Thursday, January 24, 2008

Make the Joke a Good One

I once heard a story (which may or may not be true) about a letter that George Bernard Shaw wrote to Leo Tolstoy. The story goes that he wrote something like the following:

Imagine, just for the sake of argument, that all of the known universe was created by some Divine Being as nothing more than a joke; would we not still be morally obliged to play our part in making the joke a good one?

I raise this point because, if the Grey Council that sets the agenda for the World Economic Forum views Bono as nothing more than "entertainment value," as I suggested yesterday; then, according to a dispatch from Agence France-Presse, the man certainly knew how to entertain his Davos audience. He shared the stage with Al Gore and seemed to have prepared a rather nice routine:

Acknowledging that a career in rock music was not always conducive to a green lifestyle, Bono compared a conversation with Gore to an act of religious contrition.

"It's like being with an Irish priest. You start to confess your sins," he said. "Father Al, I am not just a noise polluter, I am a noise-polluting, diesel-soaking, gulfstream-flying rock star.

"I'm going to kick the habit. I'm trying father Al, but oil has been very good for me -- those convoys of articulated lorries, petrochemical products, hair gel."

Bono and Gore were in Davos to push their respective campaigns for poverty alleviation and reducing carbon emissions.

So Bono scored some entertainment points (not to mention a rim shot or two); but what about Gore? Even with his Nobel Peace Prize, could it be that the Grey Council now loves him more for scoring at the Academy Awards? Is he, too, just an entertaining diversion, providing a break in a day full of collusions between governments and businesses?

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