Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Bono: It wasn't just comparing file-sharers with child pornographers, you know

I've already covered the highlight of Bono's latest op-ed piece for the New York Times, wherein he suggests that we should make like the Chinese government to protect his income. But, at the suggestion of James M, it's worth exploring his piece further:

IF we have overindulged in anything these past several days, it is neither holiday ham nor American football;

You're Bono. Why would you be having a traditional American Christmas?
it is Top 10 lists.

Have we?

Still, Bono is always happy to add to another unwanted layer to an over-supply:
And so, in the spirit of rock star excess, I offer yet another.

Did Bono mention that he's Bono, out of the band U2, by the way?

Still, surely Bono is going to put a whole new crazy spin on the top ten list, right?
The main difference, if it matters, is that this list looks forward, not backward.

See? You weren't expecting that. A top ten of new things. Why hasn't anyone else thought of that? Eh?


Still, to be fair, Bono has come up with a new way of doing things - rather than basing his list on ten members of a single category, he's just done a random list:
So here, then, are 10 ideas that might make the next 10 years more interesting, healthy or civil.

They're not things that are going to happen. They're not even things that Bono is suggesting are desirable. Just things that might make things "interesting, healthy or civil". One of which is giving private corporations domain over the internet.

God help us, what are the other nine?
Return of the Automobile as a Sexual Object

No, no, he doesn't mean putting your wee-wee in the exhaust pipe; Bono wants cars to become glorious, alluring objects again. He wants Obama to bring together a style panel to make cars much, much more sexy and delicious.

I've checked, this is the same Bono who is keen for us to protect the planet. Somehow he's going to do this by making us all want to have brand-new personal cars.
An Equal Right to Pollute (and the Polluter-Pays Principle)

Bono does admit that he's only a "mild green" as he praises the idea that pollution should be a thing you can buy and sell permits for. He seems excited by the idea that Western corporations could effectively buy, say, Ethiopia's share of pollution:
By this accounting, your average Ethiopian can sell her underpolluting ways (people in Ethiopia emit about 0.1 ton of carbon a year) to the average American (about 20 tons a year) and use the proceeds to deal with the effects of climate change (like drought), educate her kids and send them to university. (Trust in capitalism — we’ll find a way.)

Yes, capitalism will work. You or I might offer a demurring observation that capitalism has had a good few hundred years and managed to get "your average Ethiopian" in a position where she hasn't got the wherewithal to educate her kids, and how someone who is under-educated is actually going to sell her polluting rights to a family in Boise. That this system would end up with a bunch of middlemen getting rich, and the world still trundling to disaster, and the poor still poor is obvious to anyone who has ever been alive. But it would allow Bono to spew carbon dioxide out next time U2 goes on tour and pretend it doesn't matter, so you can see why it appeals.
A Person (Dr. William Li) and a Word (Angiogenesis)

There's nothing particularly new about the research into angiogensis and links to cancer, but it does fit the 'healthy' remit Bono promised.
Matter Doesn’t Matter

Something about teleportation, crediting it to God. God likes Star Trek, apparently. Because, erm, a scientist is working on teleportation. In a way that he says has nothing to do with Star Trek.
Matter Doesn’t Matter

Hey, why don't we all get together and have an arts event in the Middle East? Then we'll see some peace breaking out, right?
In Ireland, at the height of the “Troubles,” it was said that the only solution for rabid sectarianism was to let 1,000 punk-rock bands bloom: music helped create a free space for dialogue (of a high-volume variety).

That's right. Who can forget the Northern Ireland Peace Process starting when Spiggo from The Quoits lent Brango from Butter Churn Incident a plectrum? Thank god they kept the politicians away, right?
So no politicians allowed. Artists only.

Well, that would at least spare the Middle East Bono turning up. How would you police this? What if you were a sculptor who also held a council seat? Could you visit?
People Power and the Upside-Down Pyramid

Here, Bono gets excited about the power of new technology to allow people to organise:
Increasingly, the masses are sitting at the top, and their weight, via cellphones, the Web and the civil society and democracy these technologies can promote, is being felt by those who have traditionally held power.

Yes, like the Chinese Government, right? Of whom, Bono had just a few paragraphs earlier, been pointing out were able to use new technology to police dissent.
Taking the Fight to Rotavirus

Yeah, you'd have to give him this one.
Viva la (Nonviolent) Revolución

Isn't this the same as the people power one?
The World Cup Kicks Off the African Decade

Wasn't the last decade the African decade? And if Bono is such an expert on African affairs, shouldn't he understand that suggesting that a football event in South Africa is somehow going to have an effect on, ooh, let's say "your average Ethiopian". But then, a grand gesture aimed at helping multinationals sell things and entertain the rich disguised as a positive good for everyone in Africa - it's pretty much a perfect Bono event, isn't it?