Sir Bono: the Knight Who Fled From His Own Debate - U2 Feedback

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Old 03-19-2009, 08:08 PM   #1
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Sir Bono: the Knight Who Fled From His Own Debate

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As CounterPunch and Rock and Rap Confidential disclosed in September, last May U2’s Bono confronted Irish journalist Gavin Martin and myself in the lobby of Dublin’s Merrion Hotel. He asked what I’d been working on. I said “the premise that celebrity politics has been a pretty much complete failure.” Bono replied that he wanted to debate the topic in public. He reiterated the challenge the next evening. The witnesses included U2’s manager Paul McGuinness and my wife, Barbara Carr, among others.

I made sure that Sirius Satellite Radio, which was to broadcast the debate, knew about Bono’s invitation. By mid-June, U2’s New York office confirmed the plan, asking only that it be delayed until U2 finished recording its next album. I kept it public via RRC and my Sirius show, Kick Out the Jams.

In November, U2 manager Paul McGuinness rang me. After some brief personal palaver—I like Paul even though I know he’s alluded to me as a “Trotskyist” behind my back—McGuinness sheepishly said “Bono has asked me to ask you if he can withdraw” from the debate.
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So listen, Bono, if you decide to suck it up and face me, I’m still available. I can’t win a debate, we both know that, and why you’d want to continue to look feeble and cowardly when you have virtually nothing to lose… well, that’s another question I suppose you’ll never be asked.

It doesn’t mean that those questions are going to go away. Maybe for the tamed tigers of the American pop press, but not for me, or for those people in the streets of Dublin calling you a tax cheat, or for the Africans who feel insulted by your ignorance of their lives, or for that matter, the fans who wonder why you insist on siding continually, if slyly, with the powerful against the powerless.

CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

The bit implying Bono might be a racist because he interrupted Andrew Mwenda's speech seems unwarranted (it is probably closer to the truth to say Bono just has no real willingness to listen to alternative points of view on Africa, regardless of race or colour of skin of the person expressing them) - but otherwise, I pretty much agree with this hard-hitting article.
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Old 03-19-2009, 08:21 PM   #2
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How does one define "celebrity politics" ?
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Old 03-19-2009, 08:50 PM   #3
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How does one define "celebrity politics" ?
how about "yeah, i know i'm being used, but i'm using him too"... when bono speaks of meeting former president george bush?

i think that's a good start.

really interesting article.
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Old 03-19-2009, 09:01 PM   #4
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That is a good start.
Maybe Bono didn't feel like getting slammed about being used.
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Old 03-19-2009, 09:07 PM   #5
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I read this article too, and as a matter of fact was going to email Marsh about it. I think the whole article sounded like a guy who hyped up the fact that he would have this debate with Bono on air and now looks like someone with pie on his face. He sounds like a brat who didn't get his way. Like a lover scorned coming out for revenge.
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Old 03-19-2009, 09:13 PM   #6
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Old 03-19-2009, 09:14 PM   #7
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Yeah, that too!
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Old 03-20-2009, 12:43 AM   #8
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Kinda sounds like one of those kids on Call of Duty 4. "Why dont you come play me one on one and I'll show you how shitty you really are!" meanwhile I dont play that often, dont have a microphone that I can talk back into and dont really give a shit.
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Old 03-20-2009, 07:36 AM   #9
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It seems to me. To be more of a personal attack, than a debate. But, then again, there are some cultural differences.
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Old 03-20-2009, 07:52 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by JCOSTER View Post
I read this article too, and as a matter of fact was going to email Marsh about it. I think the whole article sounded like a guy who hyped up the fact that he would have this debate with Bono on air and now looks like someone with pie on his face. He sounds like a brat who didn't get his way. Like a lover scorned coming out for revenge.
While I think there may have been a degree of that, is there nothing in that article that you perhaps thought about or agreed with? Granted, we can't exactly know for sure what's on Bono's mind and I'd like to think he has better intentions than were suggested in the article, but it's difficult, at least you know, as a U2 fan, to read that and not feel some dismay.
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Old 03-20-2009, 08:52 AM   #11
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I said “Sure.” McGuinness expressed gratitude that I was taking it so well.

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Old 03-20-2009, 08:52 AM   #12
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After reading the article again, I can say that Marsh is just a cry baby, why doesn't Bono come and play with me? It's like the kid in the playground that says bad things about you because you won't let him play kickball with you.

The part about asking Africans if Bono can speak for them is absurd. Ask the people that Bono's causes helped if they want him to continue.

Anyway, the one thing I do disagree on Bono being part owner of Pandemic/Bioware, producers of Mercenaries 2. I don't like video games that resort to killing etc. Even when I first heard of this I didn't agree with it.

But to bring up things that happened with Billy Graham etc. in 1966 when Bono himself was only 6 years old is ridiculous.

IMO Marsh was just trying to save his face.
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Old 03-20-2009, 09:21 AM   #13
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Well, Bono asked if he could have the debate. It would have been better if he first thought whether he had time for that debate and then asking for it, instead of how things went here.
But to make a fuss over that is a little much either, I think.
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Old 03-20-2009, 10:42 AM   #14
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It would have definitely been an interesting and fun debate but terrible timing with the album/promo/tour so can't really say I blame Bono for backing out. I don't think the rest of the band would appreciate this level of overlap in publicity at a time when Bono should be focusing his public energy on being a member of U2.

That said, I'd still like to see Bono address some criticisms of celebrity politics at some point.
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Old 03-20-2009, 10:54 AM   #15
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It would have definitely been an interesting and fun debate but terrible timing with the album/promo/tour so can't really say I blame Bono for backing out. I don't think the rest of the band would appreciate this level of overlap in publicity at a time when Bono should be focusing his public energy on being a member of U2.

That said, I'd still like to see Bono address some criticisms of celebrity politics at some point.
I agree. I'm sure this is not the first time Bono's backed out of something, lol! And for all everyone complains about him needing to put the band first, I guess it makes sense.
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