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Aid Watch Rerun: African leaders advise Bono on reform of U2


Bono thanks Commission chairman Nelson Mandela for the Report

NOTE FROM THE EDITORS: Over the holidays, we’ll be publishing reruns of some of our posts from the first 2 years of Aid Watch. This post originally ran on November 23, 2009.

An expert commission of African leaders today announced their plan for comprehensive reform of music band U2. Saying that U2’s rock had lost touch with its African roots, the commission called for urgent measures to halt U2’s slide towards impending crisis.

“Our youth today are imperiled by low quality music,” said Commission chairman Nelson Mandela. “We will be lending African musicians to U2 to try to refurbish their sound to satisfy the urgent and growing needs for diversionary entertainment at a time of crisis in the global music and financial sectors.”

Concerns about U2 have been growing in Africa for a while. One Western aid blogger testified to the Commission that his teenage kids found U2’s music “cheesy.” The Mandela Commission proposed that U2 follow a series of steps to recover its Edge:

1) Hire African consultants to analyze U2’s “poverty of music trap”

2) Prepare a Band-owned and Commission-approved Comprehensive U2 Reform Strategy Design (CURSD)

3) Undertake a rehabilitation tour of African capitals to field-test and ground-truth proposed reforms

4) Subject all songs to randomized experiments in which the effect on wellbeing of control and treatment groups is rigorously assessed.

Mandela expressed optimism that the Commission’s report and proposed reforms had come in time to stave off terminal crisis in U2, and restore its effectiveness in the 80s arena rock field.

This entry was posted in Satire and parodies and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  1. tyronen wrote:

    All joking aside, record companies really do go through processes similar to this. Marketing departments use media consultants and demographic analyses. Test audiences and surveys are used to try out new acts – or even names for proposed new acts.

    In any case your fixation on Bono is a little tiresome. Instead of regularly attacking him, why not find living celebrity activists you do agree with, and work with them?

    Posted December 30, 2010 at 10:53 am | Permalink
  2. I wrote:

    “African roots?” Ah-ha! I know all those stories about them originally being a street band from Dublin is false!

    Seriously though, how does changing U2’s sound have anything to do with aid-related stuff?

    Posted December 31, 2010 at 10:35 am | Permalink
  3. Andy wrote:

    Please keep mocking the idiotic celebrities. They are the crack-cocaine of the international aid world.

    1. They draw attention away from legitimate charities, which makes 90% of charities chase the celebrities and not concentrate on their mission.

    2. They condition the public that international aid is about trendy pictures, not long term improvement in peoples lives.

    Posted January 1, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Permalink
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    Posted January 3, 2011 at 2:58 am | Permalink
  5. SitiScommesse wrote:

    Bono is the best!

    Posted January 3, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Permalink
  6. Sara wrote:

    Remains my favourite post ever – thanks for reposting!

    Posted January 4, 2011 at 10:40 am | Permalink

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] more here: Aid Watch Rerun: African leaders advise Bono on reform of U2 AKPC_IDS += "8431,";Popularity: 50% […]

  2. By Afrikaner retten U2 | Die Welt da draußen on January 12, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    […] etwas älter, aber immer noch lustig: Aid Watch über die afrikanische Initiative zur Rettung einer irischen Rockband. Dieser Beitrag wurde unter […]

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    The Aid Watch blog is a project of New York University's Development Research Institute (DRI). This blog is principally written by William Easterly, author of "The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics" and "The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good," and Professor of Economics at NYU. It is co-written by Laura Freschi and by occasional guest bloggers. Our work is based on the idea that more aid will reach the poor the more people are watching aid.

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