Perhaps the biggest surprise of the new Vanity Fair Africa issue, guest edited by Bono, is that George Bush posed for two of 20 different covers. For years now, VF editor Graydon Carter has waged an anti-Bush crusade in the magazine, from investigative pieces to his own biting editor’s letters.
It wasn’t Carter’s idea, but Bono’s. As Carter writes, “During one of our meetings, his cell phone went off and he began talking to a “Carl” someone as he took the call outside my office. This Carl, I discovered, was Karl, as in Rove, and Bono was working to secure our good president for one of the covers. (Bono’s choice, not mine, as you might imagine; he gives the commander in chief high marks on his Africa policies.)”
The magazine says, “We at Vanity Fair didn’t think there could be a silver lining to the Bush administration, but perhaps it is, of all things, President George W. Bush’s work for Africa.”
Other highlights: Former Viacom CEO Tom Freston on the Mali music scene; Bill Clinton’s tribute to Nelson Mandela; and Brad Pitt’s interview with Desmond Tutu.
Bono makes the pitch. “We needed help in describing the continent of Africa as an opportunity, as an adventure, not a burden. Our habit — and we have to kick it — is to reduce this mesmerizing, entrepreneurial, dynamic continent of 53 diverse countries to a hopeless deathbed of war, disease and corruption.”