art music performance film digital
a critical guide
smoke smoke

Upon seeing volume 10, the Summer Issue of Simon Says, I renewed my commitment to the freedom of expression for individuals. The silence of individuals does equal death in the case of AIDS. Simon Watson's choice of the cover art for the summer issue --pictured above, reminds us of the struggle to speak up in the face of silence.

However, that right does not extend itself to corporations. The corporation is not an individual. Prohibiting tobacco companies from spending money on advertising and promotion could in fact save lives. The amount of monies that the tobacco companies are currently spending to promote their product should be redirected to reduce heath care costs associated with the use of their product.

I cannot imagine that Simon Watson would enter into a partnership with a corporation that maufactured and distributed a substance that resulted in aids related deaths.

I took notice of this "publishing partnership" in February of 1997, which marked the sixth issue of Simon Watson's critical guide to the arts, and a new 12-page format. As of May, Simon Says boasted a circulation of 325,000. It is now June.

It's not that the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company sponsors Simon Says, which makes me nauseous. Rather, it's the adoption of the independent zine format by Simon Watson on behalf of a corporation for the purpose of building the brand, Moonlight Tobacco.

Simon Watson, is a former Arts Council big shot and current editor of Simon Says, who worked hard to fashion a reputation into Simon Watson Arts Management, Inc. In a sense Watson has built up a brand name which has become synonymous with what is "cutting edge" downtown.

The Simon Watson brand's look and feel is what R.J. Reynolds purchased to position their product.

Yes, it's that simple.