Potato Man

Amber's new sunglasses make her look disconcertingly like Bono. Inspired by this, she puts U2's "Best of 1980-1991" into the CD player. Nate makes a startling statement.

"I hate U2," Nate says.

I am startled. Arguing with Nate is pointless, and asking for an explanation will lead only to an hour of drunken babbling. So I remain silent and let the kickass opening bars of "Pride (In the Name of Love)" wash over me.

Who the fuck hates U2?

Maybe they're not your favorite band, maybe you don't own all their albums, maybe you can't name the ones who aren't Bono and The Edge. Maybe you don't own any of their albums and you're not even sure which one's The Edge. But still...how can you hate U2? They're one of those bands that pretty much everyone can agree on. Everyone can at least listen to U2 for a while and not be bothered by it.

This isn't my first encounter with this baffling phenomenon. Back when "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" was coming out and "Vertigo" (admittedly not U2's best effort) was getting lots of airtime, a co-worker said, "I could get more into U2 if Bono wasn't such a choad!"

This is, of course, an even more startling statement. Bono is a choad? What? Okay, so U2's not your favorite band. But Bono is a choad? I can see, "I don't listen to Limp Bizkit. Fred Durst is such a choad!" Quite true, though Limp Bizkit would pretty much suck balls whether Fred Durst was a choad or not. (Yes, by the way, I am just trying to make you read the word "choad" as many times as possible).

Bono is actually quite the humanitarian, of course, donating bags and bags of money and not just a little time to criminally underfunded and unsung causes. Seriously, every Beastie Boys-listenin' fuckwit out there has a "Free Tibet" sticker on his Jetta 'cuz MCA hangs out with the Dalai Lama but couldn't give two shits about the stinking mess that the world has made of Africa.

Bono (and the rest of the lads from Dublin) also made a self-mocking guest appearance on one of the last great episodes of "The Simpsons." "The man's talking about waste management, people! That affects the whole damn planet!" Bono filled the "Andy Richter" role in Conan O'Brien's "In the Year 2000" sketch, too...and that's pretty good.

So...definitely not a choad, then (ooo, there's one more!).

And still I just can't get over "I hate U2." How is this even possible? Sure, there are bands out there that some people dig and some people just hate. Not long ago, the same Nate was shocked, shocked I tell you, when I countered his assertion that "everyone" owns a copy of Nine Inch Nails' The Downward Spiral. I do not own said Spiral. NIN just doesn't do it for me. Never has. Too aggressive, too industrial, too much. Not my cuppa.

But what's to hate about U2? Maybe I'm way, way off-base here, but I just always grouped U2 in with those bands that pretty much everybody with any taste in music at all likes at least a little. It's a select group - U2, the Beatles, the Stones, R.E.M.... Not necessarily everybody's favorite bands, but the ones that are likely to find general agreement in a large, mixed group when you put one of their discs into the player, y'know?

Am I wrong? No way, I'm not wrong - Nate's just fuckin crazy, right?