The Corner

Mysterious Ways

So the professors have discovered U2. A new book, Exploring U2, looks like the very sort of thing that academics should not produce, with its entries titled “The Authentic Self in Paul Ricoeur and U2″ and “Vocal Layering as Deconstruction and Reinvention in U2.” Yet one of the pieces is by Stephen Catanzarite, a pop-culture writer who is not a professor (but is an NRO reader). It’s called “All That We Can’t Leave Behind: U2′s Conservative Voice.” Here’s an extract:

Certainly, nobody will ever confuse the members of U2 for the editorial board of National Review. In fact, the band’s political affections seem to most often favor those on the left side of the aisle. Still, I submit that the songs of U2 betray a state of mind, a type of character, a way of looking at the civil social order that is undeniably conservative.

Well, we did put “Gloria” on our list of conservative rock songs:

Just because a rock song is about faith doesn’t mean that it’s conservative. But what about a rock song that’s about faith and whose chorus is in Latin? That’s beautifully reactionary: “Gloria / In te domine / Gloria / Exultate.”

In his chapter, Stephen quotes Russell Kirk and stuff like that. It’s mind candy for conservatives who turn up the volume when “Where the Streets Have No Name” comes on the radio.

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.


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