Bono’s Book Creates a Convert

I can’t wait to read this book. For all of the flak that Bono gets for being a rock star with a conscience, he still manages to surprise those who can restrain their cynicism long enough to listen to him.

Bono said: “You know, celebrity is ridiculous. It’s silly, but it’s a kind of currency, and you have to spend it wisely. And I’ve learnt that much. …

“I see the embarrassment, excruciating at times, of ‘Rich rock star works on behalf of the poorest and most vulnerable.’ I mean, it’s a very embarrassing photograph. Yet, you can’t deny who you are. And if I gave all my money away, I’d just be a bigger star. (Laughs). Right? … I can use this ridiculous thing called celebrity to the advantage of these issues. That’s the only qualification I need. I’m there, I have the loud-hailer, and I’m gonna use it.”

Assayas, Bono’s interviewer, is a close friend, but that did not stop him from grilling the rock star. At one point, he asked Bono if “the money you have might lead you to develop very unrealistic views about the world. Don’t you tend to forget about the problems that an ordinary person has to face in an ordinary life?”

Bono presents a cogent argument: “But which reality am I not in touch with? You’re working on behalf of a billion people who live on less than a dollar a day. Isn’t it more important that I’m more in touch with their needs than the normal Western life you describe?”

The guy makes a lot of sense. He could be using his celebrity to buy more islands in Fiji or something. He truly seems to want to do good. And I respect that.

No longer will I take Bono’s name in vain.

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet has two passions: writing fiction, and celebrating art — music, cinema, photography, literature — through writing and teaching. He is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” — Through a Screen Darkly. And his four-novel fantasy series, The Auralia Thread, which begins with Auralia's Colors, was published by Random House. He speaks at universities and conferences around the world about understanding art through eyes of faith. He is earning his MFA in Creative Writing at Seattle Pacific University, where he has worked for 11 years as an editor, writer, and communications project manager. His work has been recognized in The New Yorker, TIME, The Seattle Times, IMAGE, Ravi Zacharias International — and Christianity Today, where he served as a film journalist for more than a decade. He recently began a weekly column called "Listening Closer" for Christ and Pop Culture.

  • sg

    Glad to see you back posting! Even gladder you’re having such a good time. :)

  • Nick Alexander

    Ack! I was in Glorieta, just outside of Santa Fe, this whole weekend. We could’ve met in person… Oh well…

  • Beth

    I’ve read an advance copy (there are supposed to be some changes), and he’s amazing on Africa and on life in general, and indeed his humility is quite striking — but the thing that absolutely blew me away (and which hasn’t been pointed out really since there hasn’t been a Christian media review yet) was his complete openness about his faith. The “Dissimulate At All Costs” 1990s policy is clearly over in a big way. At one point the interviewer actually chides him for bringing up God and quoting the Bible so much no matter what the topic is. My goodness, he even talks about his prayer life…more than once!