I’ve been skeptical about celebrity pet charity projects and rock stars like Bono who have endorsed the RED campaign — encouraging people to shop and buy stuff in order to aid impoverished Africans. It just rings hollow to me and somewhat paradoxical, even though I recognize the good intentions behind it.

And then I read these lines from his op-ed this weekend:

It’s Lent I’ve always had issues with. I gave it up … self-denial is where I come a cropper. My idea of discipline is simple — hard work — but of course that’s another indulgence.

Then comes the dying and the living that is Easter.
—Bono, lead singer of U2

BonoWhatever brash generalizations or dismissive attitude I may have held, that changed after reading the Irishman’s contemplative words. Even though the rest of his essay is much more poetic and eloquent, it’s that second sentence above that captured me. He recognizes the falsehood of working harder. That staying at work is often an escape, a source of leisure rather than fulfilling one’s obligations and roles of responsibility at home — the mundane tasks of being present while one’s children ask for your time or hiding behind a gadget rather than engaging your spouse. Here, the man is revealing something of himself, his ordinary self. He is speaking to something greater than his own ego — and mine.

Nearly two years ago, I enjoyed Bono’s speech at the National Prayer Breakfast with President Bush. Like many others, I admired the way he was reaching out; yet, his words felt removed to me — a diplomatic performance to unite disparate parties.

But, his reflection in this essay starts from his personal core. They reveal a man who is a seeker of some greater truths, both personal and universal, that have a grounding in fallibility and transcendence. And that I respect greatly.

I can only hope that Krista could interview him for SOF. Perhaps at Trinity Wall Street? Wouldn’t that be an incredible event to witness? The likelihood is minimal, but it would be a dazzling adventure. Can anybody make it happen?!


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10Reflections

Reflections

morning trent,

hmmmm... i'm not so sure.

irrespective of the worthiness of Bono's perspective, i'd rather see SOF interview folks we are less likely to have been able to hear because they have not reached the status of celebrity.

i don't think SOF listeners come to be dazzled. we come to listen to, perhaps be surprised and/or provoked by and learn from "other" voices than the mainstream media typically fetes.

or maybe that's just me.

1LB

I read "dazzled" as to be inspired with wonder and awe at the conversation rather than blinded by a bright, shiny display. Perhaps "electric" might be more apropos, and a better descriptor of an audience in a public forum -- which we don't often get to do.

One of the points of this entry is that I'm the type of producer who breaks out in hives at the thought of these types of interviews. I usually pitch the little-known and uncommon voices -- a James Prosek, a Mercedes Doretti, listeners' voices for our Being Catholic show. But, as Krista and Mitch pointed out after attending the Women's Conference, there are celebrities like Maria Shriver, Chris Matthews, Christine Amanpour who are really interesting and have compelling stories to tell. The general public rarely gets to hear them though. I found Krista's conversations with Elie Wiesel and Mehmet Oz (Oprah's Dr. Oz) and Jimmy Carter and Chuck Colson to be enlightening too.

I know Krista could draw out these interesting threads and explore the depths of some of these more feted celebrities. I'm prepared to be surprised and delighted by the process.

yep. i hear that. i don't doubt krista could draw out some interesting threads. electric works better for me as a descriptor and yes, better reflects an audience based event.

Hey hey Trent & Cary...
Another Irish voice coming in here to add to Cary's - I'd be interested in hearing what he had to say. I think one of the unique features of SOF is that it seeks to ask questions that aren't predictable, and does so in an environment that brings out something particular to the soul of SOF.
I liked the quote - the dying and the living that is easter - it reminds me of René Girard's insistence on called Jesus of Nazareth "our crucified and living brother" - that there is something unique not only in the rising, but the deading too...
Trent - I'll look forward to hearing what happens.
Cary - I'll look forward to our next coffee (or ten)...
Pád.

Bono is a relevant guest for Krista because, for better or for worse, he is a spiritual and moral role model for many (self included). He's no less a celebrity than Rick Warren, a previous guest on her show. Plus - have you been to a U2 show? Transcendent to be sure. I think it would be a fascinating interview, if she could get behind his many masks. (Big if.)

There is actually enough material just in Bono's op-ed piece to fuel hours and days and lifetimes of discussion, contemplation, inspiration and action. One only needs to consider all that is behind many of his statements as well as all that is implied. He may be a celebrity with long and broad exposure, but that's only one side of him. He obviously has more to offer. And, because of his fame, people will pay attention to what he says even while ignoring others who may have much more to offer.

I would love to hear Bono on SOF. Many of my generation (mid-40s) are huge fans of Krista and have grown up with U2. To have a very human conversation with Bono about his faith that is not about him getting any political leverage for his social activism, but really plumbs the depth of his spiritual practices could be fascinating. In U2's latest album I hear many hints of how he has grown in spiritual humility even as his fame has continued to sky-rocket. What a great paradox -- to be one of the most well-known humans on earth and to be seeking spiritual humility.

I also think it might open SOF to a wider audience -- those who'll follow anything Bono, but haven't yet heard of Krista ... and should!

He man is a tax-dodging ego-driven wanker and hypocrite of the highest order. I know SoF tends toward vapid mid-brow trash but really Bono - this is really low-brow trash. Somehow I doubt this comment will be allowed on the ever so "democratic" and "liberal" NPR website.

Bono - tax-avoiding egomaniac and all round pompous creep - ideal material for NPR.

So no critism of Saint Bono is allowed - nice to see NPR SO open to democratoc and honest debate. You ought to be ashamed of your collective intellectual dishonesty.