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LONDON: It risks epileptic seizures. Someone compared it to a broken swastika or "some sort of comical sex act between The Simpsons." The mayor was not amused.
The rollout of London's new logo for the 2012 Olympics, in other words, has not been an unalloyed triumph. That, in turn, for Britain's newspapers, high-minded and less so, has made it a story worth telling.
Two days after it was introduced Monday, the logo - a composition of subway-graffiti-like, jagged-edged cut-outs roughly denoting the figures 2012, in pink and yellow - has become front-page news.
But, perhaps, the brouhaha over the logo, said to have cost $800,000 to develop, evoked some other considerations, most notably concerning Britons' ambivalent attitude not just to winning the right to stage the Olympics, but also to innovation, design and success itself.
The logo "is not simple, it is not memorable, it is not beautiful," columnist Magnus Linklater wrote in The Times of London. "It is bound to be a success."
Or, as the 2012 Organizing Committee put it, "the new emblem is dynamic, modern and flexible. It will work with new technology and across traditional and new media networks. It will become London 2012's visual icon."
Whatever else, it has already generated a buzz. First off, an animated version on a Web site was withdrawn after advocacy groups representing epilepsy sufferers said that flashing lights in a sequence depicting diving into a pool in vivid colors provoked more than 10 seizures among the estimated 23,000 people vulnerable to a photo-sensitive form of epilepsy.
The display was withdrawn, but the London mayor, Ken Livingstone, took issue with the $800,000 tab for designing and developing it without studying its impact.
"If you employ someone to design a car and it kills you, you're pretty unhappy about that," he told a radio station. "If you employ someone to design a logo for you and they haven't done a basic health check you have to ask what they do for their money."
On Web sites, critics of the logo registered sharp opposition. "I am embarrassed by this logo and believe an immediate rethink is required," an opponent called Peter Donovan said. "It resembles a swastika and looks like graffiti."
The organizing committee, for its part, insisted that it would not withdraw the logo. Indeed, Sebastian Coe, the committee chairman called it "an invitation to take part and be involved."
It was invitation that British newspapers accepted with a certain glee.
Most newspapers said Wednesday that their readers had sent in their own versions. The Sun published a display of five alternative designs, one painted by an Indian macaque monkey called Katie. Another was captioned as having come from Deborah Jones, 36, who was said to be blind. A third tapped into fears about likely cost overruns leading up to 2012.
But might the response have said more about a conservative nation's resistance to newness? Or, a reluctance to host a venture such as the Olympics without forecasting its doom well in advance?
"When something is so swingingly attacked as the 2012 logo has been, it tells you more about the people doing the attacking," said Michael Wolff, the co-founder of Wolff Olins, which designed the logo. "Prejudice is comfortable and lazy." Wolff, who has since formed a separate company, went on to say in The Evening Standard: "I think this petulant reaction will subside and pride will take its place."