono, he'll be fine. He'll get by with or without you.
posted by Joey Michaels at 9:05 AM on January 2, 2015 [26 favorites]


If there were no Bono, it would have been necessary to invent him.
posted by malocchio at 9:06 AM on January 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Bono's not the smartest or most humble guy, but his intentions are good.

I was hoping that T would be for T-shirts, accompanied with a promise to send some to Adam Scott Aukerman.
posted by painquale at 9:12 AM on January 2, 2015 [10 favorites]


I appreciated that he was honest about the drinking issue that lead to his injury. I resonated with him, and I feel that we share the same intuition that some transparency about our struggles can be good for us. I don't feel as if he was mannipulating it, which was a quality that I like. He's a good guy deep down, although not always well executed in his plans.

I didn't find his remorse of the "free song giveaway" compelling, and his reference to Kimmel didn't help. It's not that it's rude to get free stuff. It's rude to have your personal space invaded in such a way that you can't control how you receive free stuff. Give it away for free on the cloud, give people the choice to download it after they investigate and think about it. Don't open up the front door to their house and set it on the pillows of everyone in the family while they are out.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:15 AM on January 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Part of what makes Bono come across as a douche is that his earnestness had no filter - he's even earnest about how awesome he thinks he is.

I am weirdly fond of him for this - like, he's so easy to loathe that it's more satisfying to like him anyway. He seems like one of the better possible outcomes of white male + unimaginable un-inherited fortune with the fame and power that go with.

And liking Bono magnifies my raging loathing for The Edge and the destruction he seems determined to inflict on Malibu.

Give it away for free on the cloud, give people the choice to download it after they investigate and think about it. Don't open up the front door to their house and set it on the pillows of everyone in the family while they are out.

I have barely followed this story, but did U2 hold some kind of gun to Apple's head and insist the album be pushed to devices, like "cloud's not good enough for us!", or did Apple propose this and everyone shrugged and said, "Okay, y'all do it however you do it, then." Was it The Edge's doing, because he's an asshole? I honestly doubt Bono knows the difference, I barely know the difference and I have a lot more free time and no staff to manage all my iOS devices.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:23 AM on January 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


i don't really understand why people hold bono personally responsible for the way apple executed the free album thing. apple are obviously the ones that fucked up there - it's not like bono and u2 wrote the code or came up with implementation strategy.
posted by nadawi at 9:25 AM on January 2, 2015 [12 favorites]


From Twitter: Bono announcing he may never play guitar again is like me announcing that I may never break dance again.
posted by Cash4Lead at 8:31 AM on January 2 [+] [!]


Sadly, he is going to have to join Def Leppard now.
posted by 4ster at 9:29 AM on January 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Given the entirely predictable response of most of MeFi to anything to do with U2, I'm sort of baffled as to why this was posted unless it was just to accumulate a bunch of posts snarking on him for, basically, a somewhat navel-gazey blog post.
posted by uberchet at 9:32 AM on January 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


Yes, Apple should have received at least 50% of the hate over the free album giveaway (probably more).

When I learned about it, all I thought was - "cool, I'm anxious to hear it." I can't imagine a person feeling actual anger over 11 extra files in their iTunes library.
posted by davebush at 9:35 AM on January 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


I liked this newsletter more than I liked the new album, and paid the same for both, so.

But, yeah, I'm with the folks upthread who have a fondness for Bono has that no filter guy who really does mean well. If he hadn't become BONO, I suspect he'd be the most garrulous guy down the pub, the one who never shuts up but always pays for the round when it's his turn. Which, you know. There are worse things to be.
posted by jscalzi at 9:44 AM on January 2, 2015 [25 favorites]


As I write this, it is not clear that I will ever play guitar again


That sproing-ing noise you just heard was The Edge rolling his eyes so hard they just popped out of his skull.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:49 AM on January 2, 2015


I really think people that were outraged over the "free" album are ones that don't really understand technology. They imagined things that weren't there (that their devices were intruded upon).

It's one of those outrageous things that happens that can barely get my brain to rub two neurons together for it. Also, I think people like outrage over things that don't matter. God knows they don't feel outrage over things that do, often. (Yes, I realize the last few months have been a welcomed reversal of this trend, but it won't last.)
posted by e40 at 9:49 AM on January 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Sleep comes like a drug, in Blog country ...
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:52 AM on January 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


Duane Reade cashier to Bono:
- Hello sir, did you find everything you were looking for?
Bono, stares in the distance, misty eyed:
- No.
posted by Riton at 9:59 AM on January 2, 2015 [26 favorites]


i don't really understand why people hold bono personally responsible for the way apple executed the free album thing. apple are obviously the ones that fucked up there - it's not like bono and u2 wrote the code or came up with implementation strategy.

It's the "not quite getting it" after the fact that is still kind of grating (for him and Jimmy Kimmel anyway), but yes, I'm sure he didn't call all the shots. Although he does take responsibility for it in the video and lists the factors that went into the decision, many of which were personal (megalomania, generosity, etc.). I think they had a discussion with apple about how this would work and not many people at the right places were second guessing it.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:04 AM on January 2, 2015


sure, but in no way is his job to elegantly deploy the tech. apple are the ones that decided how it would work, bono just had (or supported) a sort of daft idea. i'm betting it was pretty much "you know, like jay-z and samsung, but bigger!" if the complaint is that bono still doesn't "get it" then he's on par with people personally angry at bono over it - there is seemingly plenty of not getting it to go around, i guess.
posted by nadawi at 10:08 AM on January 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


I like Bono. I don't know enough about him to dislike him other than that he's a Christian and probably foolish in his implementation and vision of compassion for all humans- but hey, nobody's perfect and I believe in forgiveness. And he made all those songs I have nice memories off.

Xarnop writes an end of the year letter to Bono:
Happy New Year Bono! I don't have the attention span to read all of your writing, but I also write rambly things that are not nearly as entertaining as I wish they were, so cheers to rambling things! Yay! Also- Bono maybe you would like to play the alphabet game in metatalk- we all work as a team to write rambly nonsense to letters of the alphabet!

Also, I have this one memory of when I was in class and the teacher was like "I really like U2" and I was like THAT'S COOL because it was the first time I realized teachers might have musical taste that I've heard of! (Then I even had a teacher who liked the Sex Pistols, Ramone's and The Clash! Wow! It was the most amazing thing! He was like totally punk rock for a Catholic school teacher!) Also, one time we all sat outside in the forest during class and were very contemplative and it was really deep and stuff. I have this other memory of my cousin listening to U2 all the time, which is actually a lot of memories. She also had Winnie the Pooh stickers on her car and I thought that was cute.

Don't you think? I hope you like my letter, peace and love!
-xarnop
posted by xarnop at 10:10 AM on January 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


How about Bono and U2 pay their fucking taxes properly? When he is banging on about helping the poor and needy and then diverts pockets huge amounts of tax revenue that would be due to and needed by Ireland and its people right now he can fuck right off. Can't believe all the love for the selfish rich fucker on here.
posted by marienbad at 10:13 AM on January 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


...all the love? are we reading different threads?
posted by nadawi at 10:14 AM on January 2, 2015 [11 favorites]


sure, but in no way is his job to elegantly deploy the tech. apple are the ones that decided how it would work, bono just had (or supported) a sort of daft idea. i'm betting it was pretty much "you know, like jay-z and samsung, but bigger!" if the complaint is that bono still doesn't "get it" then he's on par with people personally angry at bono over it - there is seemingly plenty of not getting it to go around, i guess.

Yes, this is true. And I should note, I do like Bono, quite a bit. This is just one of those areas where I'm surprised that no one who participated in this process second guessed if it was a good idea, or understood the implications of interacting with the public like this. It seems like an obvious misstep that could have been prevented, by almost anyone who should have had their finger on the pulse of how people view music and their own stuff. I think what bothers me the most is how disconnected it makes everything feel between the user and those who actually bring us the music. It's perhaps a smaller issue at the end of the day, but it feels like a symptom of a larger disconnect between artists and consumer.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:25 AM on January 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was hoping that T would be for T-shirts

T is for taxes -- people who lecture others about morality need to start paying them.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:26 AM on January 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


BONO: Doc, Will I be able to play the guitar?
DOCTOR: I don't see any reason why not.
BONO: That's great! Because I never could before!
posted by Man-Thing at 10:27 AM on January 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


It seems like most of the hate Bono gets stems from the fact that he self-consciously acts like what he is: one of the most famous people on the planet. It feels like we expect uber-celebrities to act like they still lead work-a-day lives.

As an unapologetic fan of the band, Bono's persona has always seemed like the Stephen Colbert-esque embrace of his fame, and the perils and opportunities that come with it, particularly after the Rattle and Hum period of the band. I get the distinct sense there is more than a bit of distance between the Paul Hewson with a wife and four kids, and Bono.
posted by dry white toast at 10:29 AM on January 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Marienbad-- I won't stand in the way of people speaking truth of wrong doing! I just honestly don't know anything about him- given my experience raised in catholicism/christianity is exactly full of the errors you just mentioned (claiming to support charities but not really being willing to examine the true sources of inequality or relinquish power/funds that would actually help those struggling in adversity), so I am unsurprised.

Also I'm just so filled with solstace cheer I have forgetten how to be angry for just a moment, give me a few days, it will come back to me.

But just so ya'll know-- I think it's because the magical aurora wizard of yule spirit shot magical wizard yule magic out of his eye lasers. (One can see the event quite clearly here)

So that's logically probably where the love is coming from.
posted by xarnop at 10:30 AM on January 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Xarnop - Marienbad is just coming in to flog a common hobby-horse about celebrities who move their permanent residences to another countries as a way to minimize their personal income tax burdens, much the same way that people in this country sometimes have bank accounts in the Cayman Islands.

While it is a fair point, I'm not as certain it's a point that needs mentioning in every thread where that particular celebrity comes up in conversation. (Also, there is the counterargument that Bono's personal finances may be based oversees but the business account, so far as I can tell, is still based in Dublin, and would therefore presumably be paying corporate taxes into the Irish economy anyway - but I digress.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:37 AM on January 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Vox is his made-up last name to go with his made-up first name? I did not know that.

Vox is even douchier than Bono.
posted by LarryC at 10:42 AM on January 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Nice Chris Morris reference!

I made through the first couple sentences. When he said I should not read this, I went ahead and believed him.
posted by lumpenprole at 10:49 AM on January 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


- Hello sir, did you find everything you were looking for?
Bono, stares in the distance, misty eyed:
- No.


Bono: I haven't had any Christmas cards again this year, which seems odd since everyone loves me.
Post Office server: What's the address?
Bono: Actually my street doesn't have a name.
posted by biffa at 10:56 AM on January 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


Vox is his made-up last name to go with his made-up first name? I did not know that.

It's like a fedora that you can't remove
posted by thelonius at 10:57 AM on January 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Vox is his made-up last name to go with his made-up first name? I did not know that.

Actually he got the name from a hearing aid supply store in Dublin when he was a teenager - it was supposed to be half-assed Latin for "Good Voice", and he used to go by both and then the "Vox" part got largely dropped.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:57 AM on January 2, 2015 [2 favorites]



Pffft - pogue mahone to all y'all haters.


yeah, I'm fast getting to the point where I might just actually find myself looking forward to a U2 album for the first time in almost thirty years ... just to spite y'all.

I really think people that were outraged over the "free" album are ones that don't really understand technology. They imagined things that weren't there (that their devices were intruded upon).

The sin here (and I do think it's a big one in this particular cultural/technological moment) is one of access. That is, just because you can slip something onto my hard drive doesn't mean you should. I mean, sure I probably okayed such a thing when I signed off on some terms of agreement or other, but to just go ahead and just do it without a simple, "Hey, do you want the new U2 album right now, for free!?" -- that's just all kinds of tone deaf to me, and unforgivably intrusive (or what SpacementStix just said ...)
posted by philip-random at 11:03 AM on January 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


He might not be able to play the guitar, but in the sense that the titanium implant in his arm is stronger than bone, it's even better than the real thing.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:07 AM on January 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


You should not have time to read this.

And then I closed the window.
posted by Jahaza at 11:10 AM on January 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


I can understand some dwelling on Bono's part for the possibly-not-playing-guitar-again thing, even if it sounds kind of funny on our side of the aisle. An accident to my father's arm left him with a fraction of his previous ability to play guitar, and even though he played mostly for personal pleasure, it greatly affected him. I'm going to wager that my father was a better guitarist than Bono, but I imagine the emotions they felt when this realization dawned on them weren't totally dissimilar.

Being all-in on Spotify (and generally sympathetic to U2), I didn't really have a strong opinion about the iTunes/SoI debacle and wasn't directly affected by it. I don't think the negative reactions were altogether unwarranted, but I think that people's opinion (or knowledge of) U2 played almost as big a factor in their reaction as privacy/courtesy concerns. As for the album itself? Well... I mostly liked it. Better than their last two, but it's less compelling than the back story and the controversial launch would seem to warrant. I really, really liked the "Invisible" single that Bono mentions in the post, probably more than any of the songs that made it on SoI.

It was an interesting read- pretty unguarded. I'll own up to reading the whole thing. And I like Bono. He's an oaf, but I always get the impression that he's an oaf that's genuinely trying. I like the characterization of him upthread as one of the better possible outcomes of a person like him coming up the way he has.
posted by kryptondog at 11:12 AM on January 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm a shitty guitarist and would be very unhappy if I were injured to the point of not being able to play again. Bono was probably way better than I am.
posted by Cookiebastard at 11:27 AM on January 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Vox is his made-up last name to go with his made-up first name? I did not know that.

Vox is even douchier than Bono.


'Bono Vox' sounds like 'Good Voice' in Esperanto or something.
posted by box at 11:28 AM on January 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Took a glance thru it fully expecting to join in the 2 minutes hate, until I scrolled down to X is for xray. O.o Jesus God, yeah, whatever pills he's popping for that, yeah, he is not much in charge of what's coming out of his mouth right now. Considering that the last time I was under that kind of medication, I tried to pull down the nurse's pants because I thought he was cute, I'm willing to cut Bono some slack for (yet another, granted) bit of ego-ramble.
posted by sexyrobot at 11:31 AM on January 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was unaware that Bono had a last name. For some reason, I find that very disappointing. It removes him from the iconic minimalism that was so present in the 80s (Sting, Madonna, Prince).
posted by doctor_negative at 11:35 AM on January 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I hate to break it to you, but Prince has a last name. Middle one too.
posted by raysmj at 11:38 AM on January 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Jandek
posted by philip-random at 11:40 AM on January 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Time for my favorite joke!

So this old rock & roll guy dies and goes to rock & roll heaven, and St Peter is giving him the grand tour.

First they come past this cool dude with a giant afro wailing on a guitar. "Oh my god!" the rock & roll dude exclaims. "Jimi Hendrix!"

Then they come across a double-wide trailer. But it's no ordinary double-wide, it's decked out with a great porch, a swimming pool and a lush garden. And out belts an equally lush, sultry voice accompanied by a perfectly tuned guitar. "How cool is that!" the rock & roll dude cries. "That's right," says St Peter, "you favorite, Janice Joplin."

Next they come near a grand stage, which a huge set design, towering speaker stacks, and thousands upon thousands of screaming, cheering fans gathered around. The rock & roll dude squints to see who's on stage, and he doesn't believe his eyes. It's Bono, from U2. Confused, he turns to St Peter and says, "how can this be? I just left Earth a few hours ago, and Bono was alive and well!"

"Oh," St Peter laughed. "That's not Bono. It's God. He just thinks he's Bono."
posted by slogger at 12:09 PM on January 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Bono Vox' sounds like 'Good Voice' in Esperanto or something.
posted by box at 2:28 PM


Portmanteau-terical!
posted by bitteroldman at 12:13 PM on January 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Has Bono actually done anything illegal with his taxes? Should the repetitive whining, hate, grar and most usefully lobbying be directed at the system which allows celebrities, companies, individuals, corporations and the like to minimize how much they pay instead? Should vitriol and venting be more appropriately directed at the increasing number of British entertainment industry celebrities being jailed for very serious crimes from decades past, rather than a pop star who has - allegedly - done a Father Ted and "rested" his money somewhere else, albeit legally.

Anyway, back from the derails. I started Bono's piece but abandoned it because tl;dria. Ambivalent on things U2; I enjoyed their early career, found Joshua Tree and Rattle and Hum to veer between great and pretentious, thought they found their nirvana when they disappeared to Berlin, took lots of drugs and did their increasingly offbeat four albums of non-rock (Achtung, Zooropa, Pop, Passengers) - but then immediately became dad rock artists, with only 1 or at best 2 good tracks per album and a lot of awful filler. So disappointing. I gave up on the album before last halfway through, and deleted the free downloaded one without listening to it after hearing a few snippets on the radio.

Number of times saw U2 play live up to 1998: 41
Number of times saw U2 play live since 1998: 0

I'm hoping that either they'll just call it a day, or they'll disappear to somewhere with lots of things that can help them relax (Colorado, perhaps), make one final surprisingly good album, do a small stadium tour (they're always better in places that hold less than 30k), then quit. It's Larry's band, and he'll make the call, and I hope he makes it soon.
posted by Wordshore at 12:16 PM on January 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


That picture of his kids doing a parody of a U2 band photo is pretty great (because--not in spite of--the fact that teenagers have been doing that same U2 band photo pose for about 30 years, and now Bono's kids are even doing it).
posted by straight at 12:27 PM on January 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have conflicting feelings on Bono, but it's easy to take the piss out of him so I decided to read it all and make up my own mind on this one. And I enjoyed it. He's dryly funny, he loves his wife and family and friends, he is an actual activist not just an armchair one (having developed and supported real projects for ethical clothing, helping kids get access to instruments, medication, campaigning against poverty etc) and if anyone one else was making some of the pronouncements here MeFites would be praising them to high heaven. Haters gonna hate, big lad, but earnestness is what we do best on the blue so I'm happy to gift you an account anytime you want.
posted by billiebee at 12:28 PM on January 2, 2015 [13 favorites]


Bono does good stuff for this world, but releasing high quality albums in the new millennium is not one of them.
posted by oceanjesse at 12:32 PM on January 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


He's no Steve Bonino.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:33 PM on January 2, 2015



"Oh," St Peter laughed. "That's not Bono. It's God. He just thinks he's Bono."

that was originally a Wayne Gretzky joke. Which probably means it was originally a Babe Ruth joke.
posted by philip-random at 12:50 PM on January 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


The design and font of that page is atrocious.
posted by Fizz at 12:51 PM on January 2, 2015


PeterMcDermott: T is for taxes -- people who lecture others about morality need to start paying them.
Obeying the law != being moral.

Edit: And it seems he isn't even breaking the law.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:51 PM on January 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


1980's U2 was pretty huge for me back in junior and senior high school, culminating with a trip to see the Joshua Tree tour.

They lost me with Rattle and Hum, and then somehow became the soundtrack to the first couple of years of undergraduate life with Achtung Baby.

That album still takes me back to watching the fall of the Wall on television, and thinking that things had really changed for the better.

That's where it should have ended, 25 years ago.\

Bono seems like a nice bloke, though.
posted by Nevin at 1:03 PM on January 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


that was originally a Wayne Gretzky joke

I suspect it's older than that. It's been used for surgeons - God has a mask and scrubs - also.
posted by thelonius at 1:05 PM on January 2, 2015


This letter showed up in my mailbox along with assorted bills today, I just threw it away.
posted by user92371 at 1:08 PM on January 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


At the end of time, when they tally up our doings, I think I've been less embarrassingly earnest than Bono, less messianic, less prone to public embarrassment, and cleverer about how I have communicated myself.

I'd also say, even allowing for differences in income and opportunity, I have done one one-millionth the philanthropic work Bono has done, and brought one one-millionth the amount of good to the world.

Additionally, he's pretty easy to avoid if you don't care for him. I suppose he and I have that in common, although I pop up with greater frequency on MetaFilter, so if you find me irritating, it will require a KillFile.

All told, when the balance of good verses inaction is weighed, it is the messianic embarrassment who had shifted the world toward the better in a way I have never bothered to try. And he's made some remarkable music too. Maybe I could stand to be a little more earnest and a little less concerned about embarrassing myself, and maybe I could stand to think I am capable of helping more than I am.
posted by maxsparber at 1:35 PM on January 2, 2015 [12 favorites]


For the record, the Vox part of Bono Vox nickname was abandoned in the late 70's. It was a name given to him by a friend. I've always heard it like Groucho or Harpo. Anyhow, he didn't name himself that. I think the singer from the Virgin Prunes have it to him but I'm to lazy to Google it.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:36 PM on January 2, 2015


that was originally a Wayne Gretzky joke

The 70s at the latest was when my dad began telling it as "he thinks he's Arnold Palmer."
posted by rhizome at 1:39 PM on January 2, 2015


I heard it as "he thinks he's Rory Calhoun".
posted by mazola at 2:27 PM on January 2, 2015


I can't believe that he had the temerity to write this, doesn't he realize how many of his critics read u2.com?
posted by ActingTheGoat at 2:31 PM on January 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


Exactly. The title of this post made me think that he had posted this on Vox.com or something. But this is Bono's own blog for heaven's sakes!
posted by Nevin at 3:02 PM on January 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


And liking Bono magnifies my raging loathing for The Edge and the destruction he seems determined to inflict on Malibu.

Oh No! Not Malibu!!!
posted by ennui.bz at 3:09 PM on January 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


The unchanging U2 thread on mefi, tl;dr. 1) Why hasn't Bono paid his taxes for Christ's sake. How dare he talk about capitalism's amorality, helping the poor, charity, etc., etc. 2) Bono's a pompous ass. 3) I haven't listened to anything they recorded since Boy because it's all been downhill since. 4) They tried to foist their last shitty album on us via Apple and therefore must be eternally bathed in unending hellfire. 5) I don't care what anyone thinks, I love them just to spite y'all! *Pfffthfthfththft!*
posted by blucevalo at 4:17 PM on January 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


well shit, i had finally gotten around to taking him *off* my end of the year letter list.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 10:00 PM on January 2, 2015


I hated end-of-the-year letters before they were cool.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:34 PM on January 2, 2015


I happened to watch a documentary on New Year's Eve on the period after The Joshua Tree/Rattle And Hum and what U2 did to reinvent themselves for Achtung Baby. In it Bono was saying how sometimes you have to change all or nothing, but unfortunately he doesn't realize he got stuck in that second rut and needs to come up with new ideas for his and the band's identity and for their music. That is what bugs me, and I think a lot others, most. Okay, being a "Rockstar" was mildly cool until maybe POP, but then should have been long discarded. That being said, I thought this letter was surprisingly interesting, charming if indulgent, and refreshing in its honesty and optimism.
posted by blue shadows at 1:50 AM on January 3, 2015


I think I'm of the opinion that the only band that should play a stadium is the Greatful Dead, and their, well, dead.

I saw them twice in Concert (both stadiums), once in the early 90s. I learnt an important lesson; never read reviews for a concert/show you already have tickets for. They mention his 8 or so costume changes and then I was distracted and noticed them all when they played.

Like Bill Gates, I think Bono's most interesting work is outside of his chosen profession, and his most interesting work inside his chosen profession was done at the beginning of his career.

Also, yeah, blame Apple. The only thing worse than adding content to your content device without your permission is taking something off your content device that you bought - I'm looking at you Amazon; deleting 1984 was a dick move, you should have just paid for it yourself if you didn't have the rights to sell it in the first place.
posted by el io at 2:05 AM on January 3, 2015


I'm with maxsparber and blucevalvo. When I see an article about U2 I can generally expect it'll be along the lines of, "After Achtung Baby/Boy/Joshua Tree they sucked," and I'm pretty neutral about that because it's a trope at this point.

When I see an article about Bono, though, it's either going to be about some endeavor he's undertaken to help people or his Messiah complex. And that bothers me more because in the world of Famous Pop Stars, you don't see press on how he's been arrested, or f*cked the nanny, or beat up a paparazzo, or brings his pet monkey on tour, or leaves his wife for a teenager, or releases a sex tape. For a public person with a huge following he has behaved himself remarkably well. He's used his powers for good. If the worst thing you can say about his public persona is he seems like a prick because he helps too many people, then that's a damned fine legacy. And if some people choose to interpret that as a bad thing, well, that says more about them than about him.
posted by kinetic at 6:33 AM on January 3, 2015 [16 favorites]


"...but does he have to be so flamboyant?"
posted by rhizome at 11:39 AM on January 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


IAmBroom: "And it seems he isn't even breaking the law."

That's because he's bezzie mates with the people who write the laws. T is for taxes, indeed.
posted by meehawl at 10:11 PM on January 3, 2015


"Bono announcing he may never play guitar again is like me announcing that I may never break dance again."

Must be a fairly competent break dancer then.
posted by eustacescrubb at 10:28 PM on January 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well it makes a good template to borrow liberally from (aka shamelessly rip off).
posted by mazola at 9:42 PM on January 4, 2015


If the worst thing you can say about his public persona is he seems like a prick because he helps too many people he is a two faced tax dodging wanker...
posted by biffa at 4:26 AM on January 9, 2015


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