Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Having the Independent guest edited by Bono is an idea bound to attract mixed emotions.

Personally I guess I feel that each side is using each other in a fairly balanced manner (some would call it mutual back-scratching, but mutually exploitation seems a more fitting term somehow). The paper gets a boost in circulation and some valuable publicity, Bono gets a public stage, some publicity for Product Red and 50% of the cover price to go towards funds fighting aids.

For the reader, there is the bonus that the paper contains the sort of articles you wouldn’t normally find (and I don’t just mean Bono’s celebrity interviews). The cover sums this up; comprised solely of a piece by Damien Hirst, it declares “No News Today*” with the footnote * Just 6,500 Africans died today as a result of a preventable, treatable disease. (HIV/Aids).

The numbers never fail to shock. 6,500 every day and how often does this make the front page? Natural disasters and even terrorism or war, rarely achieve that sort of casualty rate in a day, let alone day after day after day. And there lies the problem, how do we make this news? Another 6,500 died today, just as they did yesterday. Nothing different, nothing unusual, nothing newsworthy; just another 6,500 died today…just like yesterday.

So it’s refreshing to have a gimmick like this guest editing slot allow the opportunity to make this news. To say “today the main news is…”

Hirst’s painting choosing the cross motif to portray this message. The horizontal bar comprising a tablet, a syringe and a capsule. Above the dove with a “leaf in her mouth”, below praying hands and a skull. The Genesis 1.27 reference:

So God created humankind in his image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.

In the words of Mr Lennon (who I so maligned yesterday): I heard the news today, oh boy.

1 comment:

Emma Evinson said...

'Just' 6500 Africans....with Jacob Zuma's example (ex South African Health minister) that a shower is sufficient to prevent AIDS transmission after intercourse with an in infected individual what hope is there? Until the official Vatican sanction of the use of condoms, what use are anti-retrovirals that can't/aren't supplied? Damien Hirst has a very good point, but I feel he's making it to the wrong audience.

E x