knee the world

The wind it is howling. And the snow is outrageous.

But as you grudgingly accept on this, another sunny day, that winter weather ain’t going nowhere, you can perhaps draw comfort from the thought that it could be worse.

You could be Bono.

The U2 frontman has had a difficult few weeks. There was the near-miss airplane incident, which saw the Sunday Bloody Sunday singer’s luggage (mostly pairs of sunglasses) embark on an unscheduled airdrop over Berlin. Then, earlier this week, there was what has been described as a “high-energy bicycle accident.” It was high energy, presumably, because Bono was involved. Subsequent accounts of the bizarre cycling accident have reported Bono may be out of circulation for some time. May I suggest, Mr. ‘no, recuperating at Big Pink, maybe jamming in the basement with a few old friends?

So Bono is presumably watching his back at the moment — even if, as rock and roll freak accidents go, the I Will Follow vocalist’s misadventures are still not up there with, say, falling out of a tree.Smirking press accounts of Bono’s recent activities have included a piece, featured on respected news source Gawker, that posed the inevitable question: “Is someone trying to kill Bono?”

A fair question.

And I reckon if someone is trying to kill Bono, that someone is almost certainly God.

The Almighty cannot be pleased to have had his name excised from the new recording of Do They Know It’s Christmas? Someone must be smoten. And that someone appears to be Bono, who removed the deity’s name from the international anthem just as brashly as Pierre Trudeau inserted God’s name into our national anthem.

Of course, Bono is no Pierre Trudeau. I think we can all agree on that.

But if God’s efforts to punish Bono for removing his name in vain have so far come to nought, it seems everyone else is stepping-up a campaign to punish Bob Geldof for once again resurrecting a song forever to be associated with Ethiopia, famine relief and 1980s fashion. I mean, to allow pretenders like One Direction to stand in the sacred space once occupied by Bananarama? What is the Boomtown Rat thinking?

Well, I can’t say for certain, but I believe he is thinking he might be able to help stem the tide of a global disaster and save a few lives.

Worth a try, right?

Wrong, say braying voices determined to find fault with Band Aid’s latest star-studded relief effort.

Writing in the Washington Post, Laura Seay this week took Band Aid to task for having not always managed to get money to the appropriate parties. Mostly, though, the journalist and professor took the song to task for having relatively weak lyrics. (A rarity in the world of pop music.) Do they know it’s Christmas, she huffs? A substantial percentage of the people in the Ebola-affected nations in Africa are freakin’ Christians, you morons! (I’m paraphrasing here.) Now, again, I don’t want to put words in Bob Geldof’s mouth (Heaven forfend!) but I’m pretty sure he and Midge (if that is his real name) Ure were and are not so much questioning Africans’ knowledge of world religion as they were and are trying to suggest desperate people in desperate times may have more pressing concerns than, say, wrapping presents and waiting for Santa to arrive.

I could be wrong. And I’ll admit there is at least one major flaw in the existing lyrics, in that the Ebola outcry maintains the “Feed the world!” chorus that does not seem to apply here. (Though it scans better than, say, “Inoculate the world.”)

Seay also joined the chorus of naysayers who call Band Aid’s simplistic portrayal of Africa and Africans demeaning and patronizing. This moring on CBC Radio’s The Current, the head of something called the World Development Movement, for example, bemoaned that many hearing the song might mistakenly believe that all Africans are in a similarly helpless state. This, he stressed, is frankly wrong.
Ah, the ol’ people-are-basically-stupid argument. Effective.Me, I do not see the need to add a new Do They Know It’s Christmas? to my collection. But I’m pretty okay with trying to help people, and to keep Ebola in the headlines even as it fails to otherwise touch the lives of North Americans.True, like many of the song’s critics I have mixed feelings about altruism’s return to the world of rock and roll. Did Guns ‘n Roses teach us nothing, people? There are certain places where the spirit of giving is never welcome: banks; the Harper government; and, of course, rock and roll. Rockers are not supposed to think of others. They are here to think only of themselves, to amass a trove of material goods and then to see them slowly erode in a haze of drug addiction. In other words, to be a role model for youngsters everywhere.Raising money to help save lives? What is that? Not rock and roll, I can tell you.

So yes, I too spit on Do They Know It’s Christmas? and the people behind it. Raising money and awareness in response to a developing human tragedy? You can’t dance to that, Bob.

Unless, of course, we’re talking about, oh, maybe a benefit to help pay Bono’s medical bills.

Now that’s a cause worthy of rock and roll. Moreover, it’s something we can all relate to.

So please, U2 fans, give generously. After all, Bono gave you a new album even when you didn’t want one.

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