Many people can lay claim to having a “rich uncle” in the family. He flies up from Florida to celebrate Christmas in the cramped home of your middle class grandparents. His kids get cars and jet-skis for their birthdays. Sometimes he’s the favorite uncle of all the kids, sometimes he’s the dregs of the family, but either way, there are certain requests which decency forbids one make of him.
Let’s say, for example, that you want one hundred thousand dollars. You have a job, you work your ass off, pay your bills, put gas into your clunker of a car, but you are deeply saddened how, at the end of each year, there is little left of your meager earnings to give to charitable causes. Regardless of the purpose to which you would put your one hundred thousand dollars, most people who have even an average amount of intelligence, as well as normal helping of dignity, would not call up their rich uncle and demand one hundred thousand dollars.
“What for?” Rich Uncle might say.
“Why, to help starving Cambodian children and some Afghanis who have been oppressed by the Taliban for decades,” cries the pleading less fortunate niece or nephew.
“I see,” says Rich Uncle. “You want me to give one hundred thousand dollars to poor people and give you the credit so that you can ease your conscience?”
“Well, when you put it that way, I sound like a jerk,” exclaims the niece or nephew with the profusely bleeding heart.
Absurd, right? Yet think how much more ridiculous it would be if Rich Uncle called up Even Richer Foreign Oil Magnate.
“Hey, how’s it going E.R.F.O.M.?” Rich Uncle says gregariously into his state-of-the-art cell phone with a video game chip, a digital camera and messenger built in. “I’ve been thinking…there are a lot of people without adequate air conditioning in France. Summer hits and those people drop like flies! I know how rich you are, you’re a multi-billionaire. How can you sit by with a crisis like this on our hands? How about sending me a blank check so we can start dealing with this emergency immediately? I think it’s your moral duty, seeing as how you have so much.”
“But aren’t you fairly wealthy yourself?” inquires E.R.F.O.M.
“Uh, yeah, I do pretty well. I have two houses and several offshore bank accounts. But look, I cannot believe you are hemming and hawing about a crisis like this! This is an emergency! This is your job as a rich man who is not from France and has nothing to do with the state of their air conditioning!”
This is the kind of scene that comes to mind when I read about Irish rock star Bono leading a posse of “activists”–one of the most fallacious misnomers of all time–to meet with President Bush about AIDS relief. “The AIDS is not a cause, it’s an emergency,” Bono recently squealed.
In addition to being named Bono, Bono’s other credentials as a politically aware, compassionate artiste are his leather jacket, blue-tinted sunglasses and the praising words “he sure was smart,” from former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers. Bono had been in Summers’ office apparently, seeking alms for the poor.
An admitted “egomaniac,” Bono has been to Africa, and he and his wife worked in an orphanage for six weeks in Ethiopia. He also tours, sells out hundreds of shows and performs to millions of adoring fans, sells millions of albums and wins Grammies. Along with Bono and Bono’s ego, Bono has two alter-egos he transforms into onstage: The Fly and MacPhisto. His bandmates are The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen.
One would think that between the seven of them, they could come up with enough petty cash to be able to forego the presumption of demanding, with righteous indignation, millions and even billions of dollars from a country of which they are not citizens. That “endless” supply of cash the U.S. government lays claim to comes from the American people. So in actuality we have a situation which is a reversal of the Rich Uncle/ Even Richer Foreign Oil Magnate scenario. We have a troupe of rich and famous people with silly made-up names, who rub elbows with Bill Gates, demanding money from us, the average American slaves who hand over our earnings to the state.
Besides his blue-tinted sunglasses, oily hair and boring, self-derivative music, the fact that this crooning Irish superstar has a perpetually standing invitation to the White House is also nauseating. What virtues and unique rights does he possess that he can air his opinions to a foreign leader and actually bitch said leader into action? I want my own private session with the Head Honcho; I’ve got plenty to say. Do you think if I went as my alter-ego The Common Garden Slug I too could affect foreign policy?
Bono also seems to be suffering from the delusion that it is he alone who knows the horrifying truth about “the AIDS” and third world debt. He must traverse the world, enlightening ignorant, selfish Americans every step of they way, because, in the words of one of his cohorts, “Americans don’t know about f***ing Philadelphia, let alone Africa. Trade is some very sophisticated politics. You have to particularize the drama for them. You’ve got to have a melody line.”
Thank God for people named “The Edge” who can help Americans focus their feeble minds on “sophisticated politics.” I mean, who do I think I am? I learned about world history and international affairs from reading books, while Bono “learned about South America from listening to the Clash.”
“I refused to meet him at first,” said Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill of Bono. “I thought he was just some pop star who wanted to use me.” Wrong, Mr. O’Neill. He wants to use the American taxpayers.
How’s about I “particularize the drama” at hand for Bono and his rich cronies with a “melody line” of my own: America ain’t your rich uncle.
Eleanor Ankrom, a student of Soviet history, French language and political science writes from Ohio.
Source: AFF Doublethink Online | Joseph Hammond
Source: AFF Doublethink Online | Emma Elliott Freire