The ISIS attack on Paris was ugly and brutal. It has brought out the best in some people (solidarity, Americans taking a short break from hating France, all those temporarily shaded Facebook photos) and the worst in others (it’s France, not our problem).
It also has elicited some strange reactions – among them one from Bono, of all people, who according to USA Today said that
“If you think about it, the majority of victims last night are music fans,” he said in a Saturday phone interview with Irish radio host Dave Fanning. “This is the first direct hit on music that we’ve had in this so-called War on Terror. And it’s very upsetting. These are our people. … The cold-blooded effect of this slaughter is deeply disturbing and that’s what I can’t get out of my head.”
The attack, of course, was certainly not a “direct hit” on music. It was a direct hit on people, on a city, on a country, on a way of life, on a culture, on a religion, on a civilization, on humanity, it was a direct hit on many things but it most certainly was not a direct hit on music.
Bono’s always seemed like a pretty good guy – one of those people in the public eye who takes advantage of his privileged position to think and care about and act on behalf of others. His perspective in this situation, though, seems a little off and a lot self-centered; maybe it’s because he was in Paris at the time of the attack. He doesn’t have to worry: if ISIS ever attacks the Grammy Award ceremonies it’ll be because there are a lot of people in one place, a lot of celebrities in one place, and a lot of television cameras there to capture it. It would be the same if such an attack were perpetrated at a movie theater, a football game, a subway stop, or yes, a concert.
But it won’t be because of the musicians or the music they perform and no one will go ballistic, pardon the pun, over a stirring rendition of “Where the streets have no name” or even “Sunday bloody Sunday.”