The Education of Bono

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Bono’s the speech after receiving an honorary doctorate is pretty good stuff for thinking, (thanks to Stephen Shields –> Jordon Cooper –> Si Johnston … ah! the wonders of blogworld!)

‘My name is Bono and I am a rock star. Don’t get me too excited because I use four letter words when I get excited. ~ so that’s how he got our attention huh?!

allow me to just pick out stuff that “tugged me”, read the full “Because we can, we must” speech for the flow … there’s more to Bono than that opening statement. It’s not just the cool shades either!

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… I never went to college, I’ve slept in some strange places, but the library wasn’t one of them. I studied rock and roll and I grew up in Dublin in the ’70s, music was an alarm bell for me, it woke me up to the world. I was 17 when I first saw The Clash, and it just sounded like revolution. The Clash were like, “This is a public service announcement–with guitars.” I was the kid in the crowd who took it at face value. Later I learned that a lot of the rebels were in it for the T-shirt. They’d wear the boots but they wouldn’t march. They’d smash bottles on their heads but they wouldn’t go to something more painful like a town hall meeting. By the way I felt like that myself until recently.

… So for better or worse that was my education. I came away with a clear sense of the difference music could make in my own life, in other peoples’ lives if I did my job right.

… Well, the going rate for change is not cheap. Big ideas are expensive.

… So my question I suppose is: What’s the big idea? What’s your big idea? What are you willing to spend your moral capital, your intellectual capital, your cash, your sweat equity in pursuing outside of the walls of the University of Pennsylvania?

… There’s a truly great Irish poet his name is Brendan Kennelly, and he has this epic poem called the Book of Judas, and there’s a line in that poem that never leaves my mind, it says: “If you want to serve the age, betray it.” What does that mean to betray the age?

Well to me betraying the age means exposing its conceits, it’s foibles; it’s phony moral certitudes. It means telling the secrets of the age and facing harsher truths.

… I know idealism is not playing on the radio right now, you don’t see it on TV, irony is on heavy rotation, the knowingness, the smirk, the tired joke. I’ve tried them all out but I’ll tell you this, outside this campus–and even inside it–idealism is under siege beset by materialism, narcissism and all the other isms of indifference. Baggism, Shaggism. Raggism. Notism, graduationism, chismism, I don’t know. Where’s John Lennon when you need him.

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2 Responses to The Education of Bono

  1. Imagine! says:

    …brilliant!

  2. YK says:

    Hmm.. might just provide the answer to the perplexing questions we were considering as a CG last night…

    “Why God?” – because we ought to do something about it!

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