CiF contributor ‘reveals’ Bono’s neoncon-inspired rock ‘n roll imperialism

Though what likely first comes to mind to most when thinking about the rock star known as Bono are the many memorable songs from his band’s long and successful career, or perhaps his humanitarian work on behalf of the poor of Africa.


However, when ‘Comment is Free’ contributor (and British marxist literary critic) Terry Eagleton looks into the soul of the widely admired cultural icon he sees something much darker. His latest Guardian contribution, a June 26 review of a book about the U2 front man by Harry Browne, explores the the dark, capitalist underbelly of the Dublin born star. 


After a few introductory paragraphs, Eagleton goes on the attack.  

For all [Bono’s] carefully crafted self-irony (how ridiculous for me, an overpaid rock star from working-class Dublin, to be saving the world!), the inside is a place he has never betrayed any great reluctance to occupy. Since an outsider is unlikely to know much about global economics, he is likely to take his cue from the conventional wisdom of the insiders, which is why Bono is both maverick and conservative.

 he inherited the social conscience of the 1960s without its political radicalism, which is why he has proved so convenient a front man for the neo-liberals.

In fact, as Browne points out, he has cosied up to racists such as Jesse Helms, whitewashed architects of the Iraqi adventure such as Tony Blair and Paul Wolfowitz, and discovered a soulmate in the shock-doctrine economist Jeffrey Sachs. He has also brownnosed the Queen, sucked up to the Israelis, grovelled at the feet of corporate bullies and allied himself with rightwing anti-condom US evangelicals in Africa

Browne’s case is simple but devastating. As a multimillionaire investor, world-class tax avoider, pal of Bush and Blair and crony of the bankers and neo-cons, Bono has lent credence to the global forces that wreak much of the havoc he is eager to mop up. His technocratic, west-centred, corporation-friendly campaigns have driven him into one false solution, unsavoury alliance and embarrassing debacle after another.

Of course, Eagleton’s righteous outrage towards Bono’s rock ‘n roll imperialism is quite understandable when you consider that (as we’ve noted previously) he is an advocate of the marxist-inspired “religion” known as ‘Liberation Theology‘, a vocal ‘Occupy‘ supporter and Shlomo Sand enthusiast.  The anti-Bono activism of the literary critic also seems a bit more comprehensible when you contemplate that he once cast Jesus, in a book he wrote about the Gospels, as a proto ‘Palestinian insurgent‘ and (most memorably) recently characterized a quite well-known antisemitic Jew named Karl Marx as nothing less than a “Jewish prophet”.  

All of this seems to demonstrate once again that armchair communist revolutionaries never die, at least as long as their discredited, destructive theories can continue to find fertile ground on the cultural pages of the Guardian. 

49 replies »

  1. “armchair communist revolutionaries never die”

    They’ll die when they’ll stop using Intel chips and go back to printing it in the old fashioned way.

  2. Re, Karl Marx.

    “Francis Wheen says: “Those critics, who see this as a foretaste of ‘Mein Kampf’, overlook one, essential point: in spite of the clumsy phraseology and crude stereotyping, the essay was actually written as a defense of the Jews. It was a retort to Bruno Bauer, who had argued that Jews should not be granted full civic rights and freedoms unless they were baptised as Christians”.[34] Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, regards application of the term “antisemitism” to Marx as an anachronism—because when Marx wrote On the Jewish Question, virtually all major philosophers had expressed similar views, and the word “antisemitism” had not yet been coined, let alone developed a racial component, and little awareness existed of the depths of European prejudice against Jews. Marx thus simply expressed the commonplace thinking of his era, according to Sacks”

    • “because when Marx wrote On the Jewish Question, virtually all major philosophers had expressed similar views, and the word “antisemitism” had not yet been coined, let alone developed a racial component, and little awareness existed of the depths of European prejudice against Jews. ”
      Why am I not moved?

  3. Why the quotes around Liberation Theology being a “religion”?

    Does CiFW have the same attitude to e.g. Scientology?

  4. One might conjecture that baptized at birth Marx was perhaps functioning under Jewish guilt for the popular association of Jews with money and so proposed a society without the use of money. But raised in an era of Western bad mouthing of both communism and socialism, I find myself wondering, nonetheless, if these ideas were not abused by tyrants and given a bad name. Stealthily we find ourselves adopting these ideologies by bits and pieces without fully realizing it..

  5. “Bono’s neoncon ” Neoncon ? Is that a bright conservative?

    I guess Im a little old I find Bono’s music absolute pap . However he seems very popular.

    When googling Marx and anti-Semitism I found this ..”many argue that his philosophical criticism of Judaism has overshadowed his forceful support for Jewish emancipation as an immediate political goal. ” You are right tho Marx was no hero of Judaism

    However just because a writer is wrong about Marx is no real reason to suppose he is wrong about Bono cosying up to Wolfowitz a truly horrific war monger . If this is true it is a gigantic error on Bonos part.

    • “You are right tho Marx was no hero of Judaism”

      Judaism? Is there no honest thought or sentiment that you won’t twist into meaning something else?

    • Wolfowitz was one among many advisors to the president at a time when most of us felt that Bush’s father had messed up. Are you prone to make these exaggerated assertions: “truly horrific war monger”? It makes you unreliable, y’know. Incidentally, the term WMD is being bandied about still without any clear agreement as to what folks are talking about. Those who wish to use neo-con as a code word for Jewish, might want to remember that Israel was urging us to attend to Iran not Iraq. More’s the pity now. It’s becoming clearer that Israel is speaking not only for itself, but for the Saudis and the Gulf Arabs who are counting on Israel and the Us to protect them. With five new German made submarines roaming through the area, Israel has the upperhand over any Iranian threat.

    • Bingo. Many are the philosophers and political thinkers (not to mention deities) whose words have been abused to support the most horrific of crimes.

    • ” Marx can be excused but not his supporters ”

      We whose ideas have been influenced by Marx can easily look at his work and point out where he went wrong. His biggest problem was that he didn’t have himself as the bottom line and had to spend his time ploughing new furrows rather than having the luxury which we have of studying and analysing his work.

      He was the most important writer in the world but he made big mistakes …you would if you cover such huge fields.His work impacts on every social science ..philosophy, sociology, politics, psychology , religion, economics and history …hence his supporters may not even realise that is what they are. You may be one .

      • Yeah, rascal, never mind that Marx’s followers, like Lenin, Stalin and Mao, were totalitarian monster of the same calibre as the führer, responsbible for millions of deaths, enslavement and untold human suffering.

        Yeah, we know it was all for a good cause.

        • They read Marx. Hitler read the bible. You can read Marx and decide for yourself ..not you obviously …you seem to think you read Marx then like a robot instantly become a tyrant.

          We are all individuals…yes we are all individuals…except Ser Jew who daren’t read Marx in case he suddenly wants to set up gulags!

          • Mary read the bible, too, imbecille.
            The simplistic phrase that we are all individuals not only contradicts important points of the social theory of Marx, but is just hollow, Fitting to you.

            • It was a joke. I was quoting the funniest film of all time the Life Of Brian. How amusing that you did not get the reference…and the fact that you call me an imbecile.. oh sweet irony.

              • Sure, being caught as always, it was just fun, imbecille.
                Your narrative is strongly limited.

                • Fritz,
                  You mean to tell us that you haven’t seen and memorized “The Life of Brian” the funniest movie of all time? ; )

                • ‘ cause I`m always looking on the bright side of life.
                  No, the film has more to do with´the British view from left, as at that time the split between the different Palestinian terror groups calling themselves marxist and financed by the Soviet bloc and the self styled progressive Arab states like Libya, Iraque and Syria. was perverted into a Jewish split in Roman times.
                  Maybe influenced by Palin who since the dismiss of the Soviet bloc has developed a faible for Islam, bearing in mind the serial about the crusades, completely misrepresented.
                  There already are all ingredients of defamation of the west, correct reading and writing, decadency represented by the Roman homosexuality (aka US American/British) and more. Anyway, maybe it was necessary at that time, and it is still fun, bearing in mind the perversion.

                • Fritz – your analysis of the Life of Brian, which is MOST DEFINITELY the funniest film of all time (except for the silly alien scene) baffles me. I disagree with almost every aspect of it, but are you suggesting that the Jews of Judea in the first century were not divided? They most certainly were.

                • I didn`t argue the division in old times, I pointed to the contemporary context of this persiflage, f.e. the fighting between Palestinian terror factions, PLO, PFLP, Saiqa etc. and their antiimperialistic rhetoric against the USA and Israel, backed by the Soviet bloc.

              • “It was a joke” rapscallion burden

                Yes, you are the funniest joke his blog has ever seen.

          • Rapscallion,
            A little difference there between someone who’s read something and a follower. SerJew speaks of followers, and you try to muddy the waters.

            • In fact, it was ItsikdeWembley who pointed it out (about the followers). It’s just pathetic that Marxists think they can get away with the grotesque legacy of communism.

          • Rascal Smug is still deciding whether the blog is right for him. He’s consulting his “famous in-laws”, is re-reading a cartoon version of “Das Kapital” and playing I-Ching.

  6. The Eagleton articles positively reeks of jealousy. And accusing Bono of sanctioning the Irish Famine is, erm, beyond the pale.

  7. Real fun, as Bono cancelled performances in Israel due to BDS. But maybe his trip to Israel last year spoiled the beans.
    A rift in the BDS front?

  8. “he inherited the social conscience of the 1960s without its political radicalism,”
    “which is why he has proved so convenient a front man for the neo-liberals.”
    Oh no, Bono is a tool !
    Come see the violence inherent in the system!

  9. “If Bono really knew the history of his own people,” he doesn’t?

    “Widespread hunger is the result of predatory social systems”
    One can just imagine who he would include and omit from such a list of ‘social systems.’

    “Since an outsider is unlikely to know much about global economics, he is likely to take his cue from the conventional wisdom of the insiders, which is why Bono is both maverick and conservative.”

    So today’s lesson, boys and girls, is that Bono is a ‘bad’ man. No matter what good he might have done for anybody, the ‘real’ job of a humanitarian is to tear down “the system.” And if you need help with global economics, ask some marxists, they’re the experts.

  10. “…ask some marxists, they’re the experts.”

    Like, for instance, our own hypo-marxist (or harpo-marxist) Rascal Boor.

  11. Heh. I remember the first time I was called a ‘neocon’ (this is, of course, also another code word for “JOOOOO!!1!” amongst certain folks these days), just like it was yesterday. Not long before I was kicked out of the US progressive-left website Daily Kos, which was at one time my blog home for years. Good times!

    • “neo con …JOOOOO ”

      I had no idea that people thought this. I get that some of the worst warmongers like Wolf and his assistant Feith was it ? were Jewish but so what??? …there were hundreds of others.. war mongers who were not Can you elaborate?

      • Sure, I can elaborate. But considering your comment here, why bother? I hate to inform you of this, Rosco, but nothing you bring here is original in any way whatsoever.

        Yes, we get it. You strongly dislike Jews, at the very least.

        The real question, however, is why do you think any of us care?

        “I had no idea”

        Yes, we know you have no idea. You could have just left it at that, and we’d all be better off for it…

  12. Oh dear,sucking up to the Israelis*,the ultimate crime.
    Bono and Eagleton are pretty neck and neck when it comes to twattery shurely?
    (And what of the groaniad’s off shore financial arrangements?Hardly right on is it?Nor are there articles and ads for high end products).
    *ie,not condemning Israel and sucking up to Islamofascism,like groaniadistas do.