After reading Flanagan's book (U2 at the End of the World) and some interviews with Bono, I got to thinking about what the song is about from a more spiritual perspective. Couldn't "daddy" be a benevolent God who's always gonna forgive the main character's forays into decadence? This would go along well with For the First Time and The Wanderer later on in the album, as well as Bono's mindset during ZooTV.
Paul J. Zickler algernoncnw.com (contributed before the 20:th of February 1998)
I have often wondered if Bono had the idea for Macphisto in mind before he wrote this song, because I think it has an interesting Screwtapesque quality to it, in that it could be Satan talking. The lyrics describe a father who always cleans up for the mistakes of his kid. If "Daddy" is God, humans would be HIS spoiled children.
A positive interpretation would be that God's grace washes all of our sins away, no matter how much we mess up. However, if this song was written from a devil's perspective, he might be trying to convince us of two things: (1) We might as well sin as we please, since God redeems us anyway, and/or (2) We should expect God to make every road we travel on smooth. It would be to a devil's advantage, I would think, to convince people that personal accountability is really a laughable, superfluous character trait.
My take on this song doesn't work if Macphisto is not singing it, but when I watch my Zoo TV video, the parts seem to fit.
Ryan Harper mw25stusemovm.semo.edu ( 2:nd of May 1998)
Think East Germany. The wall was freshly removed and this group of people, who had previously lived under a strictly regimented, controlled and planned way of life were now "free." Free to work where they wanted, free to buy what they liked and free to "take their hands from the wheel" and see where they end up. The United States was carefully tending to this "precious stone" to help ease the strain of the economic conversion. As much as U2 seems to love the states, they are also quick to point out the ridiculous flamboyance and self-importance of them as well. Imagine the US as the "pimp daddy" that will help repair East Germany's "crashed car." Actung Baby and Zooropa are U2's "Germany-themed" albums.
Adian Zix A_D_N_6hotmail.com (17:th of July 2002)
There could be a direct relation between Bono's words in this song and Dante 's Divine Comedy character called Mephisto (Mephistofeles), who represents a "little devil". In the teathre performance he's made-up with white face, two little horns, red clothes, often with ridiculous dances..isn't it the same performance Bono did in the ZooTV Live Tour in Sydney as he sang Daddy's and Lemon? The song can represent the Devil as the protector daddy, of course.but let me show you another point of view, according to this story.
I read a book called "Mephisto" not too long ago; it was about the life of a common young german actor and how he managed to get involved in the highest places in Berlin's culture and society thanks to the aproaching to the III Reich (in their early years, just before the IIWW). He became the favourite actor of the Director of Propaganda (the strongest man of the Fuhrer), who used to go to the teathre just to watch the Dante's Mephisto, performed by this actor (in the same way as commented at first). This man began to consider the actor as a son, and due to this, he made him rich and famous (the same words used by Bono's Mephisto in Sydney after the phone call).
So, Daddy could be this Director of Propaganda, a Father to Mephisto (the young actor), a Daddy who gave him as much as he could take, a Daddy who was confort, a Daddy who wouldn't let him ache, his best friend.Bono also said in the Sydney concert quite angry, after Daddy's performance, dressed up as Mephisto, the following words (among other things). Goodbye all you neonazis, I hope they'll give you Aushwitz, which could have any connection with the story commented.
And finally, could anyone tell me the reason why The Fuhrer (or some other face very very similar to him) appears in the following page of Zooropa's booklet? Coincidence? I think the song is a great criticism and condemnation to all the people who became rich and important because of the III Reich.
Paco Gamero mayuseresmas.com (15:th of November 2002)