|Bono, Lead Singer of U2: Carping critics look very small in comparison. Photo by: Moritz Hager / Wikimedia|
What is with all this U2 bashing since the band decided to release their album in iTunes to coincide with the iPhone 6 launch?
Since then there has been a backlash, culminating in another great performer, Paul Brady, slamming the band for making it even harder for ordinary musicians to shop their wares. Social media is full of angry auteurs decrying what the band has done to launch their new album.
There is a high degree of Bono hatred in many of the comments, a sense that the Dublin performer has for far too long been too big for his high chair.
There is some classic Irish – and elsewhere – chip-on-both-shoulders stuff here. Bono is accused of everything from being a tax dodger to being obsessed with himself.
To which I say 'Good for him and his band mates.'
There was a time in America when Ireland meant thatched cottages and "Quiet Man" reruns. U2 was the first to smash that stereotype and gave us all some breathing room to be considered part of the modern world.
Bono and the boys could have grown drunk with riches, played bad boys all their working lives and still received the adulation and screaming-fans-everywhere treatment.
The fact that he decided he had a debt to repay for all his success and a moral obligation to use his fame to try and help starving Africa or peace in Bosnia seemed to offend a great number of people.
Sure he could adopt a hectoring tone when addressing the AIDS crisis; sure he often came across as too self-important.
But wasn’t it better he appeared so, addressing the global AIDS crisis or trying to make the world better for starving people or to remove crushing Third World debt from countries that could not afford to repay?
The alternative was a Rolling Stones style drift into irrelevancy with youthful rebellion songs being played by elderly men long since a parody of themselves.
Bono, The Edge and the other band members never fell into that trap. Even today, long past the time when band members their age are gone to seed or playing oldies but goldies the band retains a relevance and presence as the iPhone 6 launch proved.
I met him once, back in the band hotel in Manhattan after a Meadowlands concert. What struck me was how quickly the man who was a God on stage just an hour before was utterly down to earth, ordering pizza sipping a beer listening intently to a discussion on Northern Ireland.
I think he deserves not brickbats but a Nobel Prize for his efforts on behalf of the less well off. I think that would send a wonderful signal that the world of pop culture and the world of politics and philanthropy are not worlds apart
He has gone where few performers before or after him have gone and he will leave the world a better place if he never sings another note. How many of us can claim that? I think he is the outstanding Irishman of this generation.
He has been the man in the arena suffering the slings and arrows for decades now but soldiering on.
He once memorably described his critics as "cranks carping from the sidelines. A lot of them wouldn’t know what to do if they were on the field. They’re the party who will always be in opposition so they’ll never have to take responsibility for decisions because they know they’ll never be able to implement them.”
Amen to that I say.
Irish Voice Editorial