With the Innocence + Experience tour in full swing, the haters aren’t letting up. While fans are giving the tour rave reviews, non-fans continue to deride, debase and otherwise despise everything to do with U2. How did the biggest rock band in the world become so loathed? And is this loathing a little overdone? Salon takes a look.
A Facebook friend recently prefaced his casual announcement that he was going to see U2 with a tongue-in-cheek addition: “Here’s a polarizing subject.” Indeed, very quickly, the thread devolved into fans of the band and passionate detractors mildly arguing with each other about the seemingly innocuous statement. This response was entirely predictable: U2 have always been a lightning rod for controversy and an easy target for ridicule and disdain, often and especially because of their own actions (e.g., Bono spray-painting “Rock and Roll Stops the Traffic” on a San Francisco public fountain, overindulging on red wine and disappearing for a quick nap during an interview, insulting Coldplay’s Chris Martin on the radio). Even though the band members themselves are often the first to admit to any foolishness or idiocy–Bono especially–it doesn’t seem to make much of a dent in the thicket of negativity surrounding them.