The Stabbing Knife Vol. 4 – Bono

January 14, 2010

Not crazy. Just stabby.

[After a 2-month hiatus, the Stabbing Knife returns! And it brought presents! Nice, stabbed little presents! Awww… And yes, I have stabbed before.]

Once upon a time, there was a nice, earnest lad named Bono. He fronted a nice, earnest band who wished to make the world a better place. Or at least improve his own country where, when they weren’t warily eyeing their potato reserves, they were blowing each other the fuck up over religious differences.

Remember this guy? So young and idealistic. And turtlenecked.

But then he grew up. And so did his band. They discarded their veneer of Christianity and set out to become the Most Important Band in the World.

They sold millions of albums and made millions of dollars.

But still Bono’s heart ached.

When he wasn’t busy counting his money or shouldering the weight of the world or getting stuck in a malfunctioning lemon, he was alone in the back of his private jet, hunched over a MacBook writing screeds against Western conspicuous consumption and how to save the planet using his bold, Irish ideals and other people’s money.

And then Bono, head steadily inching its way up his own ass, caught a fleeting, non-anally blocked glimpse at the latest P&L for U2, Inc. and got righteously pissed.

And when he got angry, he got stupid.

We’re used to his manager’s stupidity. Paul McGuinness is an idiot. He’s made a number of dubious claims and attention-grabbing statements in the effort to wring a little more money out of everybody from MSN to random ISPs to Joe Downloader.*

*Not his real name.

Here’s a few choice quotes:

“I suggest we shift the focus of moral pressure away from the individual P2P file thief and on to the multibillion dollar industries that benefit from these countless tiny crimes. The ISPs [internet service providers] the telcos [telecoms companies], the device-makers.”

On Silicon Valley:

“Embedded deep down in the brilliance of those entrepreneurial, hippy values seems to be a disregard for the true value of music.”

Entrepreneurial? Hippies? ???

His theory seems to be that the Internet service providers need to pay because they’re making a ton of money trafficking in illegal downloads.

Let’s do some math: I pay $39.95/month for my internet connection. If I download 0 free music files, I pay $39.95/mo. If I download 25,000 free music files, I pay $39.95/mo. Granted, some ISPs do tiered pricing based on use, but they’re not very popular and they won’t last for long.

Here’s some more.

On Radiohead’s pay-what-you-want release:

“It’s important to remember the traditional worldwide star-making functions of the big record companies. There’s nothing on the horizon to replace that.”

Hmmm. We can just let that one go.

Here’s a beauty:

“I started to glimpse the politics of it at that stage. I hope that our politicians, our journalists, our media gain a sense of how much we stand to lose if free prevails. Ultimately free is the enemy of good. “

...and I said, "Google, find me a metaphoric picture for obtuseness..."

But now Bono’s gone and topped him. In his latest for the New York Times, Bono suggests that we look to China for the solution to pirated media:

“But we know from America’s noble effort to stop child pornography, not to mention China’s ignoble effort to suppress online dissent, that it’s perfectly possible to track content.”

Bono doesn’t need a manager. He needs an editor. He may have thrown the modifier “ignoble” in there, but he still wants the same ends, which will then allow him to justify the means. Or to put it another way, “ignoble” when it affects Bono’s privacy but rather more noble when it’s unleashed on the thieving hordes that are The Internet. 

At what point do you decide that it’s OK for you to hold up (however badly worded) one of the world leaders in “Human Rights Violated” as a solid business model, and even worse, a solid government model?

Who here thinks it would be a great idea for the government to install tracking software on every new computer? Who thinks that the government (and their best friends, big failing media) should have the keys to everything you do online? Does anyone actually feel this will turn out well? That the wrongdoers will be caught and punished and the Most Important Band in the World can begin stocking up on ivory backscratchers again?

Or will it turn into the tragic farce that is today’s mommy-state/fucked legal system that does immensely stupid things like turn “sexting” teens into child-porn possessing sex offenders?

Bono takes a moment to reflect on how truly fucked he is financially.

The overwhelming arrogance and crass stupidity of Bono’s article boggles the mind. Just because your business doesn’t run the way it used to is no reason for you to use your considerable wealth and power to try to legislate and litigate your way back into an acceptable profit margin.

Major labels: you lost. The battle is over and the only thing you can do is lash out by harassing, fining, suing and jailing random individuals. It’s not winning you any more fans and it’s certainly not cobbling together some sort of time machine to the mid-90’s jackpot that was CD sales.

And who bitches about this lost revenue the most? The richest, fattest artists. U2, Metallica, Garth Brooks, the Cure, KISS. All of them mention the “little indie bands” as if those were the ones affected the most.

The indie bands have moved on. The RIAA, ASCAP, BMI, etc. are all taking care of lining their own pockets and the top 5% of their stables.

Bono should know better. He said it himself:

“It’s not the place for rich rock stars to ask for more money, but somebody should fight for fellow artists, because this is madness. Music has become tap water, a utility, where for me it’s a sacred thing, so I’m a little offended.”

I guess he couldn’t help himself. And his advice to the movie and television industries, which he feels are next to be downloaded to death? Do the same shit that didn’t work for us, only harder and faster.

To reiterate: Bono, a singer from a country with serious anarchy leanings, recommends an all-knowing government should start following China’s lead into a bold, new era of human rights violations and privacy invasion. Just so that he and the other top 5% of musicians can finally get more of the money that they’re already getting a sizeable chunk of.

Fuck you, Bono.

Fuck you if for no other reason than you made me end a sentence in a preposition.



  1. I’ve been racking my brain for two days now for the elusive word ‘veneer’…and there it is in your first paragraph. I can now complete the item description for my craigslist Victorian antique table listing. As always, thank you.

    • That’s what I’m here for: vocabulary building. I also considered using “shrugged off their lightweight Christian mantle.”

      Enjoy the word, elizabeth. I often use it when describing my respectability.

  2. *I used to love U2. Mainly because every single hot girl in my high school loved U2. Every one of them. When we all went to the Joshua Tree concert, I had a cheerleader up on my shoulders….I went on date her for 6 months. Even though it ended badly, like every other one of my relationships ever….I still have a soft spot in my heart for U2. Plus, Joshua Tree was one of the best albums ever.

    Still, what happened to Bono is ridiculous. I actually do believe that he is an intelligent, sensitive human being but with the soul of a clown, which forces him to ……become the biggest loudmouth, idiot, ego-maniac, douchebag, hypocritical …dare I say…capitalist on the planet.

    Great, informative, hilariously entertaining post CLT. Rock on!!

    * Comment also available at The Pirate Bay and Vuze

    • This is not to propose that the entirety of U2 backs up Bono’s statements or even speak to him often outside of touring.

      U2 is a good band. Unfortunately, someone once asked Bono his opinion back in the early 90’s and he hasn’t shut up since.

      Agreed: “Joshua Tree” is one of the best albums ever.

      Thanks for the visit and great comment, Scott.

  3. Excellant and insightful as always, CLT. Things I suspected but didn’t know were in there, or true to Bono’s character. I’m not a fan of his, but his voice is right for that band. As EVH said, he has “lead singer disease.” Jim Morrison had it too, but I related more to his character flaws (having lots of sex and drinking, smoking, destroying a Shelby . . . did all three). Now, not so much. Okay, never again – however – The Edge is one of my favorite guitarists, and shares our sentiments, as I’ve read in the past. I love his simplistic yet effective playing style, and having jumped a countless number of bands in my life because of egos, drugs, and lead singers, I can relate a teeny tiny bit to him. He’s super rich and I’m not is the difference. Plus, I never wrote great tunes and developed a new style. Plus . . . oh whatever. I like The Edge . . . on paper. Never met him . . . I’ll quit now.

    GREAT Post, CLT!!! Too much caffiene on my end.

    • You’ve get no argument from me on the band’s talent or Bono’s either. It’s all about his incessant pontificating. EVH is dead on: “lead singer’s disease” it is.

      Perhaps the strangest case of “lead singer’s disease” was Lars Ulrich’s battle with Napster, considering he was the drummer, from whence the couplet is derived:

      “The singer gets laid/
      And the drummer gets paid.”

      Thanks for the highly-caffienated comment, Dan. Great to see you again.

  4. The Times They Are a-Changin’…I think some famous singer said that.

    Actually, if Bono is worried about his money maybe he should buy a newpaper or some Chrysler stock.

    • Well, Bono’s got a VC firm. Perhaps they’ll fund some sort of vehicle made from recylcled newspaper that runs entirely on obliviousness. That or some sort of “Potato Generator.”

  5. Aargh…I probably shouldn’t have read this.

    Bono was in my Freebie 5- http://www.laineygossip.com/freebie5.aspx up until about two minutes ago. (Don’t judge)

    All I have to say is “W…T…F.” These guys never cease to amaze me. And really, they should have… a long, long time ago.

    That’s what I get for having selective ignorance.

    (Please don’t start stabbing James Franco or Ewan MacGregor, or I’m screwed…)

    • B-

      I’m truly sorry to have stabbed 20% of unattainable Irish demagogue-esque lead singers on your list. I have nothing against Franco or MacGregor (yet).

      Although Franco is/was doing that whole “soap opera as performance art” thing. But that’s another story/stabbing for another day, kids.)

  6. It’s kind of funny. If you read the lyrics to ‘Bloody Sunday’ and pretend it’s written about who Bono has become it’s rather entertaining. Kind of like the ‘Wizard of Oz’ and ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ phenomenon.

    • Nothing says “steeped in irony” like the all-seeing power of 20 years worth of hindsight. It sure to become this year’s stoner classic. (So long, Kyuss!)

  7. […] summoned its archangel, Bono, to appear in the “paper of record” (High New York Times), flatly stating that America needed to follow the lead of Communist China and track every piece of in…. This was met with sneers of derision and cries of “Fuck you, Bono! Find some other way to […]

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