So I was in Michigan last weekend giving a talk on global water issues. One night in my hotel I was watching ESPN (sports is one of my horrible vices, but that is probably another post…) and I came across this commercial. In the spot, Bono, the great champion of human rights goes through a litany of social ills (hunger, poverty, war, immigration, etc.) and concludes that all of these are irrelevant because for “one month, every four years, we all agree on one thing…” And that one thing? Soccer.
I was quite (and still am, I think) disgusted by the suggestion. Two reasons:
1) Is agreement about soccer (or any sport for that matter) really something to hang our hats on? I mean, we have no political will to address the great evils of our time, but we sure can appreciate guys running around and kicking a ball? Really?
2) Is Bono a sellout? Why trivialize such horrors?
So I’m wondering… Did I misread the ad? Is it saying something different? I really want it to, because I really like Bono.
If I am not misreading the ad, am I just being a grouch? I understand that people need entertainment, and it is nice for us to find the things that unite us (but I will repeat my–perhaps now tired–refrain, to what end are we united?). Also, I understand that we need to have diversions that help us cope with the darker and more difficult parts of human existence.
So the million dollar question: does this ad go overboard, or do I need a bit of perspective?