Dagger in hand

A man of prodigious fortune, coming to add his opinion to some light discussion that was going on casually at his table, began precisely thus: "It can only be a liar or an ignoramus who will say otherwise than," and so on. Pursue that philosophical point, dagger in hand.

--Michel de Montaigne, Of the art of discussion.

Stab back: cmnewman99-at-yahoo.com


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Tuesday, October 15, 2002

The Italian pop magazine ROCKSTAR (closest thing they have to Rolling Stone) just published an interview with Bono. Here's what he's quoted in the Italian press as having said (translation mine):

Once I was a pacifist. After September 11 I'm not one anymore. If someone threatened my wife and my children, I don't think I'd turn the other cheek.
. . .
[The attack on Afghanistan:] There was no alternative. It was clear that cities like New York or London would have been hit by chemical weapons or by awful nuclear devices.
. . .
[The roots of the conflict:] The lack of a solution to the struggle in the Middle East, and more generally the lack of effort with regard to the developing world. When you have nothing, you're easy prey to groups like Al Qaeda. But having criticized their foreign policy for years, the time has come to give the U.S. the credit they deserve.

So, is he playing the politician? Making sure he keeps good relations with the folks in the U.S. he wants to fund his Africa aid program? Maybe, but I don't think that's it. There have been times I've found him annoying (like when he took it upon himself to "steal back" Helter Skelter from Manson--to which I replied, "I'll bet at least Manson could get the lyrics right."), but I really do think the guy has integrity. My favorite U2 song used to be "Like A Song." Near the end Bono yells, "Is honesty what you want?" I think he's actually walking the walk, even though it's led him now to say things that put him beyond the pale of the europop political universe. Like his insistence that Africa needs free trade as much as it does handouts. (OK, he's still pretty keen on the handouts, but at least he's actually doing enough homework to realize there's more to it.) As might be expected, the heresy of St. Bono is ruffling feathers in the fold. (Yes, I know it's a mixed metaphor. I'd have said "causing bleating," but post-Lileks I can't bring myself to use that as a term of disparagement.) Yesterday the front page of Corriere had a truly fisk worthy op-ed lamenting Bono's defection from the ranks of those who want peace on earth. (Yes, it quoted the song.) I was tempted. But I'm still working on my response to Adam. Really.

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