Monday, May 22, 2017

Bono, Rosa Parks, and...Lena Dunham?

Can someone please explain to me why, in a video montage celebrating great women in U.S. history, a true American hero like Rosa Parks shares the screen with…Lena Dunham?

This past weekend, U2 played two sold-out shows at the Rose Bowl.

I was there. 

The focal point of the concert was a vast video screen which “displayed striking high-definition landscape scenes by the photographer Anton Corbijn, who’s managed U2’s visual approach for decades,” according to the L.A. Times.

For example: An early segment showed a clip from the obscure 1958 TV western “Trackdown,” in which a “huckster” by the name of Trump “tries to frighten the residents of a small town into building a protective wall.” 

Big cheers for hitting the obvious target.

Ok, I get it. So clearly it was going to be a night of feel-good “virtue signaling,” during which the once subtle and inviting frontman Bono instead simply checked all the politically correct boxes: Immigration, gender issues, AIDS, poverty, social justice, and what have you.

We in the audience could clap along while simultaneously patting ourselves on the back for sharing all the right values—for being one of the cool kids.

Late in the set, the band played “Ultraviolet” as a tribute to women of significance throughout American history. A wide-screen montage showed images of true trailblazers such as Sojourner Truth and Rosa Parks alongside more recent public figures with arguably more modest resum├ęs. (Michelle Obama got the biggest cheers.)

Notably absent were women from more conservative backgrounds—Nikki Haley, Condoleezza Rice, or, say, Sandra Susan Merritt, even.

Still, Lena Dunham made the cut.

Dunham is an outspoken liberal who (to use liberal argot) grew up in privilege. A celebrity comedienne who, like virtually all comedians these days, mines a vein of coarse, cringe-worthy “humor.” In her recent book, she recounts how she sexually molested her six year-old sister. She won a Director’s Guild Award, and is a darling of the Hollywood community.

But I think conflating the achievements of the truly courageous Parks, the “first lady of civil rights,”  with Dunham is nothing short of dumb and insulting. It diminishes Park's landmark contribution to our country.

I fully appreciate that an overarching theme of this leg of the Joshua Tree tour is a sincere appreciation of, and tribute to America—even as Bono seeks to prod or even chide its citizens, all in an effort to encourage us to continue to “reach out and touch the flame.”

But I don’t think people like Dunham will be leading us to that promised land.

On the other hand, what would I know?

I just drive a truck...