What do you call people such as Bono (Paul Hewson) and Al Gore? They are stars, activists, and political figures, that’s for sure. It almost seems as though we need a new word to describe them though, because they transcend so many labels. There are many others who might fall into this category of people I have in my head (such as Bill Gates perhaps), but Bono and Gore are the two that come to mind first. You might say “activist” is a good enough word, but I don’t think so. More on that in a moment.
When I say Gore is the new Bono, I mean that in a good way. Al Gore seems to have taken the template used by Bono and adapted it for his own purposes. It goes something like this:
- Become famous.
- Find something you’re passionate about.
- Use your fame (and perhaps wealth) to support your passion.
Obviously Bono wasn’t the first person to do this, and Gore won’t be the last. I just point them out because of timing – I’m too young to really recognize the pattern in anyone before Bono, and thanks to the Internet and other present-day methods of global communication, the efforts of Bono and Gore are more visible than ever before.
I should also point out that Bono and Gore are different from people like Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, and others. All are activists, sure, but the latter group are famous because of their activism, whereas Gore and Bono became famous first for something else and then turned to becoming activists.
Bono has been a special guest at all sorts of events that you wouldn’t expect a rockstar to be at. Gore is doing the same at events you wouldn’t expect a former Vice-President to attend. Bono helped organize Live8 back in 2005, and Gore is doing the same for Live Earth this year.
Bono was named by Time as a Person of the Year back in 2005, and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times. Gore has been nominated for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, and who knows, maybe he’ll grace the cover of Time come December.
Bono’s passion is for humanitarian issues, Gore’s passion is for environmental issues. Makes me wonder who will come next and what it is that person will have a passion for.