Prophets of pop need to come down from pulpit

Link to article in Irish Independent here

It’s Christmas time, there’s no need to be afraid. At Christmas time, there’s a famous Irish person sermonising to the masses, metaphorical lightsabre in one hand, the scripture of righteous self-importance in the other. Saviours Bono, Bob Geldof, Glen Hansard, Blindboy from the Rubberbandits, and ‘the bard of the risen people’ Hozier spread the gospel of vainglory to their indulged disciples.

In a recent meritorious interview in the ‘Sunday Independent’, Hozier spoke about God, feminism, Trump and, of course, SinĂ©ad Burke. Radical.

“Irish people deserve better,” read the headline. I expected him to launch into a tirade against a Government which has presided over the greatest homeless crisis in the history of the State, and where the rental market has seen the middle-aged urban ‘working poor’ living with their mum and dad, their age-appropriate freedoms revoked.

“I think one of the greatest boundaries when it comes to men approaching what we would call a feminist mentality is that most men don’t realise that women are people with rich internal lives. And so in that respect living and working closely with the band [being] half women and half men is fantastic.”

Oh no. Quotas, and feminism. Hurl. Everything must be 50/50.

It’s not just Hozier, though. Once you achieve a certain level of acclaim it seems, you start preaching the epistles to the apostles like Blindboy, who used to be funny, but now bemoans the perils of fame. “Being in any way recognisable in 2019 is absolute hell.”

You think that’s hell? He does have a point, though. A bag over the head can come in handy, especially if buying jacks roll in a German discount store. But why the seriousness?

It’s like, “I’m famous, now I must quote CS Lewis, Flann O’Brien or Immanuel Kant and save the world”.

Is it a pattern? A rite of passage?

First you work yourself up from a nobody to world fame – a colossal achievement, by the way, but rather than celebrate, you become deep, like a reflective statue by a lake. You gain an intuitive understanding of zeitgeist and the challenges the rest of us underlings face, and have our collective backs.

Then you preach the importance of diversity and discuss the virtues of ‘talking to each other’. All well meaning, but tediously by the book. Also, where’s the self-deprecation?

Self-proclaimed lizard king and original preacher who kicked it all off with: “Is everybody in? The ceremony is about to begin,” Jim Morrison got the memo. “I’m an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments.”

Perhaps the grandiose sense of self is an Irish trait. We do love talking ourselves up and giving unsolicited sermons.

The irony is that outside of Ireland, people are like: “You’re part of England, right? You guys have corned beef for breakfast? Right?” No, wrong.

Hozier hosted ‘Master of the Universe’ Bono on his podcast, ‘Cry Power’, which is “about people who are using what’s available to change the world”, where they discussed the relationship between the divine and the infinite, but perhaps they should go around the world with a big map and a big red arrow on it, pointing to Ireland, going “this is where we’re from. Small isn’t it? But it spews talented, fun people”.

Let’s not forget that. By perpetuating this self-importance, younger generations are following suit and pontificating at far too young an age.

Lighten up, folks.

You come from saints and scholars, but you also come from humour and light-heartedness – noble, virtuous attributes, which deserve their time to shine.