I will now kick off what will inevitably turn into me enthusiastically and maniacally raving about U2 for the foreseeable week or so.
But more importantly I’ll be looking to conquer the age-old question: is Bono an arrogant prick?
Well I think the title of this post accurately states which side of this argument I’m on. I’ve never met someone who hates Bono, but likes U2. I’ve also never met someone who likes Bono that doesn’t like U2. The two just go hand-in-hand, like when someone says they hate Bon Jovi, but are actually referring to Jon Bon Jovi. Obviously there’s a sense of connection between a band and its lead singer. Except for STP and Scott Weiland, for obvious reasons.
So I’ll start with a little disclaimer.
DISCLAIMER: Yes, I love U2. They’re one of my favorite bands, easily top 10. All That You Can’t Leave Behind may very well be my favorite album ever. I was absolutely ecstatic when I found out Songs of Innocence was dropped into my iTunes library for free. I love that album, and I believe it to be amongst the best of their work. Obviously since I love this band, I’m going to defend them and their lead singer/rhythm guitarist (those italics will make sense later), much in the same way I’d defend John Mayer as much more than the sappy prick who wrote “Your Body Is A Wonderland”. Since music is completely dependent on individual taste, I don’t care if someone else doesn’t like U2. I know a lot of people with strong opinions against U2. That’s fine. Just don’t say they “suck”, because that’s just not true. You just don’t like them. I don’t like Jay-Z or Kanye West, but I recognize their impact on the rap and hip-hop genres and understand the deeper meanings behind their masterful lyrics. Their music just isn’t for me, and I don’t say that they “suck”, because that also is not true.
But the aforementioned disconnect is possible. For example, I love Oasis but hate Liam Gallagher. Mainly because he really had nothing to do with their success. Noel wrote all the songs, played lead guitar, and sounded better on Unplugged when he filled in for his brother after an alleged tummy ache. Besides dressing up like John Lennon,
all he did was bitch about how rich and famous he was despite hating his brother. But that is for another time and place.
I’m going to focus on this post to Barstool Sports from last week. Had I not been knee-deep in all the Weezer thoughts from last week, I would have done this sooner. Because believe me, this post, as well as the comments section (ESPECIALLY THE COMMENTS SECTION) infuriated me. So we will now proceed with the reduction of this fine piece of garbage to its natural form.
But first, another disclaimer.
DISCLAIMER: I have been reading Barstool Sports for about two years. I always laugh, and I enjoy their content. The fact that I italicize the name of the blog means that I’m legitimizing them. I watch the “Barstool Rundown” every night, and I think it’s hilarious. I know that everything about this blog is meant to be taken in a largely satirical manner. As a journalism major, one of the reasons I can’t ever see myself seriously doing just a normal news job is because I look at everything through a scope of comedy. Yes, even the stuff that sounds bad, that would be controversial to make a joke about. Barstool Sports has fallen to public criticism in the past for comments such as, “if you’re wearing size six cut-off jeans, don’t you almost deserve to be raped?” (something along those lines, can’t find the post/video.) As bad as that sounds, it’s a joke. They aren’t promoting rape or “rape culture”, it’s just a joke. And I for one think the joke is funny, especially in the context it was originally taken from. Part of Dave Portnoy’s humor is acting like a completely self-absorbed prick (as he describes Bono), someone who puts a picture of his own face over his wife’s when they make love, just to stir up controversy, or “page views” as he puts it. He speaks so one-sided that it’s hilarious, kind of like Stephen Colbert. So I’m not writing this post to defame what might be the biggest blog in the country, a blog that has infused itself with my daily life, who’s logo I have on a flag in my dorm room, but rather to defend one of my idols. No harm in that. And while I’m undoubtedly falling into one of El Pres’ classic troll-induced pitfalls, I’m still going to go through with it. Viva La Stool.
So without further ado:
“Oh no, Bono is everybit [sic] the delusional self absorbed [sic] asshole that Kanye is.”
“Self absorbed [sic]”
Point taken. (I actually think this picture is hilarious though, it’s obviously a joke.)
But really? Is he though? Did Bono get an entire arena to boo what little self-esteem was left out of two paraplegics for not standing up? Has Bono ever stormed out of an award show because he didn’t win? Has Bono ever gone on stage after losing an award and explained why he should’ve won? Who has done all these things?
Obviously the antics I cited are barely scraping the surface. The closest thing Bono has done is this:
And that middle-finger was smooth “AF”, for my white, female readers.
Aside from the lack of spaces, commas and hyphens in that sentence, I think it about sums up the amount of prior knowledge going into this post.
“Yeah I know he does charity and shit, but that’s part of his gig. He does it because he thinks it makes him better than everybody else. He thinks it makes him a Saint. Just the prototypical I’m doing charity work, hey look at me and talk about how awesome I am guy. Just loves rubbing his charity work in your face.”
I’d hope someone worth $600 billion is giving some of it to charity. Dave Portnoy is worth $3 million, and he gives to charity too, not to mention all the money that Barstool Sports raises for charity from their merchandise sales. I think it’s good that people give to charity. When I (*inevitably*) have a lot of money, I probably will too. But why does this make Bono an asshole? Why can’t we just applaud people who give to charity? Yes, he’s going to get more media attention because of it, but that’s not his fault. That’s a problem with the media if anything. He didn’t sign up for that. He’s an ultra-successful rock star, and a songwriting genius. Having this status puts Bono in a position to promote charities, activism, and advocacy groups he’s involved in. I don’t know why that makes him a bad person. Say what you want about the ONE organization, but I don’t think helping people and spreading awareness are qualities that someone commonly referred to as a “douchebag” (excuse my French) possesses.
“There is literally no chance Bono won’t play guitar again. Zero chance. He’s just saying there is a chance so everybody can cry about how awful it is and throw a pity party for his ass. Well I’m not biting. Everything about that speech made me puke. The feeling bad for himself, the saying he was exercise boxing and cycling when he got hurt. The fact he views his body as an inconvenience. How he said his humorous bone was sticking through his leather jacket. (which it wasn’t) To him saying he cancelled all his public appearances so he could rehab for his 2015 tour. SHUT UP DUDE. You fell down. You got hurt. You’re getting better. No different than anybody else who can’t ride a bike.”
^ Coming from the same man who pulled his hamstring running a 40-yard dash. Even Rich Eisen did that unscathed. No different from anyone else who doesn’t stretch or exercise.
In my opinion, the fact that this one sentence, from a post on U2’s website that took me over half an hour to read, was nitpicked from the entire post is just as bad as the media magnifying Bono’s work with charities and activist organizations, as the argument is often made. Every single headline that was drawn up from this post has the “…it is not clear that I will ever play guitar again” quote in some capacity. Seriously, this was one sentence in one part of a 27-part post. It’s right smack in the middle of it too, and is not mentioned again.
These were Bono’s injuries after another biker crashed into him in Central Park in November: broken arm in six places, as well as fractures to his eye socket, hand and shoulder-blade. Surgeries included five-hour operation on his arm that required three metal plates and 18 screws. 18 SCREWS! He also had another surgery on his hand the next day, and will need “intensive and progressive therapy”. I’m not really trying to dramatize this, but it is kind of dramatic. I sawed two of fingers right up the prime meridian and had more needles stuck in me, stitches, and IVs than I can even count. And the intensive and progressive therapy I did was pretty monotonous, but that’s not even in the same league as this, especially compared to a 54-year-old man who isn’t getting any younger.
There’s some other problems with this post I’d like to point out before I move on to the comments section:
“There is literally no chance Bono won’t play guitar again.”
I’ll ignore the double negative for now, but I don’t think many people quite understand the mechanics of playing guitar. It’s not clear on which arm he injured what, but it doesn’t really matter. Whether it’s your fretting hand or your strumming hand, you’ve got to be able to stretch your fingers and utilize your arms and shoulder-blades. That might be pretty hard with three metal plates, 18 screws, and the possibility of permanent scars that could inhibit movement. Maybe he will play guitar again, but certainly not anytime soon.
“The fact he views his body as an inconvenience”
Uh, if you read the post on U2’s website, he didn’t say that. The Edge told Bono that he thinks Bono views his own body as an inconvenience. That’s what he wrote.
“…the saying he was exercise boxing and cycling when he got hurt”
Again, no. He said he got injured on his 50th birthday, four years ago, doing those things. He said he was doing them to make up for the excessive drinking he’d engaged in leading up to the big 5-0. On a side note, how could someone even write that sentence? Like, do you think he was cycling and boxing at the same time? Does that exist?
“How he said his humorous bone was sticking through his leather jacket. (which it wasn’t)”
How do you know? Were you there? Everything I’ve read about this incident so far does not indicate otherwise.
“No different than anybody else who can’t ride a bike.”
…He swerved so he wouldn’t hit another biker who rode out in front of him…
I think that about wraps up the reduction to rubble of the post itself. Now onto the comment section.
First, the funny, respectable comments.
I guess a little racist, but undeniably evoked a chuckle.
McDonalds is disgusting, but the McChicken and McNuggets are what keep me going back.
Some antisemitic motivations behind this one, but again made me chuckle.
I would’ve brought this up earlier, but I think this is a better place for it. How can someone praise people like Justin Bieber, and would even drive to NYC for the chance to hangout with Johnny Football, and think Bono is a jerk?
I’ll be able to confirm this come July. Anyone who hasn’t watched “Elevation Live in Boston 2001” and “U2 Go Home” should do so.
Thank you… “dana-bibles-midget-penis”? I’ll have to figure out how to blur these things. And I also don’t consider Kanye a musician. Maybe his lyrics are awesome, but that’s outside my realm of taste. And I can’t think of a better band from that time period either.
OH GOD NO!
And on to the comments from people who have no idea what they’re talking about:
Songwriting is more than just lyrics. You have to write the music too. And most songs have more than one guitar part, hence why almost every band has a lead guitarist and a rhythm guitarist. And sometimes more.
Still don’t know how they split it up. It works anyway though.
The problem I have with comments like this is that it’s almost being stated as a fact. The only band that works with is Nickekback. You can say you don’t like their music. I’m fine with that. Music is 100% subjective. There’s a reason it’s called “taste”. Because just like with food, everyone “tastes” music differently.
Yes, he does sing. But you can play guitar and sing at the same time. Bono doesn’t always have a guitar in his hands during the live shows, as he’s not the lead guitarist. That would be The Edge, who often utilizes loop pedals so that he can play two guitar parts at once.
At least he used the word “musician”. And the people who enjoy his endeavors as a musician, which include 47 Grammy nominations, 22 wins, best rock performance seven times, two wins in each of the “Album of the Year”, “Record of the Year”, “Song of the Year”, and “Best Rock Album” categories, 10 platinum albums and the diamond-certified masterpiece The Joshua Tree, give a “flying fuck”. Seriously, the only album that wasn’t certified AT LEAST platinum by the RIAA was Songs of Innocence, and that’s because they refused to recognize it because of the Apple marketing stunt. I know I’ve said that sales, awards, and certifications don’t necessarily make the music good, but I do think they tend to say something at least. You can say you don’t like his music, but at least recognize the legendary status of his musicianship. And I knew he played guitar, as well as anyone else with half a brain. And he does play guitar during the live shows. And no, it doesn’t get in his way.
ALL ROCK BANDS HAVE A LEAD GUITAR. (Besides Fitz & The Tantrums, because I guess they fall under the umbrella that is the “rock” genre.)
Jesus, how can someone be this stupid? Just because the lead singer isn’t the lead guitarist doesn’t mean they don’t have a lead guitarist. And that doesn’t mean someone else can’t be the lead guitarist. Aerosmith, Queen, My Chemical Romance, AC/DC, Cage the Elephant, Green Day (during live shows), just to name a few.
It’s hard to nail the tone of this one, seeing as emotion often can’t be conveyed through text. But it sounds like to me he’s saying that because The Edge plays guitar, Bono doesn’t. Which I think I’ve made clear isn’t the case. At least he acknowledged that there’s another guitarist, something many people have failed to do thus far.
And that’s that. I’ve made clear my biases coming into this, as well as my position on Barstool Sports.
I’ll likely have at least three more posts about U2 in the next week, which will ultimately culminate in the ranking of their discography. As my social life is slowly swallowed by the rising tide of insomnia, I’ll be spending a lot of time thinking about those rankings. But again, if you don’t like U2, then that’s okay. U don’t have 2. There’s no convincing someone who’s mind is already made up.
But I hate you.