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Old 02-09-2002, 10:17 AM   #1
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"Bono's biggest sellout"

Check out this nonsense article in the Montreal Gazette: http://www.youtwo.net/news_archives.adp?newsid=15520

I generally don't reply to these diatribes but the e-mail was prominently displayed and I felt I should. This is what I sent:

Mr. Rodriguez,

I apologize that you find it cringeworthy that Bono should accompany the likes of O'Neil, Helms, and Gates, but your cynicism and scorn for Bono's work--which extends far beyond their latest "vanilla" album--has clouded your judgement.
Bono has always been an idealist, but as of late he has melded this idealism with reality. He recently accompanied Harvard economist Jeffrey Sachs--an expert in the technical aspects of HIV/AIDS and economic development--on a research trip to Africa to examine the problem first-hand. Sachs and Bono, along with various activists, are actively campaigning for hugely increased foreign aid for health, as outlined in the recent WHO-sponsored Commission on Macroeconomics and Health. Bono is no Elizabeth Taylor in this respect--not only does he understand the problem, but he is instrumental in inducing a needed shift in public support.
I offer you this information because it is clear from your article that you comprehend neither the depth of the problem, nor the role that Bono plays in the fight against these global issues. While you still innocently cling to "the rebelliousness and iconoclasm - call it punk - of rock'n'roll," Bono has arrived at the realization that he may have to engage in decidedly uncool activities to raise awareness and to raise money for the problem--if that means throwing back a few with O'Neil or become a symbolic "friend" of Helms.
Though you claim that you're "not young any more," I'd still suggest that you do your homework next time.

[This message has been edited by mug222 (edited 02-09-2002).]

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Old 02-09-2002, 10:24 AM   #2
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well done. very calm, clear and eloquent, I congratulate you.

let us know if he replies to you...

[This message has been edited by The Wanderer (edited 02-09-2002).]

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Old 02-09-2002, 10:28 AM   #3
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Originally posted by The Wanderer:

let us know if he replies to you...
Will do; thanks for the kind words.

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Old 02-09-2002, 10:33 AM   #4
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Interferencers - taking down ignorant journos one email at a time

[This message has been edited by HelloAngel (edited 02-09-2002).]
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Old 02-09-2002, 11:49 AM   #5
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Sure the article was harsh, and wrong at some aspects but the funny thing was that when I read it, I found out that I actually agreed with some of it. Whether I like that feeling or not. When I watched the halftime show I felt completely alienated from U2. Really. They were mainstream. Worse than mainstream. Trying to embrace everyone and trying to please everyone. That is everyone=America these days. Don't get me wrong. 11th September was the worst tragedy in the Western world in a long, long time but what on earth has U2 to do with that?! Is it their call to comfort everyone marked by the tragedy? Maybe its due to the fact that I'm not American but I really don't get it. In my opinion U2 should do what they are really good at. I don't mind politics and music being mixed but not on the cost of the latter...Where's U2's "we want to fuck up the mainstream"??!! - and being ahead of the game instead of - sorry - kissing everyone asses?!?

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is though nothing is a miracle. The other is though everything is a miracle". - A. Einstein
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Old 02-09-2002, 12:06 PM   #6
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Good job Mug.

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Old 02-09-2002, 12:12 PM   #7
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elevation, I really don't see a problem with U2 paying tribute to victims of tragedy, they've always done this sort of thing, it's unusual that this time it happens to be the United States; frankly, U2 was asked to do this, did you want them to turn it down and leave it to Janet Jackson (the 2nd choice), I don't understand the relevance of your argument about 'fucking up the mainstream,' did you want U2 to go out and play Lemon and Discotheque, would that have been appropriate? I'm sure that would have fucked things up, but wouldn't that have made U2 look like idiot fucking jerks with no sense of history or respect?? yeah, probably, and that's something that certainly isnt U2

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Old 02-09-2002, 12:40 PM   #8
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February 9, 2002
From The Montreal Gazette:

Bono's biggest sellout: Super Bowl show was the final blow to U2 singer's
waning integrity

What's wrong with this picture?

Jesse Helms, the U.S. "Senator No" who turned his back on Nelson Mandela,
says to Bono: "You'll always have a friend here."

Paul O'Neil, the U.S. treasury secretary who said of Enron's wicked demise,
"Companies come and go," calls Bono "my good friend."

Synergy abounds: the pope swipes his wraparound shades for the ultimate
photo-op, and Bono dubs his high-powered pal Bill Gates "the pope of
software." Cap backward, deep in thought with Jean Chretien, Bono pats
Canadians on the heads for leading the good fight.

What can a poor boy do, except sing in a rock'n'roll band? You can't blame
Bono for earnestly trying to "engage" America on its own pedestal, can

At the risk of sounding "cold," as thin-skinned Gen-X parlance has it,
consider that Bono might be suffering from delusions of grandeur.

"Heal thyself" is not exactly a rallying cry for the planet's fattest cats
that Bono hobnobs with, men with big cojones and hearts of steel.

They play Bono like a violin, establishing bleeding-heart "cred" while
reshaping the world in their corporate image.

He's the little bad boy invited to the grownups' parties because they
know how to "handle" him. He's the "hep" conversation piece.

If rock is symbolic of rebellion, Bono is blasphemous to its spirit. You
pay the price for breathing the rarefied wind of corporate globalism at the

And so pharmaceutical companies aren't really greedy pikers picking the
pockets of the sick, says Bono, eschewing "easy bad guys and good

Sure as sin, he's quick with the flip caviar-encrusted quip: "The great thing
about hanging out with Republicans is that it's very unhip for both of
us. There's a parity of pain here." Right on, dude.

Internationalist Tendencies

Questioning Bono's motives is another matter. The pop star evidently believes
he can walk into any room and change the world. But, I wonder, isn't this all
about the Benjamins?

Consider U2 in a nutshell: having marched to the top of Reagan's era with
anthemic rock climaxed by The Joshua Tree, they shifted toward
internationalist tendencies with 1991's Achtung Baby.

Their interesting - if occasionally belaboured - experiment in postmodern
iconography (Zooropa, Pop) eventually alienated U.S. fans and critics
("irony-ensconced rock'n'roll Liberace," wrote Salon.com). Uh-oh.

Realizing they were starting to get a little long in the tooth - average age
40.5 - they decided to make one last killing: All That You Can't Leave
Behind, safe as milk. Voila: it's a Beautiful Day ("Don't let it get away"),
as bland and unprovocative as NSYNC.

Relentlessly touring with something called Elevation - post-irony
earnestness, or cynical put-on? - the Irishmen became America's band.

Ten million copies and eight Grammy nominations later, and hey dude, U2's
invited to America's ultimate keg party, the Super Bowl. Bono hypes:
"We are here to bring peace to Brady and Bledsoe, to bring peace to the
AFL and NFL." Beavis or Butt-head couldn't have said it any dumber.

On a heart-shaped stage - first rock band featured as a solo act at a Super
Bowl halftime! - there's Bono braying a creepy New Age mantra: "What
you don't have, you don't need it now." Try telling that to the hungry,
homeless and infirm, or those Enron suckers suddenly out of jobs and

There's Bono wailing Where the Streets Have No Name, backed by a list
of U.S. Sept. 11 victims' names scrolling upward in alphabetical order.
Then the cathartic moment: Bono, lump in throat, opened his black jacket
to reveal a Stars and Stripes lining. (Did he buy the thing off the

This gesture cemented his status as Honorary American, free, free at last
to join the nauseatingly long list of 9/11 profiteers.

It's cool to co-opt and sell out. Indeed, the flimflam that passed as the
U.S. economy over the last decade - call it a shell game lining the pockets of
a few at the expense of everyone else - was hyped as a 1960s-styled
"people's revolution" (a scam scabrously and presciently chronicled in
Thomas Frank's superb screed One Market Under God).

Bono knows the lesson: Davos tycoons rule!

I'm not young any more. This geezer is into music other than rock (jazz,
classical, world beats), yet I believe deeply in the rebelliousness and
iconoclasm - call it punk - of rock'n'roll.

I still get a thrill discovering - or stumbling across - some new young band
that typifies these qualities, just as Jerry Lee Lewis's Whole Lotta Shakin'
Going On still sends shivers up my spine.

But corporate sounds - and the message of "Consume this" and "Show
me the money" - turn my stomach.

That means U2, Bono.

- Juan Rodriguez, former music critic for the Montreal Star and The Gazette,
has been writing about popular culture for numerous publications
since 1966. His E-mail address is jrodxxx@hotmail.com.

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Old 02-09-2002, 12:49 PM   #9
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Well there is the E-mail, and I'm going to send him one to educate him a little about U2. Its sad to see these people in the media that have jobs when they are so uninformed about the issues they write about!
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Old 02-09-2002, 01:09 PM   #10
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You know what really gets me? And I am not even American, but I do live in Canada, so maybe my proximitey plays a factor, but- why is it ok for other nations to mourn over tragic events and not the US?
A huge part of the reason U2 are being called sellouts is because they are showing compassion for the victims of 9/11 and because this tragedy happened in America. I know there are a lot of people in a lot of nations that dislike America beyond words, but what people seem to fail to see here, is the fact that these were people too, just like anywhere else. America didn't deserve what happened, no one did. Politics and Bush aside, the people are just trying to get past all this, through patriotism, hope and love. I say if U2 gave the people of America, just a little bit more hope, and a little bit more love with their 'patriotic' performance at the Super Bowl, then I say more power to them! Sure people slag Bono and his American Flag jacket. Sure they say his blatant show of support for America is 'selling out' and goes against their ideals of the 80's. I say bullocks to all of it.
U2 are performers and that's what they do- perform. But they are also people too, with a lot of compassion. And that all aside, they are very political, and have never stopped being so.
You can show compassion for a country that has experienced a great loss, while at the same time not agreeing with everything they stand for. So how in the hell are U2 sellouts?
It irks me, because I had to listen to an entire class full of ignorant people on Thursday night yelling such accusations, and all I could do was keep my mouth shut, because such stupidity and narrowmindedness is not worth fighting with.
Sorry for the rant. Just needed to get this off my chest.
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Old 02-09-2002, 01:22 PM   #11
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What class was this that you were at on Thursday night? Was all that hostility really directed towards U2?
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Old 02-09-2002, 01:31 PM   #12
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Well believe it or not, the class was Evolution of Public Relations, but we spent the first 1/2 talking about current events and such, and YEAH, all that hostility was directed at U2. Then they went on to hack down Paul and Mariah. Guess that's the cool thing to do.
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Old 02-09-2002, 03:16 PM   #13
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If anyone says U2 are selling out, just put on Passengers or Pop. That should shut them up for a while!

But seriously, a few points...

* How can U2 be deemed too patriotic when they aren't even American?
* As an outsider looking in, it does amuse me that certain Americans are getting upset by all this talk. The two main performers on the day were U2 and Paul McCartney. What do they both have in common? Yes, neither is American. Where were the American artists?
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Old 02-09-2002, 03:24 PM   #14
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Originally posted by STING2:
How old are the people in the class?
Anywhere from age 19-50+ The majority are 30-40, but what does that have to do with anything?

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Old 02-09-2002, 04:56 PM   #15
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I am canadian. (thanks to Molson that sounds pathetic!) Some people I work with were slagging the flag jacket too. Whatever. It's strange how a lot of canadians find it so uncool to show some support towards the US after 9/11. They think its all political. The real issue are the 3,000+ people who had families, dreams and futures. If Bono and the boys can't pay tribute to them without without being slagged we are really in trouble!
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Old 02-09-2002, 10:53 PM   #16
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It's a balancing act with U2 and it always has been. I worry sometimes that Bono is being used or patronized by a lot of the politicians he's associating with. I worry that the last album and tour are an almost frantic attempt to curry favor with casual American fans. I worry that U2 has become so obligatory over the last year that they've lost some of their impact. Hearing a U2 song should make you stop in your tracks and open your heart. It ought to be a revelation. But after appearances on David Letterman, Jay Leno, Saturday Night Live, the SuperBowl, Farmclub, the NBA halftime show, Total Request Live and God only knows how many other programs in Europe seeing U2 on tv has lost its impact. Isn't one of Bono's commandments for young bands, "Beware of Television for it minimizes what you do?"
A few things reassure me. 1.) The guys are smart and they learn from their mistakes.
2.) I actually really love ATYCLB and Elevation.
3.) U2's public face never stays the same for very long.

Hopefully U2 will be fucking up the mainstream again soon and the politicians will be falling all over themselves to disassociate themselves from Bono.

"I did not exchange pleasantries with that bozo Bono."
Jesse Helms 2003.

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Old 02-10-2002, 01:55 AM   #17
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From what I've learned about U2 in the last year and a half of my ultra-fandom, the boys have always had a thing for America which clearly goes beyond the mere business interests. So all this Superbowl/American jacket business is hardly surprising and I don't see it as jumping on a bandwagon of any kind.

I think that some fans make way too much deal of Bono's "fucking up the mainstream" speech. They've always said that they wanted to be the biggest band in the world and they want everyone to hear their music, not just their fans (despite Bono's "we don't need pop kids" comment, which IMO has also been blown way out of proportion just because it makes the "true" fans feel good and superior). I'm probably being unfair, but I do feel sometimes that some fans might be a bit too possessive of the band and their music.
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Old 02-10-2002, 02:02 AM   #18
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How old are the people in the class?
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Old 02-10-2002, 02:14 AM   #19
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I don't find it strange that they are on all these TV programs now. I'm like, they are finally getting back to the early days of the band when they did TV all the time in Ireland and Europe! TV is simply another way of promoting yourself just like MTV and radio.
I don't find ATYCLB mainstream at all!?!?! How could anyone think that? It is certainly not Teen POP, hip hop, R&B, or "Rap/Metal"! Thats mainstream. Writing songs that don't chase trends or worry about style, and are the raw product, is in a way alternative to what is heard on the radio today. Oh and about the whole roots thing, I dare anyone here to name another U2 album that sounds like ATYCLB.
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Old 02-10-2002, 05:35 AM   #20
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This Rodriguez guy is an idiot. He probably think the real "rebelliousness and iconoclasm" is found in Linkin Park or Limp Bizkit, who can only rant but can't rap on some angst that a five-year old can dish out.

How many bands have actually changed the world with rocknroll???

I bet, certainly, not the bands Rodriguez been listening to... "all that jazz" of his.

In the words of Bono,

Don't believe in Rodriguez
His type like a curse
Instant karma's going to get him
If I don't get him first
Don't believe in rock 'n' roll
Can really change the world
As it spins in revolution
It spirals and turns
I...I believe in love

Don't believe in the 60's
The golden age of pop
You glorify the past
When the future dries up
Heard a singer on the radio late last night
He says he's gonna kick the darkness
'til it bleeds daylight
I...I believe in love

I feel like I'm falling
Like I'm spinning on a wheel
It always stops beside of me
With a presence I can feel
I...I believe in love

God Part II


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