Turned Against In The Dark: U2 Superfans & the Scapegoating of Julie Taymor
March 6, 2012 · Print This Article
Some can do no wrong. And no one can do any wrong quite like Bono and The Edge.
Criticism of theater, opera, and film director Julie Taymor by the overly biased U2 fan community: is this the primary reason that Bono and Edge are allowed to delude themselves with the notion that they did no wrong in the ugly divorce from the Spider-Man ex-Director?
Do we as fans sell the false narrative because it fuels and justifies our disdain for anyone who dares to go against the unblemished perfection of the U2 lead singer and guitarist? Overly protective U2 fans don’t want their heroes’ anywhere near human or even mere celebrity status—where sometimes ego, pride, and ambition take over. Taymor is Judas in the haters’ mind, the woman who betrayed Bono and The Edge.
New reports and published e-mails both claim Julie Taymor accused Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark producers including Bono and The Edge of making her a scapegoat to appease investors anxious about poor reviews and lack of financial success during the play’s previews. Taymor was booted when the budget soared and delays escalated fears of investors. Now, reports are out in which Bono is described as attending a crucial meeting drunk on beer with a bevy of supermodels. This meeting came a few days before Taymor was ousted by Bono and Edge themselves before using her firing as a launching pad for a second chance with the press and the Broadway public.
I don’t hate Bono or The Edge. I love U2. I’ve seen them in every tour since Elevation and have accumulated more air miles seeing them live than one can imagine. But to say that Bono and The Edge weren’t graceful in tough times and didn’t act according to what they sometimes preach needs to be said by fans—and seen as true by superfans.
In theatrical terms, Julie Taymor is a Michael Jordan. Taymor has received many accolades including two Tony Awards, and Emmy and even an Academy Award nomination. Her biggest mainstream hit, The Lion King is Broadway’s seventh longest-running show in history. Unfortunately, people forget that the play almost never reached the six month mark after a slow start in attendance compared with expectations from Disney. Sound familiar?
Bono and Edge more than anyone else, should know that art sometimes takes time to grow into its potential. They have no excuse to let an original artistic piece reach its climax. After all, aren’t these the same guys who gave time and air to their struggles in 1991 to eventually make Achtung Baby?
By not only not sticking to Taymor’s vision, but then using their public voice and goodwill to chastise her in the public arena, the U2 leaders showed an ugly side to their personality: a side one doesn’t usually see in Bono’s documentaries in Africa or while The Edge is helping save New Orleans. The side where manipulation and reputation mean more than everything. Even loyalty.
And sure, Spider-Man is now an economic success. But at what cost? The unique artistic vision of Taymor was sabotaged for a kid’s friendly, popcorn-style family musical about as artistic as an episode of The Jersey Shore. Maybe if Bono and Edge follow through on their artistic instincts, we will see another Joshua Tree, but don’t let your super fandom convince you otherwise: Bono and Edge didn’t act the way they taught us: with honor. –Jaime Rodriguez, Contributing Writer Follow Jaime on Twitter: @Jaimearodriguez