Smiling, Crying and Celebrity
His name is Bono, and he is a rock star -- and a diplomat, politician, fair trade activist, etc.
In sum, this man is the Saviour of the World. But what's he doing wearing a tie? He didn't even wear one when he visited with JP -- a new photo of said encounter's out, by the by. They always told me Niente foto was the rule. Apparently not.
So Bono Vox, Doctor of Laws honoris causa (a gong I helped him get when I put his name forward to serve as commencement speaker to the 248th graduating class of the University of Pennsylvania), returned to his honorary (and my real) alma mater last night to speak on the state of the planet and receive the Philly World Affairs Council's International Statesman Award.
The Inky was there
Bono, an advocate for African aid for more than two decades, broke up the audience of World Affairs Council members in the cavernous Irvine Auditorium as he appeared to struggle to find a nonjudgmental way of saying he had been surprised Bush knew so much about the negative effects of American trade on Africa.And even B16 -- no man of lax doctrinal cred, he -- has mentioned AIDS and Africa more than abortion, more than gay marriage, more than everything that gets our comboxes all fired up.
Bono backed away from using the word surprised, and also backed away from saying he was "delighted" by the level of the President's knowledge.
Finally he said he thought Bush was much better briefed about the trade problem than he [Bono] was.
Trade policies, which prevent African farmers from selling their products on the world markets, are part of the developed world's "corruption" that has fed poverty and disease in Africa, Bono said.
Bono noted that a combination of ACTUP, the gay advocacy group, and U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R., Pa.), who has been attacked for making allegedly anti-gay remarks, had helped get additional AIDS funding for Africa.
"If they can work together on this," Bono said, "so can we all."
It's a Catholic issue, people. Time to get movin'.
PHOTO: REUTERS/Tim Shaffer