Sunday, January 29, 2006

Davos, Red, & Disparagers

Everyone should know that the New York Times and International Herald Tribune are working together on a truly enjoyable blog on the World Economic Forum at Davos, and not just because there's at least one post talking about Angelina's pregnancy.

One item I'm particularly interested in is the announcement of the Red campaign. For those of you who haven't heard, it's a bunch of corporate partners, including Converse, GAP, American Express, who are going to be donating part of the proceeds of this "Red" brand to the Global Fund, etc. Brainchild of Bono and Bobby Shriver, it seems. Anyway, so I'm reading a blog post on it titled "Bono's Big Announcement" and find myself falling on this in the comments:

"Bono - still a corporate tool. No surprise there."

Apparently, there's a lot of people who agree with that comment, or at least there's enough for the comment-evaluators to keep posting them. Never failing to be amazed by humanity's ability to trod on something blatantly good, I fired off a comment in response which actually made it up:

"I guess the question I have is what all of the Bono disparagers really get from complaining about his motives. I've been on the ground in Africa, and I can tell you that the issues he's forcing the media to cover exist, are real, affect thousands of lives but maybe more importantly the lives of a few schoolchildren I personally know, and to an extent, it is discouraging to see people whose first instinct is to complain about his corporate partnerships and the "buy red" campaigns and what they view as somehow inferior activities. Say what you want about Bono, Angelina, Brad, Ashley Judd, Alicia Keys, and all the other celebrity activists: but start doing a tally of how many articles there were about Africa about two years ago. Ask yourself how often the thousands of deaths from preventable diseases came up in conversation and how often they come up now, if only because someone is wearing a 'stupid' white bracelet.

And there will always be people who complain: the corruption, the allegedly raw economics of it that reduce things to inevitability of failure, the people who somehow are activists in a more 'acceptable' fashion. Go to Africa, look into the eyes of a child, listen to or read Bono, and tell me you still want to spend time bashing him instead of helping."

(Now you know why I attached the picture of two of the kids in P1 at Arlington Academy of Hope Bumwalukani; I wish I could have thrown that to the Davos blog comment roll. The little girl on the right is named Faith. The name of the munchkin on the left is just escaping me. If you're interested, you can go here to find out information on sponsoring one of the kids.)

Note: for more on Red, you can visit, although be warned--it's flashy and has, well, not so much substance at present time. If you can wait through the music at the start, there's a waiting list and some links. For the time being, The Global Fund has a better summary page on the initiative at


At 11:55 PM, Anonymous pip said...

It's been a while since U2 has put out a truly spectular album. The latest albums are decent enough but still don't come anywhere near the awesomeness of War or The Joshua Tree. Bono's obsession with Africa and the drop in quality of the music are obviously directly related. If the rest of the world were made to understand this, then I have no doubt that everyone would unite to fix all that is wrong with Africa. Bono's conscience would be clear and U2 would be free to go back to making great music and we'll have another War. Everybody wins.

At 7:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!


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