I just can't believe the idiocy communicated in today's NYTimes article on the Bono/Bobby Shriver cause marketing venture called Red.

The NYTimes covers all the bases …

One bunch of bleeding hearts doesn't think Red is generating enough money. In just over a year it's generated $22 million to fight H.I.V. and AIDS in Rwanda, and $59 million overall to the Global Fund (nearly all its corporate money).

Another group of yoyo's thinks the companies involved are too self-promotional. Merchants exist to promote … DUH! If my company gave away $1 million to fight AIDS, you bet your ass I'd tell my customers, my potential customers, my suppliers, my investors, and all my living relatives.

Then there are the moralists who just don't like the entire notion of people giving as consumers, as opposed to donors. Last time anyone in Rwanda suffering from AIDS looked, a buck was a buck.

And finally, we have the academic pinheads who worry that “business marketing is taking on the petina of philanthropy and crowding out philanthropic activity (take that Bill Gates!) and even substituting for it.” Thank god these guys aren't let out of the classroom too much.

Says another patronizing academic: “Do we really want something as important as H.I.V-AIDS to be funded by holiday shoppers?” No, god forbid, Dr. Baker, we don't want the riff-raff involved … we'll leave it to you and your departmental bake sales. That will get the job done.

To satisfy all these critics, perhaps Red should just retrieve its $59 million and give it back to these misguided consumers who aren't worthy to be involved in such rarified matters as saving lives. Say it was all a mistake … the money is tainted, not given for pure-as-snow reasons.

Then I'll call upon Dr. Baker or one of his colleagues to write to Dr. Anita Asiimwe at the Treatment and Research AIDS Center in Kingali, Rwanda. Dr. Asiimwe clearly needs to be set straight by these American academics, because here is what she thinks:

“When I was going to medical school a few years back, we would see patients and send them home knowing they were going to die without medication. I don't feel that way now. The money we get from Red through the Global Fund is helping to save lives. That's the important thing.”

Oh, and Dr Baker, don't forget to send your $59 million bake sale check!


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