Idol Chatter

Whether he’s appearing with Oprah to promote his latest fundraising strategy for aid to Africa or meeting with global leaders to convince them to commit more funds to African debt relief, it’s hard to find any negative press surrounding Bono’s indefatigable quest for social justice. Which is one of several excellent points made in an editorial over at Slate magazine, which scrutinizes Bono’s recent decision to relocate U2’s music publishing business from Ireland to the Netherlands in order to receive a bigger tax break.

It seems that there has been backlash against Bono back home in Ireland over the ethics behind the rock star’s attempt to shelter his own wealth while he’s asking the Irish government to give more money to Africa. (Here in th United States there has ben little mention of the controversy.)

So why is it anyone’s business what Bono pays or doesn’t pay in taxes? While some of the details are a little bit complicated, the issue is whether or not it is hypocritical for the most visible crusader in the world on behalf of the impoverished to ask his own country to increase funding for Third World relief when he is deliberately reducing tax payments to that country–payments that could help fund the very aid he’s requesting.

But in an even better question, Slate writer Timothy Noah asks the reader to consider whether or not we as a culture expect so little in the way of accountability from celebrities “that even a wealthy hypocrite who shelters his cash abroad can no longer qualify as news” here in the States.

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