Bono Speaks

Hats off to former President Bill Clinton.  Time magazine just named him one of our 100 most important heroes of 2010.  And then, to prove what good choices they made, Time got people to write in praising the winners.  But not just any people.  No, they only asked icon people to write in.  So none other than Mr. Icon himself, Bono, sent in a letter explaining why picking Mr. Clinton was such a good idea.

This is part of it:

“There are professors who pretend to be populists and populists who pretend to be professors. But there have never been a head and heart so perfectly matched as the pair within William Jefferson Clinton. It’s an impossible equilibrium: wonky intellectual meets “Oh, hell” card player, oxygen and hydrogen. He defies the laws of physics as his daily exercise, but without him the universe just wouldn’t be as friendly to humans.”

Try to wrap your head around it, Bunky.  This is big stuff.  The universe would not be as friendly to humans were it not for the existence of William Jefferson Clinton.  Heavy, dude!  — even though I don’t have a clue as to what it means.  Does he like literally mean the whole universe — or just our solar system?  Or just Arkansas?

And because I wasn’t too good at science, I don’t know what he’s talking about when says Clinton defies the laws of physics as his daily exercise. I mean, is that possible?  And if that’s really true, man, somebody better tell that Einsteen guy.

But who cares, right?  Because Bono, poet that he is, nails the whole Clinton thing in the last sentence of his love letter.  “Rock stars can’t be President,” he writes, “but we’ve all got reason to be thankful that Presidents can be rock stars.”

Word up, Bono.

You know, until now I thought Bono was his full name.  Now I know better.  After reading his letter, it’s so clear.  So thank you, Bono … Lewinsky.

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  • Cindy


    I am a little disappointed with the ending.

    The ending was childish and unnecessary but we do have free speech…

  • bill

    Bono looks really silly with those yellow goggles. He thinks he’s really fashionable and very “European”.

    • Cindy

      I fully agree.
      I am a U2 fan but I have been disappointed with Bono over the last 4-5 years.
      He is a good man but he needs a reality check.

  • WadeB

    These guys, Clinton and Bono, Have figured out how, and then done what it took, to claw their way to the top of their fields. They have fame, adulation and lots and lots and lots of money. I guarantee you, they’re no more compassionate or “good” than the average joe who sent $20 to the Red Cross. They have, being past the apex of their professional careers, found that being a humanitarian keeps the adulation coming. Anybody who has ever been applauded for anything knows what a drug it can be.
    Am I a cynic? You bet. There is none righteous, no not one! Rom 3:10. George Bush did more for Africa than either of these two. I wonder if they’d admit it in front of a camera.

    • Anne C

      So true!! George Bush didn’t do everything right but he is a good man with a giving heart. He gets blamed for everything going on in the world yet he doesn’t criticize them. He is a man that knows who he is in Christ. And look at the woman he choose to be his wife. Laura Bush is a class act. We as a nation need to pray that those things which are hidden will be uncovered and brought to light!

      • Rod A

        Next year right beside the amount of money all the people in entertainment and sports make should be a column for amount donated to charity, other then their own selfish interests.

      • fedupwidit

        I guess Gov. Huckabee said it best when he was asked if he thought Obama loved America as much as McCain…he said that he believed they both did but in a different way. I agree with him totally, I really believe Obama sees America as oppressive, but yet he wants to enjoy all the benefits of living here and raising his children here. George Bush did a lot of unpopular things, but remember what happened on his watch..if I had been in the driver’s seat on 9/11 the bombs would still be falling. I admire a person with conviction and stands for something and wont back down even if it is unpopular, can Obama say that he has done this?

      • Cindy

        I do agree Laura Bush is a class act and she used to be and has been leaning as a conservative Democrat or Independent.
        George Bush has gotten too much of today’s blames.
        George Bush, though, used God to get back at Sadamn Hussein and went into Iraq without good cause. If you remember the ex secretary who quit early in the 1st term(Paul?), wrote a book saying the Bush Administration planned before 911 to go and invade Iraq. This is NOT christianity. Bush NOW needs to find the real God and Christ and repent his sins.
        Clinton is a good man and an intelligent man who deserves the humanity praise.
        He should never forget his sins but his sins were far less damaging than Bush’s sins.

  • Artie

    So how many of his millions is Bono personally giving? I’d bet none.

    • CCNV

      He’s just like the rest of the “stars”. When there’s a camera around, you’ll find them begging for OUR dollars (Haiti, Chile disasters); but when it comes to taking care of our own homeless in the US, these so-called ‘movie stars and musicians’ and their wallets are no where to be found.

  • Jesse D. Orozco

    AGAIN with the misspelling of U2’s lead singer’s name! It’s a “z” not an “n!” Jeez, are there no proofreaders for this column?

    • Anne C

      Who cares!!!!!

  • Zoltanne

    Bono: He’s much more than just a singer and activist. He is very connected to the Progressive Money Machine. Oh that’s right…..he likes “causes”.

    Bono: Co-Founder of ONE Campaign; Board member of Earth Institute; Member of Clinton Global Initiative; Managing Director and co-founder of Elevation Partners; Co-founder of RED…get the picture?

    Even Obama would say Bono has probably made too much money. No wait! Bono’s a far-leftie. (Nevermind….)

  • http://B.G. Daryl D Duke

    You do know that clinton has brought people to their knees, well maybe just one we know about. Just what is bono, what a man gets or maybe as bono fide or did his sister pick it out the trash, and said this will do. End of story.

  • Ken Besig Israel

    I wonder if Bono actually read the stuff he wrote about Clinton after he sobered up? I have to doubt if because if he did he would realize how much he sounded like a school girl praising her favorite rock idol. The truth is I even felt embarrassed for Bono.

  • Ellie

    Clinton surely defies the laws of physics – parts of him go up when they shouldn’t. Bill rules the gravity.

  • Bruce A.

    More celebrites falling over each other. Now that’s a Slobbering Love Affair.
    I can applaud Bonos’ charitable work which always seems to get publicity, but as far as his commentary goes I can pass on that or any other musicians.

    • fedupwidit

      Bono is a hypocrite of the worst kind, I admire the guy’s talent and songwriting ability but he is New World Order to the hilt. The same Spirit that is driving those ungodly Clintons and Rockefellars is driving Mr. Bono or Hewson or whatever his name is. It was okay when Bush was in Africa giving more aid to that country than any president before him, but yet Bono snubbed him when he was with Obama…what a gonad!

  • Kathie Ampela

    “Time got people to write in praising the winners. But not just any people. No, they only asked icon people to write in.” What are icon people? Are they any different than the rest of us mortals? Bono’s opinion of Clinton carries about as much weight as my opinion. What a dopey culture we live in!

    • Cyberquill

      Bono’s megaphone is a little bigger than yours or mine. His opinions may not be any more profound than ours, but, alas, they carry a lot more weight.

    • Marissa

      I disagree with you 100% YOUR VOICE/OPINION is VITAL! The reason that Bono’s opinion holds no real bearing is simply because he does not vote.

      Bono- I’m sorry but who cares what he thinks or any celebrity for that matter? The idea that the sun rises and sets with a President is preposterous. People easily forget that the President- Liberal and Conservative alike are servants of the people. They are all subject to human frailty- People are perfectly imperfect.

      Clinton had his good and bad points but doubt the Catholic Church would name him a Saint nor is Greek Mythology having Zeus become threated by Clinton’s vast and immense depth in an ability to use Cuban cigars.

      Cyberquill I disagree… they are few in their counting while we are vast in our numbers. They may have a big megaphone but YOU still determine how long he/she is allowed to use that megaphone. Without our money, that megaphone is silenced. 😉

      “WE THE PEOPLE” are the final and only voice that truly matters.

      • Cyberquill

        It doesn’t matter whether Bono—or any other celebrity—votes or doesn’t vote. Simply by virtue of their status, these people become opinion leaders, for better or worse.

        I think you’re confusing how things are versus how they should be in an ideal world. Ideally, the baker’s opinon should carry as much weight as Bono’s, as neither are experts in geopolitics. In the real world, however, nobody votes a certain way because of what the baker says, but God knows how many people—younger ones in particular—model their views of the world after those of their favorite celebrities.

        The infamous is-ought dichotomy says hello. Unfortunately, we must deal with the is, not with the ought.

        • Kathie Ampela


          “I think you’re confusing how things are versus how they should be in an ideal world. Ideally, the baker’s opinon should carry as much weight as Bono’s, as neither are experts in geopolitics. In the real world, however, nobody votes a certain way because of what the baker says, but God knows how many people—younger ones in particular—model their views of the world after those of their favorite celebrities.” The days of celebrities swaying public opinion are ending. “Celebrity” doesn’t mean what it used to thanks to changes in technology. “Celebrities” have become accessible, commonplace, blase. That is a fact of life, like it or not. That suits me just fine, as we have spent enough time in our culture of “Oprah” gratification, basing important decisions on what silly “celebrities” think. We HAVE been a dopey culture.

          I predict, (cannot prove) that the next generation will lose interest in “celebrity” thanks to youtube where ANYONE can be an instant celebrity. This will force people to form their own opinions on important issues, like who to vote for president.

          Getting back to Bernie’s column, he stated that TIME only asked icon people to write in regarding the top 100 people. My point was, what are icon people? We are moving into a time of Alice in Wonderland, through the looking glass. Celebrities are commonplace and mortals are celebrities.

          • Cyberquill

            I agree that there will be more of the 15-minutes-of-fame type celebrities in addition to the “real” ones, like Bono, who have a kind of charisma which resonates with many people over the long term.

            I don’t think there will ever come a time when large numbers of people will knuckle down and study complicated issues in order to cast informed votes. Besides, as humans, we are emotional creatures, and as such we shall always find creative ways to bend whatever facts may lie before us to how we “feel” about an issue rather than evaluating the data dispassionately. People will vote for president who they like. This is a psychological gut-level process that has fairly little to do with reason.

            Regarding celebrity impact, you may be underestimating the power of association. Remember, the human brain works by association. Advertisers know this and have been exploiting this phenomenon to the hilt for decades.

            What does the scantily clad blonde have to do with the hamburger?

            Nothing, except the juxtaposition between these unrelated entities creates an association in consumers’ brains, and from then on, whenever a guy sees that hamburger of that particular brand, he wants it, because subconsciously he associates a hot chick with it.

            Likewise, music and movies constitute powerful emotional links between artist and audience. And then, when an artist voices an opinion on a current issue, no matter how ill-informed, an association between that opinion and the artist’s work is instantly established. So if we love U2, by association we will feel drawn to whatever Bono says.

            Needless to say, no one will ever admit that their thinking may be governed by such associations. We all consider ourselves rational individuals who only go by the “facts.” That’s a given. No one will ever admit that a particular commercial “made” them buy a particular product, yet that’s what’s happening all day every day.

            So while every person individually will fervently exempt him- or herself from being swayed by associative persuasion, most people are very much in its thrall.

            Otherwise, advertisers wouldn’t be doing what they’re doing.

            Anytime someone says, “Who cares what celebrity X thinks?”, that person is really just saying that they disagree with celebrity X and hence do not want celebrity X’s views to have an impact.

            No one ever says, “Who cares what so-and-so thinks?” when they actually agree with so-and-so.

        • LaneyB

          Dos anyone really care what undereducated celebrities think? These are people so suffused with the charm of their own being that they actually believe they matter. I am not fourteen, but I bet if you ask any average fourteen year-old what any of these famous for being famous fools think, they couldn’t tell you and don’t care. I know at fourteen I didn’t, and I was listening.

          • Cyberquill

            You’re assuming that if you ask people why they believe what they believe that (a) they actually know where their beliefs originated, and (b) if they do know it, that they would tell you the truth.

            Remember, what we say about ourselves mainly reflects the image we wish to project. Honesty takes a back seat to wanting to be perceived a certain way.

            As to the average 14-year-old, 19-year-old, or 40-year-old, for that matter, their opinions have to derive from somewhere, and it they generally do NOT derive from having studied complex issues indepth. Most people—even though we’ll all vigorously exempt ourselves from this—simply assume positions they’ve heard articulated by others, most likely by charismatic individuals they like.

            As to “uneducated celebrites” being so “suffused with the charm or their own being that they actually believe they matter,” again, we’ll only say that if we disagree with a particular celebrity’s opinion. Otherwise, we’ll commend that celebrity for having the courage to speak out.

            In defense of celebrities, these people get microphones stuck in their faces and asked questions all the time. You can’t really fault them for giving their opinions. If I were invited to write a letter to TIME, I’d write one.

            Bono didn’t exactly bust into the TIME building with a gun and force anyone to publish his letter. We may disagree with his take on President Clinton, but I don’t see the point of ridiculing the man for writing the letter.

          • Kathie Ampela

            I think the issue is the influence that celebrities have over the culture. I bought The Joshua Tree back in 1988, that doesn’t mean I care about what Bono thinks of Bill Clinton or George Bush for that matter. I’ve seen many of Tom Hanks movies, Forest Gump is one of my favorites, that doesn’t mean I’ll vote for the candidate that he endorses.

            Because of the technology we now have, the New Media revolution, celebrities will not have the same power they once had, I believe, and that’s a good thing. In a free society, everyone is entitled to an opinion, including celebrities, but having control over public opinion is another matter. Oprah has built an empire herding sheep (in my opinion). Vote for whomever Oprah endorses, buy the books Oprah recommends, see the movies Oprah plugs, etc.

            We have spent far too much time in our society making uninformed choices. So we have turned to what is easy, rather than what is right. Hence, we have had celebrities make our choices for us. Now, we have the power to make informed decisions on our own, without Oprah or Bono or Tom Hanks. I believe there will always be a segment of society who will choose what is easy, “the sheep component” But I also believe that there are enough people out there who will make informed decisions going forward, to make a positive difference.

            As for feeling sorry for Bono or any other celebrity having a microphone shoved in their face, no offense but tell that to someone who has been out of work and has a large family to support. A family of five eating macaroni and cheese or Bono getting asked pesky questions by the press. It kind of falls flat, if you know what I mean. No offense to Bono, of course, I’m sure he’d understand :)

          • Cyberquill

            I’m not “feeling sorry” for Bono or any other celebrity. I just find it unfair to criticize these people simply for voicing their views. I voice mine all the time, too, and I generally don’t hold a PhD in the areas I opine about, so in this sense I’m just like Bono. The fact that I have virtually no audience is a separate issue, but I can’t be down on the guy for doing what I’m doing myself.

            Bottom line, if an celebrity speaks out on an issue and we agree, we admire their “common sense.”

            If we disagree, we lambaste them for their lack of education and expertise.

            Personally, I’ve never heard anybody go, “Yes, I completely agree with Dennis Miller, but he’s a comedian by trade who somehow fell into doing political commentary, so who cares what he says?”

            If we like what somebody has to say, we couldn’t care less how much of an expert they are.

            But I am certainly on board with you in that we’ve spent far too much time in our society making uninformed choices. However, I don’t see this changing any time soon, simply by virtue of the sheer complexity of the world we live in. What with working full-time and having a family and perhaps even some sort of social life, who has time to study and become an expert on economics, climate change, or the Middle East to a point where making truly informed choices would even be possible?

            For example, twice I resolved to get to the bottom of the 2000 election fiasco in order to determine whether the Supreme Court’s decision to stop the recount was correct in my “informed” opinion.

            So I started out with Google and Wikipedia, and ten minutes later I was poring over the minutia of Florida’s election law as it pertains to its various counties. My head just blew right off, and eventually I gave up.

            In the end, whether or not Bush “stole” the election depends on whether we like or hate the guy, which, in turn, hinges on whether we’re wired in a more liberal or conservate way, and our ideological wiring may, in fact, be genetically determined more than anything else. Forget about “informed” decision.

            I share your frustration about the largely uninformed populace, but I don’t see this ever changing. In the end, people believe what they want to believe.

            It took about 30 seconds to convince conservatives that Saddam had stockpiles of WMDs, but there will never be enough evidence to convince them that mankind may have a hand in climate change.

            Likewise, to most liberals, a fetus is not a human life. You can show them ultrasound images of little beating hearts and little hand and feet until you turn blue in the face.

            In the end, if the data doesn’t line up with a person’s core ideology, all the information in the world is unlikely make much of a difference.

            Unfortunatly, human beings are primarily emotional creatures. The dream of an informed electorate is a beautiful one, but a dream nonetheless.

            I hope I’m wrong.

          • Kathie Ampela

            Celebrities have influence over public opinion. Ordinary citizens do not. There is a big difference between a guy sitting in a bar at happy hour espousing his political views and Bono writing a love letter to Bill Clinton for TIME magazine. The guy in the bar no one listens to. Bono has many people listening to him. Therefore, while celebrities do have freedom of speech, they also have greater responsibility when speaking publicly. In this case, Bill Clinton isn’t running for office, so it doesn’t make much difference what Bono says. If Bono or some other celebrity was writing or speaking publicly about the war in Iraq or some other political issue, they have a much bigger responsibility about what they say.

            With respect to the dream of an informed electorate, how do you respond to the rise of the Tea Party movement? I’ve never seen a political movement on the Right in my lifetime. I understand that people have busy lives, I myself have about an hour or two during the day to devote to informing myself of the news of the day. I watch Fox News in the evening. Does that sound like it takes a genius or a lot of time to get informed? I am certainly no genius, anybody can do what I do.

            And if anybody thinks that the Tea Party movement is just a flash in the pan, better think again. A political awakening is not like taking up a new hobby. I’ve started hobbies over the years and have lost interest. I’ve started books that I haven’t finished. This is not the same thing. Once you go through an awakening or transformation, it’s a form of spirtual growth. And once you grow, you don’t UNGROW, it doesn’t work that way. No, I believe an informed electorate is happening right now and is growing everyday.

            We’ve seen political activism on the left for many years. Now we see it on the other side.

          • Kathie Ampela

            What was I saying about celebrities having more power than ordinary citizens:


            I guess love letters to ex-presidents go a long way, eh?

          • Cyberquill

            No, it doesn’t take genius or a lot of time to read a little during the day and watch Fox News (or any other channel or combination of channels) at night. Better than nothing, and I guess it’s more than most people do and probably all one can do without dropping everything and studying world affairs full-time.

            You and I may simply differ on our definition of what it means to be truly “informed.”

            What do I think of the rise of the tea party? The same I think of those who despise the tea party. The majority of members in either camp probably couldn’t point to Iraq on a blank map of the world.

            Activism is a good thing, for every movement spurs a counter-movement and these countervailing forces prevent lopsided radicalism (left OR right) from sweeping the nation.

            I agree that celebrites have influence over public opinion. That was my original point.

          • Kathie Ampela

            There are different definitions of being “informed.” There are also different definitions of being “smart.” I took an IQ test once, apparently I have an IQ of 132. Pretty good, but not Mensa level, like my father. If you are expecting an electorate to ever have a Mensa level IQ, you will be waiting a very, very long time. People have enough information to not like what’s going on in the country and to do something about it. Could some of these people be smart enough to debate political pundits on television, such as Bill O’Reilly? I’m sure they couldn’t-I know I couldn’t. But they are WISE enough to not let the country go further to hell than it already has.

            People can be very smart and yet very dumb. Bill Clinton is a Rhodes scholar, but the Monica Lewinsky thing, well that wasn’t too smart, was it? President Obama went to Harvard and Columbia, so why can’t he give an unscripted speech off the top of his head, why the teleprompter all the time? President Bush went to Yale but he sure sounded like a ignorant bumpkin in some of his speeches.

            The ironic thing about this, half of the celebrities that people hold in such high regard are probably not half as smart as some in their following. Think about that one!

          • Cyberquill

            IQ has little to do with how much one knows, except that smarter people are generally more aware of how much they don’t know.

          • WadeB

            Best hting Ive read here my friend. Keep asking honest questions and being honest with yourself.

      • fedupwidit

        I agree with you my man, he’s Irish, what does he know….I say Burn him and see if his ashes turn green!

  • Ron Kean

    Bernie, It’s your space. Don’t feel bad. Boot the SOBs. Who needs to be insulted?

    I never minded the Lewinsky thing. It was strange that Jesse Jackson became his spiritual advisor. I’ve heard Al Gore’s made a 100 million dollars since he left office. I can’t imagine what Clinton’s made. Tell that to Obama who says some people make too much.

    I also think it’s kind of charming that he’s still married after everything and I mean everything. I had a friend in college from a small town like Clinton. Sh*t eating grin, smart as a whip, could turn a country phrase to make a point…like that lugnut phrase in your book describing Dan Rather’s appeal.

    Would I know any of Bono’s songs?

  • Wil Burns

    Bernie, Bill Clinton set the country on a track that created the longest peace-time expansion in history, created 23 million new jobs, reduced crime and poverty, and began a sustained decline in the deficits until for the last three years of his second administration the national debt was not only going down, but on a path that would have eliminated it entirely by 2016. Had that been done, we would have saved $300 billion per year in interest payments to foreign banks. Bono is right and you are wrong!

    • Ron Kean

      here we go again

    • EddieD_Boston

      Actually dimwit, Newt Gingrich cut the deficit. Read the constitution.