Is Bono A Tool: The Definitive Discussion

Ok, fine. I’ll say it. Bono comes across as…kind of a tool. No, I’m not just saying that because South Park devoted an entire episode to making it canon that in their universe, Bono is literally a giant piece of crap. I’m saying it because…actually, that’s sort of the thing. I have no idea why I’m saying it. What I do know is that I’m far from the first or last person to get that impression.

So does he really deserve the bad rap? Are we all just “those guys” who hate on famous celebrities who seem nice and successful because nothing humanizes them? If he had a small felony rap sheet and couldn’t give less of a damn about the starving children of the world, would we like him better? Or can it be possible that the fact that he’s an international superstar rock god and philanthropist has nothing to do with why he comes across as kind of a schmuck?

Ground Rules

This shouldn’t have to be said, but just in case, I’ll say it again — before we proceed any further into analyzing the good and the bad of Bono, it bears emphasizing that we are discussing “Bono” (in quotes.)  We are not talking about Paul David Hewson, the real man. Mr. Hewson has friends, family, and presumably a soul. He’s some guy I’ve never met. When we talk about Bono in this conversation, we’re talking about the public character that is called Bono. If I were to say, theoretically, that Lebron James is an attention-seeking self-righteous prima donna who cared more about ratings than the entire city of Cleveland, or that Charlie Sheen is so completely out of his mind that I can only assume someone influential in scientific circles is considering renaming the DSM the Charlie Sheen Pocket Handbook, I’m not attacking the human beings in real life — I’m judging the public personnas, which exist in the public domain, and which we all have a right to judge however we want. If “Bono” didn’t willingly put himself in the public eye, he wouldn’t be where he is.  He knows that, and he chose that life. Mr. Hewson we’ll leave alone.

I don’t say all that because I’m worried about offending Bono. I just have no patience for comments that say things like “hey man, he’s got a family, don’t be mean.” So we’re putting that to bed right now.

The Case for Bono

The guy is kinda saving the world. He co-founded — and is pretty much the mascot for —, which tries to get more government funding for international aid. He’s involved in like every humanitarian effort ever. Don’t believe me? Check out his wikipedia page. It’s nuts.

Agree or disagree with his politics, how many rock stars wind up doing drugs and fathering illegitimate children until they run out of money?  (I’m looking at you, Steven Tyler. Minus the “no money” part.)  If he spends his time even trying to do something productive for the world, he’s already pretty high up the “good guys” list when it comes to rockstars.

Bono The Tool

This part is sort of harder to articulate. He just sort of…seems like a tool. There’s no one big indicator, just a bunch of little moments over the years that have made me wonder, “why does he seem so smug to me?”

There was that time he was so confident of his awesomeness that he actually admitted to being a pain in the ass but seemed more or less totally fine with it.  Hey man, it’s just his DNA, it even annoys him. So, I guess… we should feel bad for him or something?  No Bono, why don’t you do what those of us who aren’t richer than God do, and make even the smallest effort to not be a complete jackass.  And trust me, you can’t possibly ever annoy yourself more than other people.  That’s just not how it works. So stop pretending you get it.  You don’t.  If you think you’re annoying, imagine what we think.

And then there’s the fact that he’s so into this whole “making the most expensive Broadway musical ever” thing that he somehow managed to do the unthinkable — he took an awesome comic book hero like Spider Man and somehow managing to make me thoroughly tired of hearing about him. It’s pretty astounding.  The guy has spidey senses, and I just do not care anymore, I really don’t.

So, yeah – Bono might have killed Spider Man.  Bono: 1, Willem Dafoe: 0.

And then, when the play started to look like a total disaster, he more or less blamed everybody else, saying the original director’s main character wasn’t right. Bono seemed to suggest that he gets what was wrong with the first incarnation of the (record-breaking-ly expensive) show, and all he has to do is fix it. Oh how easy you make it all seem, Mr. Bono!  I’m not a Broadway expert like you suddenly decided to call yourself at some point, but perhaps this all could have just as easily been avoided had you decided to even bother watching the show for the first five weeks it was in theaters.

See? Nothing huge. No dead former butlers, no gang wars, no illegitimate children (that I happen to be aware of.) Just little stuff that irritates me.

The Conclusion

I want you, for a moment, to try and envision Gandhi being a total jackass. Pretend Mother Theresa turned out to be kind of a bitch. What would you call that?

Honestly, I’m not sure either.  But I think you see where I’m going with this.

On paper, he’s alright with me. Is he kind of arrogant? I don’t know.  What I do know is that managing to still be breaking records for selling out stadiums, all filled with people cheering you as a rock god, a few decades after you first broke into the rock game, might do that to you. But he legitimately works hard to make the world a better place, and at the end of the day that’s all that matters to me.

That said, even Bono thinks Bono is annoying. And if a man I respect as much as Bono says Bono is annoying, what can I say — maybe Bono is kind of a tool too.

Can’t it be both?

2 Responses to “Is Bono A Tool: The Definitive Discussion”
  1. Mazel says:


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  1. […] So, yeah – Bono might have killed Spider Man.  Bono: 1, Willem Dafoe: 0. […]

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