In praise of … black | Editorial

This Friday gives us the chance to look on the bright side of a colour whose absence is a special form of presence

Witchcraft in cats, depression in dogs and poison in spidery widows. Whatever the creature, black is crassly assumed to stand for bad news, just as it does when a day acquires a dark hue. A financial crash (black Wednesday), a military setback (black Thursday) or both (black Monday), and often – as in black Tuesday’s case – with an Australian bush fire thrown in. The weekend brings no relief – the Cuba crisis’s black Saturday was the world’s closest shave with nuclear war, and whatever black sabbath might mean, it doesn’t sound very nice. We’ve not even got into the vexed terminology of race, or the entirely culturally contingent association with death. So black Friday is therefore a rare moment to look on the bright side of the “colour” whose absence is a special form of presence. On one theory at least, America’s busiest shopping day is so-called because it lets stores rebalance their books. No colour deserves a black mark.

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