Better Red…


Google seems to be helping out with the (Red) campaign’s World Aids Day efforts. The link on Google’s home page leads to (Red)’s homepage, which features a video of Bono making an empassioned plea, asking us all to “join Red.”

I’ve commented on the (Red) campaign before, here and here.

Two further thoughts occur to me as I watch Bono make his pitch.

First (and I might actually be repeating myself here) is that even if you’re skeptical, cynical, whatever, about project (Red), or the motives of the people involved, or the power of commerce to effect change in the world, you have to admit that the other option hasn’t exactly been doing a wonderful job of solving the AIDS crisis. So, maybe something totally different is at least worth a try.

Secondly, it’s hard not to admit that lots of people watching Bono — with his rock-star sunglasses & standard-issue celebrity self-righteous tone — are just going to suspect him of being more interested in self-promotion than in the plight of AIDS victims in Africa. If you’re one of those cynical folks, ask yourself this: Let’s assume for the sake of argument that Bono is mostly interested in self-promotion. He’s got lots of ways he can do that. Fame tends to generate opportunities for more fame, so just about anything Bono chooses to do could attract attention. He could take up race-car driving. He could throw the world’s largest, most lavish CD-release party. He could allow a risquée home video of him and the missus to “accidentally” surface. All of these things would attract attention, put him in the limelight, maybe stroke his ego. If, instead, he chooses to grab the limelight by, you know, at least trying to do something good for the world, it seems churlish — and foolish — to criticize him for it.

[Thanks to Dominic for pointing out the Red/Google link.]

1 comment so far

  1. […] There’s lots that’s interesting, here, but what most struck me was the similarity between the factory described (which produces apparel under the label “Alta Gracia”) and the controversial (Product) RED campaign. As you may already know, (Product) RED is a project that attempts to leverage consumerism into charity, by donating a small portion of profits from certain consumer goods — RED-branded iPods, for example — to the Global Fund (to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria in needy countries). I wrote about RED here and here. […]


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