Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Pro Bono Life Imitates Art

Given that this is not an elaborate hoax coming from the U2 tricksters, the AP certainly have a superbly timed news piece which reports that U2 front singer and leading good cause crusader Bono has had some difficult times balancing the Band with the Mission:
LONDON, England (AP) -- Rock star Bono said Saturday that his commitment to campaigning against poverty caused tensions within his band, U2. The musician said that, at one point, he feared his commitment to the anti-poverty cause might force him out of the band. "They (the band) are hugely supportive spiritually and financially of the work I do, but they are in a rock 'n 'roll band, and the first job of a rock 'n 'roll band is not to be dull," Bono told British Broadcasting Corp. radio. "So we have to be very careful about just letting me go too far."

(...) Bono acknowledged that his campaigning had sometimes "raised eyebrows" among his fellow band members. "When I do my rant on making poverty history, I have got Larry Mullen, our drummer, behind me looking at his watch, timing me." "There was one point when I thought `I'm going to be thrown out of the band for this stuff."' ...
What we have here is a classic case of life imitating art - the magicians at the Onion published the self-same story in their Dec 7 issue:
Rest Of U2 Perfectly Fine With Africans Starving

SAN FRANCISCO—Rock band U2, currently on tour in North America, is well-known for its human-rights advocacy, particularly its ongoing campaign to eradicate poverty in Africa. Less known to fans of the Irish supergroup, however, is that the lion's share of these efforts are made by lead singer Bono. The three other U2 members are perfectly okay with the dismal plight of Africa's poor.

"Yeah, that Africa stuff is Bono's thing," The Edge said. "I don't mind if he pursues other interests, but I really try to focus on the guitar riffs that give U2 its characteristic sound." (...) In 2002, Bono started an organization called Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa to raise awareness of the deep health and economic crises that cripple much of the continent. His fellow bandmates, however, do not lose any sleep over the debt crisis facing many African nations.

"If I could wave a magic wand and cure Africa's problems, I would do that," drummer Larry Mullen Jr. said. "But someone has to take care of the more practical, day-to-day stuff that Bono doesn't really bother with. Like, for example, how's the next album going to sound? How're we going to keep our live act fresh? I can't tell you how many millions of decisions go into making one Elevation tour." Mullen added: "You don't win 14 Grammys feeding Africans." (...)

During live concerts, U2 audiences are treated to a stunning audiovisual experience, with Bono periodically giving his opinion on social and world events between songs. During these interludes, the rest of U2 is often conspicuously silent.

"When Bono starts telling the audience how messed up the world can be and how we should work together to make things better, I usually just zone out," Mullen said.
Heh! Nothing much to make sense of, except maybe stating that political satire is an artform requiring honed analytical skills and a finely adjusted set of sensors deployed deep into the public consciousness. Satire is mostly funny because it is partially true or at least probable.

Which is also why it is essential to a well-functioning democratic public sphere.

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