U2's music—especially the Edge's soaring guitars—supports this lyrical vagueness. Their songs are gorgeous and majestic, but they produce only a single (though wonderful) emotion: a kind of lovely swelling of the soul. (For a sample of this in its purest form, listen to this snatch of "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For.")
This is the U2 paradox. Bono and Co. are constantly dedicating songs to specific causes, exhorting their fans to think and act in the world. Yet their music does exactly the opposite of what it intends. Politics is the process of channeling the heart into thought and action. U2's music declares that the heart is all that matters.
TODAY IN SLATE
More Than Scottish Pride
Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself.
What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture
Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You
Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows
Why Do Some People See the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese?
The science that explains the human need to find meaning in coincidences.
Happy Constitution Day!
Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.