Wholeness, Contradictions, Hypocrisy, ZooTV!?!?! - U2 Feedback

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Old 05-16-2002, 10:30 PM   #1
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Wholeness, Contradictions, Hypocrisy, ZooTV!?!?!

"As a person, as a performer, you're looking for wholeness. On a spiritual level, I think that's God's design for us. Wholeness. And that often amounts to embracing contradictions. So we started to mine our own hypocrisy, rather than throwing stones at the political system, as we did in the '80s." -- Bono, 2000, on Zoo TV

I recently found this quote by Bono on his thoughts 11 years later on what was ZooTV. But it also gives further insight as to the band's intentions and motivation behind the U2 of the early 90's...Any further thoughts, insights, further questions as to Bono's take on that period of the band's career as found in this quote?

Chris

[This message has been edited by spanisheyes (edited 05-16-2002).]
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Old 05-17-2002, 09:02 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally posted by spanisheyes:
"Wholeness. And that often amounts to embracing contradictions. So we started to mine our own hypocrisy, rather than throwing stones at the political system, as we did in the '80s." -- Bono, 2000, on Zoo TV
I really have been quite fascinated by the whole ZooTV period this past year, after sort of internally "making up" with U2 after the 90s. It is now so clear to me that I completely *did* *not* *get* what they were doing.

If we'd had the internet and I'd been able to read boards like these, and get an explanatory article or analysis every week or so, it would have been easier, I guess. But just hearing AB and seeing an occasional writeup didn't motivate me to go as deep inside it as I would have needed to to love it the way I do now. So I just said, "Oh, I guess I don't like this new stuff."

I had no idea the Fly was a character, or that MacPhisto was out of the Screwtape letters, or that Bono didn't *like* these alter egos....

Anyway. The sense of admitting and embracing your own hypocrisy is very powerful, as is the huge amount of what deconstructionists call "Play" and the political agenda. Like, think about the MTV "Outside Broadcast" special with all the clips intercut, with Bush alternating with Saddam Hussein, the newscaster spouting gibberish, etc. It is jaw-droppingly brilliant, I think.

And that supremely religious question: "What do you want?"
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Old 05-17-2002, 11:27 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by mebythesea:
And that supremely religious question: "What do you want?"
This made me think of all the other brilliantly spliced images and words that flashed across the screens during ZooTV (notably during EBTTRT) A lot of those images/words had to do with sin and indulging in commercialization, the whole "me" ideology people operate(d) by. This is interesting in context with Bono saying they were "embracing their own hypocrisies," in the sense that they are human (a big shock coming after the "religious" Johsua Tree era) and sometimes Not humble and prone to temptation etc just as much as the next person- and maybe want to have that right to not be all humble! And do fans/people like the danger/craziness more out of a rock band because it is comfortable and that is what they expect? Their hypocricies are telling other people what to do/not to do but are also wrestling with their own temptations of sex, drugs, violence.

I've been reading that 'What's So Amazing About Grace' book and just hit this great part.. about how God never understood why humans messed up the way they did, etc, and in order *to* understand that, sent Jesus down to Earth to be tempted, to feel like we did, to face the world as we do.. and as God he never strayed the way humans do. That is an amazing and intimidating fact, I think. And in relation (as I am rambling..) I think for Bono maybe all that pressure was intimidating and a burden - not to live up to Jesus, but to live up to Jesus in the Public's eyes. And so he threw a loop out there......... AND in a way, they never really *did* stray, because although they dressed like rock stars and got attitudes, it was a mockery. If it had lasted for longer than Zooropa, then I may have to say the monster did get them in the end.. but I think they kept it off pretty well.

Also, how about "The devil you know is safer than the devil you don't know" and perhaps by acknowledging and jeering at all that r'n'r stuff, they were keeping their own "devil" close by.


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Old 06-04-2002, 12:06 PM   #4
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This quote that I read recently fits in perfectly with this thread (which i love btw and encourage more people to contribute! lol)

"To become a legend, creating a myth is half the work"
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Old 06-04-2002, 02:08 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by mebythesea

If we'd had the internet and I'd been able to read boards like these, and get an explanatory article or analysis every week or so, it would have been easier, I guess. But just hearing AB and seeing an occasional writeup didn't motivate me to go as deep inside it as I would have needed to to love it the way I do now. So I just said, "Oh, I guess I don't like this new stuff."
I think the same could be said about a lot of people who turned away from the band when AB came out.
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Old 06-06-2002, 07:32 AM   #6
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Bom dia!

You know Chris, things used to reach us here later than, lets say, US and Europe, at that time, without this amazing stuff that is Internet. So although I bought Achtung Baby on the first week when it came out here I only got to know and see what was the ZOO TV extravaganza later as well. And I felt mesmerized, I felt like drowning, it was a bit of a shock, but I loved it, I loved it all.

That said, its quite obvious that it took me even more time to really get what was going on, why so radical changes in attitudes and approach, once you think of Rattle and Hum and Joshua Tree conceptions. I think it was Bono who said that Achtung Baby was the sound of four men chopping down the Joshua Tree, right? It says it all for me. Their beliefs were intact, but they hadnt found what they were looking for, being righteous and lets say, quite innocent. And they grew up. They felt disappointed, they felt like their search needed to keep on going further, that they should dive into themselves and question the world where they were living in, on another way. So they stopped being righteous and started being cyinical.

And you know what? Frankly, Im glad that this sort of delay hapenned to me, for I was much more mature to understand and appreciate ZOO TV for what it was, the most daring move U2 has ever taken.
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Old 06-06-2002, 08:50 AM   #7
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Interesting...

Quote:
Originally posted by oliveu2cm
This quote that I read recently fits in perfectly with this thread (which i love btw and encourage more people to contribute! lol)

"To become a legend, creating a myth is half the work"
Where did you read that?
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Old 06-09-2002, 12:17 AM   #8
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wow, mebythesea, you took the words right out of my mouth

Quote:
It is now so clear to me that I completely *did* *not* *get* what they were doing.

If we'd had the internet and I'd been able to read boards like these, and get an explanatory article or analysis every week or so, it would have been easier, I guess. But just hearing AB and seeing an occasional writeup didn't motivate me to go as deep inside it as I would have needed to to love it the way I do now. So I just said, "Oh, I guess I don't like this new stuff."



me too...i ran away screaming! The whole "new" U2 of the 90s completely freaked me out...I wasn't ready for it. (I am NOW of course, blargh) If I had seen MacPhisto, I don't know *what* I would have done! well 11 years and LOTS of growing up later, I finally have the spiritual and intellectual capacity to grasp the irony and 'method of Bono's madness' that eluded me when I was a mere 'fan.' And it IS brilliant in thought and production - I'm just wondering of the masses were all in the same boat, and only understood it with 20/20 hindsight. I never got to see any of the 90s shows, but if ever a time machine were invented, and knowing what I know now....

Quote:
And that supremely religious question: "What do you want?"
Amen to that....every time I hear that part of Zooropa, it kind of gives me chills....

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Old 06-12-2002, 04:59 PM   #9
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Question

Quote:
Originally posted by mebythesea

And that supremely religious question: "What do you want?"
Forgive my ignorance, not to mention inquisitiveness, but could you explain that? I mean, how is the question religious?
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Old 06-12-2002, 05:39 PM   #10
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Re: Question

Quote:
Originally posted by dizzy


Forgive my ignorance, not to mention inquisitiveness, but could you explain that? I mean, how is the question religious?
Dizzy...I believe your question is quite valid. In fact, it was this very philosophy that had many U2 fans wondering exactly what U2 were embracing, as well as with Achtung Baby and Zooropa, trying to convey to their fans, as well as themselves through the whole ZooTV spectacle, including The Fly, the Mirrorball Man, and MacPhisto.

In the statement, "What Do You Want?", we find a basic theological, and as mentioned, supremely religious question. Because it is believed that what you want, and what you get, you will embrace. U2 made a radical departure from the way they approached the media and their music by being forthright, both politically and spiritually.

However, in the beginning of the 90's, and with the making of Achtung Baby, U2 began to ask the question "What do you want?", and though appearing ambigious, it really was U2's way of making their fans investigate for themselves what they really believed in. And they were willing to embrace their own beliefs and make proof of them, along with their belief's contradictions as a way to examine if their beliefs stood up to the very situations both realistic or even through a character like MacPhisto being a devil's advocate to bring the truth to the forefront, and mining the hypocrisies that the band saw within themselves as Bono mentioned.

So, we have to think that actually Bono and company where asking that very question to themselves first. In seeking wholeness, they needed to exorcise the very demons that kept them from that which they desired, and that is what I believe we all desire, and that is wholeness.

Lastly, I think the question is supremely religious, but God gives us a free will when He in turn asked that question to all of us as well..."What do you want?" The importance of the question is in how we decide to answer that will determine the quality of this life, as well as the life to come.

Chris
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Old 06-13-2002, 08:19 AM   #11
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Re: Re: Question

Chris has already answered this as well as I could. To me, "what do you want" is sort of the primal question God puts to us. Do you want your way, or my way? You think you want lots of TV screens and glitz and money and excitement -- is that what you really want, deep down?

I also think it's a theme Bono returns to again and again -- say his confession in Discotheque live - "I want heaven, heaven in my heart, I know I want heaven, heaven in my heart... but I'll take what I can get when it's all that I can find."
Or AIWIY.
Or MOFO -- no matter how many other places you look, nothing but God can "fill that God shaped hole."
Or Surrender -- do really want those "lovers and lies and bright blue eyes," or do you more deeply want to "die to yourself one day" so you can live in God?
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Old 06-13-2002, 08:53 AM   #12
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:)

Chris and mebythesea, thanks very much for your answers. I really appreciate it!
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Old 06-13-2002, 12:00 PM   #13
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Oh my... I've missed this place. Don't know why but it always gives me the chills and tears in my eyes when I go in here. Ok, this had nothing to do with the thread itself.
It's just so amazing and comforting to see that there are other people that see more into U2 then just the music. It also makes me realize, when I sometimes get lost, WHY U2 are so big in my life.

An input to the topic. Zoo TV 93 was my first U2 show. I started to like them the year before. I had never been to a real rockshow when I entered that stadium. After the show I was just amazed, puzzled and in seventh heaven. MacPhisto was a fun part of the show, nothing more to me. The years between 93 and today has brought the info and insight to what it was I really got to see that night and now when I watch the Sidney video it suddenly (not really but you know what I mean) is so much more then just the rockshow I went to 93.
To hear Bono comment on something that with and ordinary rockband would be old, boring, "worn out", ten years later, he still has things to explain to us to, as he says, give us the wholeness of what it was all about. It's amazing!

I'm in a sentimental mood today, can you see?

Good to be back in here, unfortunatly I have to leave soon again.
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Old 06-16-2002, 09:53 PM   #14
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I think that's a good assessment. The whole concept of Zoo Tv was embracing contradictions. That tour looked to show the hypocrisy in everyone, including the band. That led to the fly and to macphisto. By looking within themselves they came out better developed and more mature
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Old 06-18-2002, 01:02 AM   #15
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well, i've been grappling with a lot of my own contradictions lately, finding that i have a lot of them which i seem to accept out of laziness. i've been doing some soulcleaning lately (like spring cleaning, only no garage sale afterward) and have been feeling pretty empty as i find i haven't stocked my shelves with much meaning lately.

i've always understood zootv, though not really been able to explain it easily. i think it's because i have a really good knack for satire. i understand it very easily, and subsequently understood zootv easily. i liked its message so much. i have an extremely difficult time saying i'm a Christian. it rarely if ever crosses my lips. because i am very aware of what it comes across as to my peers, and well to the general public. it's funny how much it helped me get over my fear of being Christian, but it helped sooo much.

wholeness is interesting to me, as i can't remember the last time i've felt that. probably more than 10 years ago (which is sad seeing as i'm 18) *sigh* i got a lot of work ahead of me...
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Old 06-18-2002, 02:10 PM   #16
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O_O Look what I just found:

INTERVIEW WITH BONO: AUGUST 1993

Some of U2's Christian fans may have sensed the absence of the Lord on Achtung Baby, despite the presence of the song "Until the End of the World," which Bono once described as "a conversation between Jesus and Judas in the
Garden of Gethsemane." ("I kissed your lips and broke your heart...") Likewise in relation to ZOO TV, which probably presented a new set of questions from U2 rather than prescribing God as the answer.
"We deliberately kept the record for the most erotic form of love so as to almost exhaust it as a possibility, and I think that makes it a kind of
prayer, in a strange sort of way," says Bono, pausing and choosing his words carefully. "Edge's guitar solo in 'Love is Blindness' is a more eloquent prayer than anything I could write.
"You go through phases in your attempt to work out what it is you believe. And there was a period back in the early '80s where we lived a much more ascetic life and got a great grounding in the fundamentals of what Christianity could be. It wasn't the kind of Christianity that I loosely
grew up around. It wasn't particularly Catholic or Protestant, it was more the cutting edge of Christiantiy. And I'm really glad I have that base.
"At the time we probably were extreme, because you are extreme in that honeymoon period. And you're always extreme when you're defensive. So I suppose we did build a wall around us and jsut got on with what we saw as our faith. But I do remember [manager Paul] McGuinness saying to me, even back then, 'Look, I'm not sure I share your faith but I know it's the most important question to you. And that an artist, a writer, is going to have to address that in whatever way you see fit. And if you want to do so you'll get a lot of stick, but go for it.' And we did so. And we did get a lot of stick."
Surely Bono himself, when he sees news reports about atrocities in Bosnia, for example, must have doubts about the existence of God.
"I'm sure of one thing," he replies. "Like we say on Zooropa, 'There's nothing certain/ That's for certain. But if I was certain of anything, I'm certain that you can't pin our actions, the actions of man in places like Bosnia, on God. THAT is our final arrogance, that we balme God for our own state. Most people think we got kicked out of the Garden of Eden. I'm not
so sure. I think we kicked God out of it. And what I don't see is evidence of God in man. There is enough food, for example, but we just won't share it. We always see this planet as belonging to God--I think it belongs to us. We probably stole it from God. But you can try and give bits of it back in any way you can."
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Old 06-19-2002, 02:56 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by oliveu2cm
It wasn't the kind of Christianity that I loosely
grew up around. It wasn't particularly Catholic or Protestant, it was more the cutting edge of Christiantiy. And I'm really glad I have that base.
i don't know if anyone else here has this kind of base. i come from an EXTREMELY irish family, you can tell just by looking at me (uhhh and my name [shannon] and my claddagh ring and my quick wit and matching temper) that i'm pretty darn irish. what's funny is that the only reason my family ended up in america was (like soooo many others) the protestant/catholic feuds (well, one family came cos the famine). each set of my grandparents intermarried. my grandfather on one side, himself a catholic, married a protestant swede...and God forbid they be able to live in peace, so they came here. same thing only minus one swede on the other side. then my parents married and did the same thing. basially i'm going on third generation bastardization. but what it DOES offer me is a good approach to religion in general.

it caused me to be so so SO angry with my family for the longest time. i, a child, didn't understand that my dad couldn't talk to parts of my mother's family and vice versa because they were slightly different, i never saw that reasoning. of course, i still don't...anyhew, what i'm getting at here is that maybe that's why i'm all about zootv, because it embraces a lot of contradictions that are in general accepted by the public. it pointed them out with a huge neon arrow with the context of "what the hell are we thinking accepting these things into our lives?". ridding myself of as many contradictions as i can i find i am a more free person and am considerably more satisfied with my lifestyle and the choices i make, i feel, are solid ones.

ok, so that was a really long schpiel about stuff...i hope some of it made some sense to someone.
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