Bono's New York Times column is getting all sorts of attention and provoking all sorts of emotion. Surely it's just as he hoped. And as a provocateur he's perfectly happy to absorb some bad reviews.
Some of these names are noteworthy. Some are not. But they all agree on one thing:
Bono's new column is truly dreadful.
In just his first effort, Bono has already managed to combine the worst tropes of Thomas Friedman and Maureen Dowd and fuse them together into some new alchemy of awfulness.
[A]s a newspaper columnist, you are truly an execrable failure. "Glasses clinking clicking, clashing crashing in Gaelic revelry"? Did you come up with that in a freshman writing seminar?
Why did the "New York Times" make this deal? Didn’t Bono have to submit any samples? Couldn’t they have rejected this piss-poor piece before they printed it? Can’t they cancel the deal now?
It doesn’t even bother me (that much) that his writing style seems to have been influenced entirely by Rolling Stone articles about himself. It is that pretentious, but it’s not that surprising. I mean, having been exposed to the guy’s music for my entire life, it’s hardly a major shock that he’d try and force the same kind of pompous grandiosity into every sentence and paragraph.
Bono bloviates nonsensically about "duality" as he wraps things up, trying to locate himself within the pantheon of great, drunken Irish authors, but it's no use...it's a poorly conceived piece that shows how tone-deaf he is to the reality outside his jet-setting bubble.
I'm glad I'm not teaching composition this year. But I'm a little sad that I won't have a chance to use Bono's piece as an example of a rambling disjointed inflated and pointless effort.† He might have intended a point about the opportunities and challenges of the new year, but he doesn't say anything about them. Unless you think there's wisdom in Frank Sinatra's torch song My Way. I'd say there's about as much wisdom there as in Elvis' Viva Las Vegas.
It's just the type of writing that a healthy demographic will think is brilliant (just check the comments on JT Ramsay's piece). But it's not going to last because it's full of all the tricks and turns that a promising fourteen-year-old shares with his teacher after class—because the other kids will never get it. I must be one of those kids. And Bono should have outgrown this purple prose by now.
† I might use it as a bit of audio for transcription. The text of the column is accompanied by a recording of Bono's performance.