RTE has been doing a "30 years of U2" event, and in conjunction with this they put up a number of rare U2 radio and TV clips from their archives. Several of these are very early and well worth it purely for the hilarity value, but I do want to comment on one in particular.
Near the bottom of the first page of archives, there's a 5'45" clip where an especially horrifically-mulleted Bono talks to Gay Byrne about the video for "New Year's Day." Byrne asks: why snow? and Bono's response is so arcane as to have made me stop and rewind the player a couple times -- but indicative, I think. Essentially he says that the album they are about to release is titled War but its theme is actually surrender, and "I had this idea of using the snow as a sort of covering. [He explains about flying white flags as a symbol onstage.] And then I thought of the white snow, the ultimate sort of symbol of surrender."
I wonder what percentage of an audience would connect a white covering at all with surrender, much less see snow as its "ultimate symbol"? ("White as snow" is at least a direct quote that has some currency in the culture; this covering/surrender image is wandering around somewhere near the end of a series of conclusions drawn from... I dunno, things like Psalm 51:6-8, Rom 4:7, Rev 7:8-15, Gal 3:26-27 and maybe elsewhere?) It hits me how incredibly abstract, obscure and cerebral this intended symbolic message of the snow in the video is; if a fan independently argued for it on a forum, they'd probably be mocked for grasping at straws.
I sure never would have thought of snow = white covering = surrender, but for one thing, perhaps it throws a little more light on what's going on with the long-time live pairing of "Until the End of The World" and "New Year's Day."