I like Bono, iPhones are better than Androids, and other controversial opinions

Conor Pope: Baptism brought out the trolls, so here are some others things to pounce on

'I think that the world is a better place with Bono in it.' Photograph: Shane Bevel/The New York Times

'I think that the world is a better place with Bono in it.' Photograph: Shane Bevel/The New York Times

 

I’d like to address an elephant in my room before it wrecks the place. A while back I wrote a piece about baptising my child which caused a mild stir and generated some feedback, much of it on social media. Some of that feedback was positive and many who disagreed with me were kind in their responses. Some conversations I had with people diametrically opposed to the notion of a baptism were thought provoking and illuminating.

But there were others who were so blind with rage that I thought I’d baptised their children by mistake. I’m not playing victim here. I know that not-so-social media discourse can descend into vileness faster than 280 characters can be typed and I’ve seen – mostly female – colleagues routinely monstered for years for daring to express alternate views.

So, while upset, I was unsurprised to be labelled a “disgusting” and “stupid” “attention whore” who was happy to use my infant daughter as “bait” while condemning her to live in a world where she’s be “denied access to basic human rights”.

It was wearying but I know I got off lightly so by way of thanks to the trolls who – I realise – sometimes have to wait months or even years before they can pounce on someone who thinks differently to them, I thought I’d ‘fess up to other contrary views to allow them bundle this week’s rage.

1. I like Bono and think that the world is a better place with him in it. I also don’t hate U2 and was pleased to get that free album on my phone.

2. I supported water charges and had they been implemented I think we’d have a better water system at a lower price and that most precious resource would be better preserved. I still took the refund and the one time I met Paul Murphy he was pleasant and well informed.

3. Once I saw Bertie Ahern shuffling across a leafy Drumcondra avenue and climbing into a taxi. He appeared sad and broken and, as he looked furtively into my car, I felt sorry for him.

4. I don’t think the Electric Picnic line-up is that great this year and I will find the smugly self-satisfied tweets from those spending their EP weekend rubbing shoulders with Eamon Ryan and Colm O’Gorman in the VIP field hugely irritating. I’m also guilty of having previously sent smugly self-satisfied tweets from the VIP field as I rubbed shoulders with Eamon Ryan and Colm O’Gorman so I lack consistency and am a hypocrite.

5. I once harboured mean thoughts about Michael D after he blanked me a St Patrick’s Day parade even though I’m from Galway, was his student in UCG and had given him my first preference vote countless times. Before it was cool.

6. I like the Saw Doctors. Sometimes when glum I play Michael D Rockin In the Dáil. How could “Michael D, Michael D up on his bike-el-dee, Michael D, Michael D givin it all”’ not make you smile? Clare Island is wonderfully wistfulness and when Galway win an All-Ireland I listen to To Win Just Once repeatedly. My family love this about me.

Beards are an unwelcome trend, mainly as when I grow one it looks like my head has been inverted

6. I can take or leave LCD Soundsystem.

7. I gave up on Game of Thrones after four episodes. I hear it gets better but will never know. I watched the first series of The Wire and while it was grand, it was no Sopranos.

8. I think IPA is faintly ridiculous and I’m not mad on craft beer. Sometimes I yearn for the days when tins of Carlsberg and Buckfast in a glass were the height of sophisticated cool.

9. iPhones are better than Androids, streaming is better than vinyl and beards are an unwelcome trend, mainly because when I grow one it looks like my head has been inverted. But if it works for you, who am I to judge?

Michael Harding is on leave

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