U2 Pop Culture Database

The Gospel According To Larry

Janet Tashjian

U2 Pop Culture Reference:
[This is all from Michelle "Aleck" who I thank profusely. The lead character, Larry, runs an anti-consumerism web page that Bono stumbles upon and begins praising in public.]

[Page 89]
One of Larry's sermons--the one about the richest nations consuming themselves into oblivion while almost half of the six billion people on the planet live on less than two dollars a day--had stirred up many discussions in the chat rooms. Larry wrote a follow-up about the World Bank and how it could help Third World countries by forgiving them some of their debt. The sermon had been posted weeks ago with not a lot of fanfare.
Until Bono read it.
It seems that U2's lead singer was doing research for a presentation he was giving to the U.S. Senate on his pet topic--the World Bank and Third World debt--when he turned up Larry's sermon. The sermon intrigued him; he checked out the site and loved the anticonsumer, free-the-people-from-corporate-oppression spirit. This would have been all well and good if U2 hadn't also released a new song. The subject was antimaterialism and it rocked. Bono had written it months before, and it had absolutely nothing to do with my sermons, but a few fervent Larry fans didn't care. They adopted the song as their own.
The new song led to a video--a wild smorgasbord with so much STUFF in it that if you weren't a believer in cutting back consumption before you watched it you sure as hell were after.
Of course, the video led to interviews and articles.
Then a tour.
And over the next several weeks, all these wonderful, amazing things led U2's millions and millions of fans to one place.
Larry's web site.
Now, I'm not saying I wasn't flattered--OF COURSE I WAS. I had grown up on their music: my mother had been their biggest fan (In one of the last photos I have of her, her hair is almost gone and she's lying on the couch wearing her Joshua Tree T-shirt. I had been named for the tall, twisted evergreen after my pregnant mother had visited a friend in Arizona. When the U2 album came out four years later, she memorized every song.) But as much as I was insanely ecstatic that Bono was talking to Kurt Loder about Larry, I also knew that one of Larry's philosophies was against celebrity worship. I was torn. I would have cut off my right arm with a Weedwacker to meet Bono. On the other hand, I knew I should lead my own life and let Bono live his.

[Page 111.]
"You will never guess what Bono's doing." We talked about the mega-rock star now as if he were someone we knew personally. "A giant rock festival--U2 is playing!--along with dozens of other bands in a big empty field in Maine. Music, arts and crafts..." she read from the paper in her hand, "a spontaneous gathering of anticonsumerism and general goodwill called Larryfest."

[Page 122.]
When U2 took the stage to close the show Saturday night, the crowd exploded.
Halfway through the set, Bono quieted the masses, "There's been lots of talk about finding out who this Larry really is. Well, I'll tell you, friends--I don't want to know!"
The audience cheered.
"Larry, this one's for you."
The opening chords to what the fans now called "Larry's Theme" filled the night sky. (To be honest, I would have preferred to hear "Bad," my favorite U2 song, one my mother swore was the greatest rock song ever recorded. But even if Bono had sung "I'm a Little Teapot" I would have screamed just as loudly.)

[Page 148.]
To be fair, there were a few good points to being outed. Meeting Bono, of course.

Besides U2, is it worth reading?
I haven't read it, but here's what Michelle says: I never actually read the entire book, just browsed around for U2 references, trying to see if the author would ever acknowledge that there are FOUR members of U2. *Sigh*. Well, she never did. It wasn't a bad book, but it was written for a younger audience than I thought. The plot had a lot of potential, but I don't think the author really tried to make it too interesting...I don't think I would recommend it to anyone over 15 or so. The U2 references didn't make it worthwhile, mostly because they were so obviously written by someone who doesn't know a lot about U2. I would be surprised if the author was a fan outside of the Joshua Tree album.

The Gospel According to Larry Information.

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copyright © 2001 Michael Warner Cummins
Most recent update: 7/16/02 4:42:26 PM
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