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[Kony 2012] Alert the Internet!

WinkyWinky Registered User regular
edited March 2012 in Debate and/or Discourse
I'm really surprised there hasn't been a thread made about this yet, but I figured I'm as good a person as any. There's a lot to debate about this campaign, I feel.

It centers on this video, I don't think I could explain any better than it (it's half an hour long so set aside some time if you're going to watch it):


There's a fair amount of controversy over it. I feel kind of bad copy and pasting a conversation from facebook but I feel like it's relevant:
My Friend wrote:
Those interested in the ongoing "Kony 2012" movement may find these links interesting. What International Relations and Africa scholars say is far different and more complex than the simplistic, naive narrative given by IC.

http://justiceinconflict.org/2012/03/07/taking-kony-2012-down-a-notch/

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/03/solving-war-crimes-with-wristbands-the-arrogance-of-kony-2012/254193/

http://projectdiaspora.org/2012/03/08/respect-my-agency-2012/
Me wrote:
Doesn't this kind of miss the point? The Kony 2012 campaign isn't aiming to be accurate, it's aiming to be massively disseminable. Let's be honest; an awareness campaign that was built around the real political realities of injustice in Africa wouldn't fit in a 30 minute video. The point of the massive simplification going on is clear; highlight a single "villain", make him relevant to Americans, have serious cultural awareness follow. The problem is that Americans just don't care about the rest of the world, the point of the campaign is less about Kony, Uganda, or child soldiers in general than it is about using social media to make your average American care about anyone but himself.
My Friend wrote:
That's an interesting point. I definitely agree that we face a problem of Americans not caring about the rest of the world. I think there's value in raising awareness of this issue, and making an otherwise apathetic populace more conscious of social justice issues.

However, the video seemed pretty explicit in raising awareness to achieve one very specific intervention, that is continued US support of Ugandan forces in the hunt for Kony. This intervention has been tried in the past, with disastrous results (see Operations Iron Fist and Lightning Thunder). That also isn't helped by the fact that the Ugandan Army does not have a very good human rights record either, and that Kony has since moved northwest into the DRC. From what I've been reading, given the complex nature of conflict in the region, it's dubious that capturing Kony would really achieve anything. Supposedly, the LRA is more of a "symptom" than a "cause."

Long story short, I think that getting people aware of social/human rights issues outside their sphere of comfort is good. But, the presentation and intervention given by the video is really inappropriate for the situation as it exists today.

I've found this live blog from the Manchester Guardian to be very interesting, giving points from both sides of the debate:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/reality-check-with-polly-curtis/2012/mar/08/kony-2012-what-s-the-story
Me wrote:
I do agree that the narrative they've established is honestly in many ways misdirected and excludes important realities. Again, though, it's trying to condense and alter reality into an easy to deliver message. All people immediately empathize with the storyline "there's a bad guy hurting children, we have to stop him!" Even if this isn't the real truth, it's appealing. Meanwhile, Americans have grown apathetic to generalized pleas to consider the complex situation in Africa. There is nothing for them to empathize with on a base level; the situation isn't real to them and gets pushed out of their minds.

Also, if the video went into the fact that there's corruption in the Ugandan Army, or that capturing Kony doesn't necessarily fix anything, or the large number of other issues that complicate matters, you risk instilling your audience with a sense of hopelessness. It's very easy to look at these matters and then shrug and say "Whelp, that's FUBAR". Say we focus on this specific, highly targeted goal of arresting Kony. If it succeeds then everyone involved feels like THEY are responsible for it, like their interest and activism directly resulted in a favorable outcome. For most people it would represent an unprecedented feeling of agency over global events, and from that will naturally follow a greater interest. I guess what I'm saying is that the symbolic relevance is what's important here, not necessarily whether or not bring Kony to justice makes the world a significantly better place.

And the for funsies, here's how another individual reacted to my facebook posting of Kony 2012:
Spoiler:

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Posts

  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    QmKwD.jpg
    The photographer who took the picture, Glenna Gordon, has some choice words to say about Invisible Children.
    The image showed the founders of Invisible Children — Bobby Bailey, Laren Poole, and Jason Russell — posing with guns alongside members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), who have fought against the LRA. On Wednesday, Vice magazine posted the photograph with the headline “Should I Donate Money to Kony 2012 or Not?”

    The photograph was immediately criticized.A widely-cited student blog “Visible Children” called it an indication of Invisible Children’s emphasis on direct military intervention in Uganda. The Racialicious, a race and pop culture blog, said the photo helped paint a “picture of neo-colonialism.” Others quoted Chris Blattman, a political scientist at Yale, who wrote that Invisible Children’s program “hints uncomfortably of the White Man’s Burden... the savior attitude.”

    To get the story behind the photograph, I turned to Glenna Gordon. who captured the moment at the Sudan-Congo border during the 2008 Juba Peace Talks while she was on assignment for the Associated Press. Hear her take on the Kony 2012 campaign after the jump.

    Q. How did you happen to be there to take this photo?

    Gordon: I was on assignment for the AP at the Juba Peace Talks, and we were all sort of stuck at this small camp, in the same space, to wait for the talks to resume. There was nothing to do. I saw that the Invisible Children guys were [posing with guns], and I thought I should take some pictures.

    Q. What were the reactions of the SPLA members standing with them?

    Gordon: The SPLA were into it, because they were bored too. People were having a lot of fun videotaping it, taking Polaroids and posing with all of these guys. Everyone was into it.

    I think I felt a lot of discomfort, but I didn’t say to stop it, which maybe I should have because if we were attacked by LRA then, the SPLA should have had guns in their hands.

    Q. Invisible Children has received some criticism that their efforts and this photo seem “colonialist,” or hint at the “white man’s burden.” What do you say to that?

    Gordon: I think all of those things are true. The photo plays into the myth that Invisible Children are very much actively trying to create. They even used the photo on their official response page. I don’t think they think there is a problem with the idea that they are colonial. This photo is the epitome of it, like, we are even going to hold your guns for you.


    Q. What did you think of the Kony 2012 video?

    Gordon: I can’t bring myself to watch the video. I found all of their previous efforts to be emotionally manipulative, and all the things I try as a journalist not to be. After the peace talks in 2008, they put out another video, and I saw the footage used in these videos blending archival footage with LRA and SPLA and videos of them goofing off. It was the most irresponsible act of image-making that I’d seen in a long time. They conflated the SPLA with the LRA. The SPLA is a government army, holding weapons given by the government, and yet they did not create any division between them and LRA. That’s terrible.

    Q. How did you see other aid groups and Ugandans respond to Invisible Children while in Uganda?

    Gordon: People who have lived there for years, bona fide aid workers who have studied foreign policy and other relevant fields like public health, who are really there because they are trying to solve problems — they see Invisible Children as trying to promote themselves and a version of the narrative.

    Most Ugandans also think they are ridiculous. They say “Invisible Children! They seem pretty visible to me.” Even the name is so loaded.

    In Uganda, Invisible Children has programs operating but I don’t want to speak to those because I don’t know them.

    Q. The Kony 2012 campaign has made a lot of people aware of Joseph Kony. Do you think there will be a tangible impact of Kony 2012?

    Gordon: The LRA isn’t even active in Uganda anymore, so we’re getting the issue to the spotlight with so much misinformation. I applaud efforts to bring humanitarian crises to the limelight, but if we do so with misinformation, we are sure to make mistakes. We need to do so with an eye toward accuracy and responsibility.

    But I think that it is a legitimate comparison to make in the film between Ugandan and American kids. It’s a mistake to think that we shouldn’t have the same expectations for livelihood, education, etc. for children in both countries. And that idea may create more political will.

    Q. Who do you think is doing good work on the ground? Which groups do you think have better answers about how to change what’s happening in Uganda?

    I think there are a lot of reputable NGOs doing the daily business of development — the actual building of latrines, training of teachers, etc. Oxfam and IRC have great operations in Uganda. Lacor Hospital, Caritas Uganda, The Refugee Law Project, Christian Counseling Fellowship, and African Youth Initiative Network. I really hope that we can redirect the energy to these groups, as much as possible.

  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    Also, relevant to this discussion:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slacktivism
    Malcolm Gladwell, in his October 2010 Yorker Article, lambasted those who compare social media "revolutions" with actual activism that challenges the status-quo. He argues that today's social media campaigns can't compare with activism that takes place on the ground, using the Greensboro sit-ins as an example of what real, high-risk activism looks like. "As the historian Robert Darnton has written, “The marvels of communication technology in the present have produced a false consciousness about the past—even a sense that communication has no history, or had nothing of importance to consider before the days of television and the Internet.” But there is something else at work here, in the outsized enthusiasm for social media. Fifty years after one of the most extraordinary episodes of social upheaval in American history, we seem to have forgotten what activism is. In response to his criticism, Mirani argues that he might be right if activism is defined only as sit-ins, taking direct actions, and confrontations on the streets. However, if activism is about arousing awareness of people, changing people's minds, and influencing opinions across the world,then 'the revolution will be indeed be tweeted'

    Figure alternate viewpoints are worth considering too, yo.

  • gtrmpgtrmp Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    I do agree that the narrative they've established is honestly in many ways misdirected and excludes important realities. Again, though, it's trying to condense and alter reality into an easy to deliver message. All people immediately empathize with the storyline "there's a bad guy hurting children, we have to stop him!" Even if this isn't the real truth, it's appealing. Meanwhile, Americans have grown apathetic to generalized pleas to consider the complex situation in Africa. There is nothing for them to empathize with on a base level; the situation isn't real to them and gets pushed out of their minds.

    Also, if the video went into the fact that there's corruption in the Ugandan Army, or that capturing Kony doesn't necessarily fix anything, or the large number of other issues that complicate matters, you risk instilling your audience with a sense of hopelessness. It's very easy to look at these matters and then shrug and say "Whelp, that's FUBAR". Say we focus on this specific, highly targeted goal of arresting Kony. If it succeeds then everyone involved feels like THEY are responsible for it, like their interest and activism directly resulted in a favorable outcome. For most people it would represent an unprecedented feeling of agency over global events, and from that will naturally follow a greater interest. I guess what I'm saying is that the symbolic relevance is what's important here, not necessarily whether or not bring Kony to justice makes the world a significantly better place.

    Usually it takes a lot longer in a thread like this for people to admit that the media they're disseminating is a deliberately misleading piece of neocolonial propaganda that's meant less to accomplish meaningful change than it is to make white liberal Westerners feel good about having "done something" to help those poor subaltern Africans.

    gtrmp on
  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/03/07/guest_post_joseph_kony_is_not_in_uganda_and_other_complicated_things
    It would be great to get rid of Kony. He and his forces have left a path of abductions and mass murder in their wake for over 20 years. But let's get two things straight: 1) Joseph Kony is not in Uganda and hasn't been for 6 years; 2) the LRA now numbers at most in the hundreds, and while it is still causing immense suffering, it is unclear how millions of well-meaning but misinformed people are going to help deal with the more complicated reality.
    Coming back to the "Kony 2012" video and its celebrity endorsements, what are the consequences of unleashing so many exuberant activists armed with so few facts? Defining Uganda in the international conversation by issues that are either geographical misfires (Save northern Uganda!) or an intentional attempt to distract the international community (Death to the gays!), do a disservice to the many critical problems Uganda has.

    In addition to the problems of poverty and nodding disease Izama highlights, Uganda is barely (if at all) democratic, and the president Yoweri Museveni ushered himself to a 4th term last year, taking him to over 25 years in power. Corruption is rampant, social services are minimal, and human rights abuses by the government common and well documented. Oh, and oil is on the way.

    Stopping Kony won't change any of these things, and if more hardware and money flow to Museveni's military, Invisible Children's campaign may even worsen some problems.

    Here's to hoping Kony hands himself in tomorrow and that the fear of the U.S. "cancelling" its LRA-hunt support is misplaced. But if the most impactful the result of Invisible Children's campaign is to cause millions of viewers to think Northern Uganda is a war zone, even if it's not their intent, it's hard to defend.

    Michael Wilkerson, who used to live and work in Uganda, folks.

    Pony on
  • surrealitychecksurrealitycheck NONSTOP INFINITE CLIMAX POSTING you must go on i cant go on ill go onRegistered User regular
    i havent watched it but hey look - the campaign has resulted in people having arguments about what is happening in uganda

    if that results in even 0.1% of people making informed donations thats a good thing

    although fuck invisible children

    obF2Wuw.png
  • WinkyWinky Registered User regular
    gtrmp wrote: »
    I do agree that the narrative they've established is honestly in many ways misdirected and excludes important realities. Again, though, it's trying to condense and alter reality into an easy to deliver message. All people immediately empathize with the storyline "there's a bad guy hurting children, we have to stop him!" Even if this isn't the real truth, it's appealing. Meanwhile, Americans have grown apathetic to generalized pleas to consider the complex situation in Africa. There is nothing for them to empathize with on a base level; the situation isn't real to them and gets pushed out of their minds.

    Also, if the video went into the fact that there's corruption in the Ugandan Army, or that capturing Kony doesn't necessarily fix anything, or the large number of other issues that complicate matters, you risk instilling your audience with a sense of hopelessness. It's very easy to look at these matters and then shrug and say "Whelp, that's FUBAR". Say we focus on this specific, highly targeted goal of arresting Kony. If it succeeds then everyone involved feels like THEY are responsible for it, like their interest and activism directly resulted in a favorable outcome. For most people it would represent an unprecedented feeling of agency over global events, and from that will naturally follow a greater interest. I guess what I'm saying is that the symbolic relevance is what's important here, not necessarily whether or not bring Kony to justice makes the world a significantly better place.

    Usually it takes a lot longer in a thread like this for people to admit that the media they're disseminating is a deliberately misleading piece of neocolonial propaganda that's meant less to accomplish meaningful change than it is to make white liberal Westerners feel good about having "done something" to help those poor subaltern Africans.

    What can I say, I'm an honest guy.

    I mean, I can't see how you could watch that video and not immediately realize that the point is to make ignorant Westerners feel good about themselves, though claiming that it's just liberals is more than a little inflammatory of you. The video goes out of its way to appeal to the apolitical aspect, unless you believe that both parties working together only ever appeals to liberals (would make sense, actually). At any rate, conservatives have grown to fetishize grassroots movements too and making it about bringing a specific criminal to justice has just that right hawkish appeal.

    I absolutely wouldn't have made the campaign in the same way as Invisible Children did if I could, though I'm cynical enough to believe that you do have to treat the majority of Americans like children. Regardless, the point is that people need to realize that they actually have a massive and growing amount of power to enact social change. Is this neocolonial rhetoric? That's worth arguing about.
    although fuck invisible children

    I don't support invisible pedophilia, surrealitycheck.

    mjoa2p.jpg
  • WinkyWinky Registered User regular
    Pony wrote: »
    http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/03/07/guest_post_joseph_kony_is_not_in_uganda_and_other_complicated_things
    It would be great to get rid of Kony. He and his forces have left a path of abductions and mass murder in their wake for over 20 years. But let's get two things straight: 1) Joseph Kony is not in Uganda and hasn't been for 6 years; 2) the LRA now numbers at most in the hundreds, and while it is still causing immense suffering, it is unclear how millions of well-meaning but misinformed people are going to help deal with the more complicated reality.
    Coming back to the "Kony 2012" video and its celebrity endorsements, what are the consequences of unleashing so many exuberant activists armed with so few facts? Defining Uganda in the international conversation by issues that are either geographical misfires (Save northern Uganda!) or an intentional attempt to distract the international community (Death to the gays!), do a disservice to the many critical problems Uganda has.

    In addition to the problems of poverty and nodding disease Izama highlights, Uganda is barely (if at all) democratic, and the president Yoweri Museveni ushered himself to a 4th term last year, taking him to over 25 years in power. Corruption is rampant, social services are minimal, and human rights abuses by the government common and well documented. Oh, and oil is on the way.

    Stopping Kony won't change any of these things, and if more hardware and money flow to Museveni's military, Invisible Children's campaign may even worsen some problems.

    Here's to hoping Kony hands himself in tomorrow and that the fear of the U.S. "cancelling" its LRA-hunt support is misplaced. But if the most impactful the result of Invisible Children's campaign is to cause millions of viewers to think Northern Uganda is a war zone, even if it's not their intent, it's hard to defend.

    Michael Wilkerson, who used to live and work in Uganda, folks.

    While it certainly doesn't address the other points raised, the video does actually explicitly indicate that the LRA is no longer in Uganda. Will most viewer pick up on this detail? I don't know.

    mjoa2p.jpg
  • surrealitychecksurrealitycheck NONSTOP INFINITE CLIMAX POSTING you must go on i cant go on ill go onRegistered User regular
    theyre invisible dude its not a crime

    obF2Wuw.png
  • gtrmpgtrmp Registered User regular
    Hey, maybe we should be including actual Ugandans in a conversation about Uganda? Just a thought.

  • EchoEcho staring is caring Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    Pony wrote: »

    428728_396804383682354_205344452828349_1443110_56577520_n.jpg

    Sure, I've pressed the like button on things myself from time to time, but I'm under no illusions of actually making any difference.

  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    Alright, here's my actual, honest to God opinion on this subject, not me posting links to other people's opinions or information:

    Raising awareness is not objectively good.

    This is a really important, salient point to the argument I am about to make, so please keep it mind as it is the core of what I am saying here.

    You know what the problem with "raising awareness" is? Firstly, when it misrepresents the issues or outright lies and creates fabrications to fearmonger people into creating discussion and paying attention, it shades the argument to come. It makes people outraged about the wrong things, it diverts attention from the real issues at heart in the controversy, and most importantly (and I'm going to put this in bold again for people)

    "Raising awareness" can actually be harmful

    Let's use Earth Hour as a good example. Earth Hour is about "raising awareness". It does not purport to actually suggest taking any action, per se, beyond turning off your lights for one hour of the year. The organizers of Earth Hour and those who publicize it don't actually call for people to take any real, meaningful action about global climate change or pollution issues, it just asks people to "raise awareness"

    It does so by asking people to, once a year, turn off their lights and deactivate their electronic devices (and most people don't do the latter for portable devices during this period) for one hour, once a year, in unison (hence the deceptive name "Earth Hour")

    Do you know what the actual physical results of Earth Hour are?

    - Increased loadbearing on electrical grids when there's large scale participation, resulting in an actual spike in carbon emissions in urban locales that rely on pollutant energy methods (ie. all of them)
    - An increased usage of candles, most of which are made of paraffin (a heavy hydrocarbon derived from crude oil) or rely on other non-electrical light and heat generation methods that, again, actually spike carbon emissions
    - In many participant cities there was an increased flurry of road traffic, as people excited about the novelty of driving around in a darkened city took to the streets, creating an increase in road traffic and, of course, more carbon emissions.

    So in a single hour, a movement designed to increase awareness about carbon emissions and their effect on global climate change is actually kinda bad for the environment.

    This is the sort of counter-intuitive bullshit that happens when "raising awareness" is your most important goal.

    Now, there's those of you who might think "But duuuuuuude, we're talking about this, when we otherwise might not caaaaare, isn't that important?"

    NO.

    You know why? Because this discussion isn't really about Uganda, or larger problems in Africa. It's not even really about Kony. The discussion is about the people behind the video, ultimately, because they're such a bunch of shifty bastards that the attention gets put on them. It diverts attention from real problems and can actually result in harm.

    If you merely "discuss" this topic without doing anything about it from an activism stance, you didn't really do anything to help the problem. If you brought the issue to the attention of people you know via your Facebook or your Twitter or whatever and they didn't really do anything about it either, they didn't do anything to help the problem and you still haven't.

    If either you or the people you "inform" about this shit to "raise awareness" buy Action Packs from Invisible Children, then you're harming the situation. Your impact on this is a net negative.

    So, your options on this issue are either pointlessly circle-jerk about a problem that, let's be honest, doesn't really effect you personally and your likelihood of doing a single fucking thing about it of substance is near-zero

    OR

    Encourage people to support a shifty bunch of neo-colonial White Guilted assholes make money off the suffering of others

    OR

    and this one is important

    Stop requiring Facebook and Twitter to tell you to care about people. You want to help? Donate to apolitical NGOs who are actually helping people, like Doctors Without Borders.

    If you buy an "Action Pack" and put on your awareness bracelet and pat yourself on the fucking back?

    You're no different than a guy who donates cans of raw pumpkin mix to the food bank and thinks "Yeah man, I help poor people!"

  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    Echo wrote: »
    Pony wrote: »

    428728_396804383682354_205344452828349_1443110_56577520_n.jpg

    Sure, I've pressed the like button on things myself from time to time, but I'm under no illusions of actually making any difference.

    Yeah.

    It's the activism equivalent of changing your Facebook profile picture in order to "Stop Racism"

    Yeah, golly, you sure did show those racists who totally read your Facebook and will have their viewpoints challenged by your picture changing!

    What a difference maker!

    No.

    "Preaching to the choir" is an old saying for a reason.

    Since we're posting clever images up in this thread, here's a good'un:

    How-I-view-people-posting-Kony-2012-videos.jpeg

  • LucidLucid Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    I think it's difficult to tell if campaigns like this can be used effectively as advertising of sorts for political awareness. If it can, then the manipulative aspects are part and parcel of marketing strategy. If it works to some degree, while it may not be completely accurate or truly representative, I don't believe righteous decree against it as such really bears much relevance in terms of how it plays out regarding the alteration in demographical perception of the targeted social and political issues. I'm sceptical to be sure, as Gladwell and others such as Adam Curtis have suggested, the power of social media to actually demonstrate long term sustainable awareness en masse is seemingly tenuous at best

    Lucid on
  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    By the logic some people use when they do this sort of bullshit, folks should vote for Rick Santorum because it doesn't really matter where the vote actually goes. Voting for him raises awareness about the faulty ideology he encourages other people to believe.

  • Xenogears of BoreXenogears of Bore Registered User regular
    I don't know, he is doing the Lords work after all. I mean its not he's some crazy warlord or something.

    3DS CODE: 3093-7068-3576
  • HonkHonk Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    I haven't actually watched it yet, don't know if I actually will either.

    But I just needed to say SOMEWHERE that this has to be one of the best marketing campaigns in the history of everything. Almost every single one on my facebook has shared this video. Apparently the case is the same in the US too. And the video surfaced here on wednesday or something. It's just absurd.

  • Ragnar DragonfyreRagnar Dragonfyre Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    EDIT: Beat'd by above post. Disregard.

    Ragnar Dragonfyre on
    steam_sig.png
  • surrealitychecksurrealitycheck NONSTOP INFINITE CLIMAX POSTING you must go on i cant go on ill go onRegistered User regular
    yeah it was front page on the guardian (although it was an article correcting it)

    obF2Wuw.png
  • gtrmpgtrmp Registered User regular
    Honk wrote: »
    I haven't actually watched it yet, don't know if I actually will either.

    But I just needed to say SOMEWHERE that this has to be one of the best marketing campaigns in the history of everything. Almost every single one on my facebook has shared this video. Apparently the case is the same in the US too. And the video surfaced here on wednesday or something. It's just absurd.

    IIRC, the video was up on vimeo before that; it really only went viral once it hit Youtube this past week.

  • HonkHonk Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Also noteworthy, for those who have forgotten about it.

    Rush(?) when he was commenting on Obama sending advisers to Uganda, saying paraphrased "Obama is sending troops to fight christians in Uganda (the LRA) - and doesn't that sound terrible! What has become of America!?"

    Is completely amazing now when the people who are aware of the LRA has probably risen about a million points.

  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    There's a twofold reason that the Kony 2012 video is getting so much traction and press.

    1) It tickles the taint of guilt-ridden white liberals, who get that fuzzy feeling from watching it because it uses ultra-manipulative combo punches of facts and bullshit with slick production values
    2) Everyone who knows that Invisible Children are fucking scam artists and are immediately suspicious of this sort of media whoring are varying levels of annoyed by it and are coming out against it

    I haven't posted the Kony 2012 video to my Facebook, but I have posted criticisms of it. So what am I "raising awareness" of? That Invisible Children are a bunch of dipshits, slacktivism is a moral step below being actively harmful towards others, and for the love of christ people do some basic research and support GOOD NGOs.

    That's why it's getting so much traction.

    I'll toss this next bit up in bold and italics, since apparently using manipulative message phrasing is totally kosher so long as it sends an idea to people you think is important.

    The Kony 2012 video is the left-wing, white guilt version of those email forwards your racist grandfather sends you about how Obama is a secret Muslim.

    Oh, sure, you might say "But there's a lot of facts in that video! Sure, they misrepresent some stuff, but Joseph Kony and the LRA are really horrific people!"

    But that's not the point. The point isn't whether it's true or not, after all. The point is how it's making you think and feel. It's a tactic to make people outraged by a less important, nearly non-existent and certainly non-current issue which distracts them from real problems.

    In the US, the Republican Party does this shit constantly to distract people from regressive, heinous butchering of social programs and what the actual outcomes would be of proposed tax breaks for the rich and shit like that. The generally left-wing audience of this forum pillories Republicans for this shit.

    So why the bluest of blue fucks are you giving Invisible Children a pass on the same motherfucking tactics?

  • SparvySparvy Registered User regular
    I made a comparison the other day about this entire Kony campaign and praying for rain:
    Sparvy wrote: »
    In short this campaign is similar to telling people to pray for rain. People are suffering, and that is horrible, but it is probably going rain at some point, praying or no praying. In the meantime your praying is only helping to prop up and give legitimacy to a shady church while doing nothing to help fix the problem.

    It has kind of stuck with me. This entire concept that caring helps. Make people care and the problem will go away. Doesn't really matter what they care about as long as they do.

    It isn't true. Caring is only the tiny, almost insignificant, first step.

    We all wish life was simple. Kill the bad guy and all will be well. As if the problems of central Africa can even begin to be solved, or even understood, by focusing on Kony.

    But it isn't easy, there is no god that makes it rain if we think hard enough. Doesn't mean there aren't ways to help, there are.

    There just aren't any miracles.

  • HonkHonk Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    The reason I was skeptical towards it even by not having seen it is:
    1) I already have good knowledge on who Kony is.
    2) The massive amount of sharing reminded me of chainmails.

  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    If you think "Golly, this Kony fella really is a monster! I should do something"

    And you want to actually do something beyond just liking a Facebook status or retweeting a youtube video?

    Fucking donate to a real charity. Put your money where your outrage is. And I mean a real charity. Not Invisible Children or similar scam artists.

    I mean real deals like the Red Cross and Medicines Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders

    MSF in particular gets a golden seal of approval from me because when you donate to them you are sending doctors to help sick and injured people and that's probably the most potent thing you could do personally with your charity dollars for overseas problems.

    Look into very real and serious problems Uganda and many other African countries have. Actually DO SOMETHING, if you're going to be outraged about something.

    Getting angry about Kony at this point and thinking "gosh something should be done about that monster!" is about as effective as helping folks as thinking they should do something about General Butt Naked

    who is totally a real dude who killed twenty thousand people and ate the hearts of children

    I am not kidding. Go look it up.

    There, awareness raised

  • WinkyWinky Registered User regular
    Pony wrote: »
    But that's not the point. The point isn't whether it's true or not, after all. The point is how it's making you think and feel. It's a tactic to make people outraged by a less important, nearly non-existent and certainly non-current issue which distracts them from real problems.

    I'm sorry, distracts them from the real problems of "famous celebrity couple just broke up!" you mean?

    I can tell that for some reason you are just absolutely livid about this but the truth of the matter is that for the majority of Americans thinking about Africa at all is a step up from what they're doing. I completely disagree with you that this is "bad awareness", and to be frank your assessment of Earth Hour is bullshit too. I cannot see how this campaign is negative for the dangerously large subset of the population for which Africa is a country.

    mjoa2p.jpg
  • LucidLucid Registered User regular
    It's healthy to be sceptical of any message bearing media, really. Since it all comes back to 'what are they trying to sell'. Stuff like this Kony campaign(if it can be called that) rely on a dearth of such scepticism though, like any advertising it's an attempt to manipulate. That's where what Pony speaks of comes in, the potential harm outweighing other factors.

  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    Winky wrote: »
    Pony wrote: »
    But that's not the point. The point isn't whether it's true or not, after all. The point is how it's making you think and feel. It's a tactic to make people outraged by a less important, nearly non-existent and certainly non-current issue which distracts them from real problems.

    I'm sorry, distracts them from the real problems of "famous celebrity couple just broke up!" you mean?

    I can tell that for some reason you are just absolutely livid about this but the truth of the matter is that for the majority of Americans thinking about Africa at all is a step up from what they're doing. I completely disagree with you that this is "bad awareness", and to be frank your assessment of Earth Hour is bullshit too. I cannot see how this campaign is negative for the dangerously large subset of the population for which Africa is a country.

    What are the odds any of that is going to matter, Winky?

    Like, I know it really rustles your jimmies that you live in a country chock full of so many globally-ignorant people. I get that. It'd bug the shit out of me too if I was an American, maybe! I dunno.

    But will telling your globally-ignorant Uncle Bob who thinks that Iraq and Iran are the same country all of this shit about Kony actually matter?

    You say "thinking about Africa at all is a step up from what they're doing"?

    Is it?

    Is it really?

    Because before the Bush Administration and the American media machine made a big god damn thing about "Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction", most Americans hadn't really thought about Iraq at all since Desert Storm.

    Yeah, how did that turn out? How did raising awareness about that issue pan out?

    Invisible Children are such warmongering fucksticks that there are people who are making the non-joking whispers that they're the arm of some conspiratorial goal of encouraging American military colonialism in Africa, "for their own good".

    I don't believe that shit, I know better than to go that far, but the point remains that when people have a non-specific, non-helpful "awareness" that they gained from being manipulated

    Well, quite frankly it's indistinguishable from religious fervor and outrage, and in the grand history of humanity that has rarely gone well for folk.

  • WinkyWinky Registered User regular
    Lucid wrote: »
    It's healthy to be sceptical of any message bearing media, really. Since it all comes back to 'what are they trying to sell'. Stuff like this Kony campaign(if it can be called that) rely on a dearth of such scepticism though, like any advertising it's an attempt to manipulate. That's where what Pony speaks of comes in, the potential harm outweighing other factors.

    It is a basic trade-off, honestly. Accuracy for virality.

    mjoa2p.jpg
  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    Winky wrote: »
    Lucid wrote: »
    It's healthy to be sceptical of any message bearing media, really. Since it all comes back to 'what are they trying to sell'. Stuff like this Kony campaign(if it can be called that) rely on a dearth of such scepticism though, like any advertising it's an attempt to manipulate. That's where what Pony speaks of comes in, the potential harm outweighing other factors.

    It is a basic trade-off, honestly. Accuracy for virality.

    And that trade-off is BAD.

    That is the point.

    If you have to sacrifice accuracy, if you have to massage the facts just to get people non-specifically outraged about something, all you do is render them more pliable to manipulators who will channel their generic passion into something atrocious.

    The prelude to a great deal of historical tragedy is the drums, not of war, but of unspecified moral outrage.

  • KalTorakKalTorak Registered User regular
    Echo wrote: »
    Pony wrote: »

    428728_396804383682354_205344452828349_1443110_56577520_n.jpg

    Sure, I've pressed the like button on things myself from time to time, but I'm under no illusions of actually making any difference.

    Worth a 5-second chuckle:

    hQYaP.jpg

  • BullioBullio Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    Honk wrote: »
    I haven't actually watched it yet, don't know if I actually will either.

    But I just needed to say SOMEWHERE that this has to be one of the best marketing campaigns in the history of everything. Almost every single one on my facebook has shared this video. Apparently the case is the same in the US too. And the video surfaced here on wednesday or something. It's just absurd.

    I'm glad I never spend time on Facebook anymore, then. I haven't seen this video either, nor have I really been paying attention to the fracas around it, but from what I have seen and heard I've formulated the impression that this is most peoples' first time being made aware of what's been going on in Uganda. Does that seem to be accurate? Because I really, really hope it isn't.

    And that picture with the white hipsters reminds me of the South Park episode where Cartman took command over a group of Somalian pirates.

    Bullio on
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  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    Bullio wrote: »
    Honk wrote: »
    I haven't actually watched it yet, don't know if I actually will either.

    But I just needed to say SOMEWHERE that this has to be one of the best marketing campaigns in the history of everything. Almost every single one on my facebook has shared this video. Apparently the case is the same in the US too. And the video surfaced here on wednesday or something. It's just absurd.

    I'm glad I never spend time on Facebook anymore, then. I haven't seen this video either, nor have I really been paying attention to the fracas around it, but from what I have seen and heard I've formulated the impression that this is most peoples' first time being made aware of what's been going on in Uganda. Does that seem to be accurate? Because I really, really hope it isn't.

    And that picture with the white hipsters reminds me of the South Park episode where Cartman took command over a group of Somalian pirates.

    The worst part is Kony's not even really "What's happening in Uganda" right now

    Uganda has fucking problems. Big ones. Some of them related to the war with LRA and some of them more complex issues, but Uganda basically has hella larger problems than Kony and this has been the state of things for a while now.

  • WinkyWinky Registered User regular
    Pony wrote: »
    Winky wrote: »
    Pony wrote: »
    But that's not the point. The point isn't whether it's true or not, after all. The point is how it's making you think and feel. It's a tactic to make people outraged by a less important, nearly non-existent and certainly non-current issue which distracts them from real problems.

    I'm sorry, distracts them from the real problems of "famous celebrity couple just broke up!" you mean?

    I can tell that for some reason you are just absolutely livid about this but the truth of the matter is that for the majority of Americans thinking about Africa at all is a step up from what they're doing. I completely disagree with you that this is "bad awareness", and to be frank your assessment of Earth Hour is bullshit too. I cannot see how this campaign is negative for the dangerously large subset of the population for which Africa is a country.

    What are the odds any of that is going to matter, Winky?

    Like, I know it really rustles your jimmies that you live in a country chock full of so many globally-ignorant people. I get that. It'd bug the shit out of me too if I was an American, maybe! I dunno.

    But will telling your globally-ignorant Uncle Bob who thinks that Iraq and Iran are the same country all of this shit about Kony actually matter?

    You say "thinking about Africa at all is a step up from what they're doing"?

    Is it?

    Is it really?

    Because before the Bush Administration and the American media machine made a big god damn thing about "Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction", most Americans hadn't really thought about Iraq at all since Desert Storm.

    Yeah, how did that turn out? How did raising awareness about that issue pan out?

    Invisible Children are such warmongering fucksticks that there are people who are making the non-joking whispers that they're the arm of some conspiratorial goal of encouraging American military colonialism in Africa, "for their own good".

    I don't believe that shit, I know better than to go that far, but the point remains that when people have a non-specific, non-helpful "awareness" that they gained from being manipulated

    Well, quite frankly it's indistinguishable from religious fervor and outrage, and in the grand history of humanity that has rarely gone well for folk.

    Like I said, this isn't the campaign that I would have made.

    Still, equating this sort of awareness campaign to the shit-storm that led up to the Iraq war is disingenuous. The Iraq issue was a direct attempt to misdirect the attention of the American people away from relevant problems, yes. It also had the full force of the government behind it and (imagined) American interests at stake. What, exactly, does the Kony 2012 campaign direct the public's attention away from? The public would have to have been focusing on anything of substance in the first place for that.

    Furthermore, the Kony 2012 campaign doesn't do anything. Its only stated goal is preventing the US from withdrawing support it has already given. There are going to be warmongering fucksticks, I'm sure, but the "US-Ugandan war" isn't going to happen as a result of this campaign.

    mjoa2p.jpg
  • durandal4532durandal4532 Registered User regular
    Man I would speak but Pony is stating it perfectly. This sort of awareness raising is actively harmful.

  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    Winky wrote: »
    Pony wrote: »
    Winky wrote: »
    Pony wrote: »
    But that's not the point. The point isn't whether it's true or not, after all. The point is how it's making you think and feel. It's a tactic to make people outraged by a less important, nearly non-existent and certainly non-current issue which distracts them from real problems.

    I'm sorry, distracts them from the real problems of "famous celebrity couple just broke up!" you mean?

    I can tell that for some reason you are just absolutely livid about this but the truth of the matter is that for the majority of Americans thinking about Africa at all is a step up from what they're doing. I completely disagree with you that this is "bad awareness", and to be frank your assessment of Earth Hour is bullshit too. I cannot see how this campaign is negative for the dangerously large subset of the population for which Africa is a country.

    What are the odds any of that is going to matter, Winky?

    Like, I know it really rustles your jimmies that you live in a country chock full of so many globally-ignorant people. I get that. It'd bug the shit out of me too if I was an American, maybe! I dunno.

    But will telling your globally-ignorant Uncle Bob who thinks that Iraq and Iran are the same country all of this shit about Kony actually matter?

    You say "thinking about Africa at all is a step up from what they're doing"?

    Is it?

    Is it really?

    Because before the Bush Administration and the American media machine made a big god damn thing about "Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction", most Americans hadn't really thought about Iraq at all since Desert Storm.

    Yeah, how did that turn out? How did raising awareness about that issue pan out?

    Invisible Children are such warmongering fucksticks that there are people who are making the non-joking whispers that they're the arm of some conspiratorial goal of encouraging American military colonialism in Africa, "for their own good".

    I don't believe that shit, I know better than to go that far, but the point remains that when people have a non-specific, non-helpful "awareness" that they gained from being manipulated

    Well, quite frankly it's indistinguishable from religious fervor and outrage, and in the grand history of humanity that has rarely gone well for folk.

    Like I said, this isn't the campaign that I would have made.

    Still, equating this sort of awareness campaign to the shit-storm that led up to the Iraq war is disingenuous. The Iraq issue was a direct attempt to misdirect the attention of the American people away from relevant problems, yes. It also had the full force of the government behind it and (imagined) American interests at stake. What, exactly, does the Kony 2012 campaign direct the public's attention away from? The public would have to have been focusing on anything of substance in the first place for that.

    Furthermore, the Kony 2012 campaign doesn't do anything. Its only stated goal is preventing the US from withdrawing support it has already given. There are going to be warmongering fucksticks, I'm sure, but the "US-Ugandan war" isn't going to happen as a result of this campaign.

    The Kony 2012 campaign distracts people from real problems Uganda has. Would they otherwise be aware of them at all? Probably not! But that would still make them an untapped resource for legitimate charities like MSF and legitimate activism groups to seek their support.

    Slacktivism takes already lazy, uninvolved people and makes them more uninvolved and lazy. It gives them an "easy out" so they can do this one thing (liking a Facebook status, turning off their lights for an hour) and think "Yeah, I'm good now, I've done my part".

    Bad charity groups with shitty motives and shifty business models jade people to legitimate charities. I've run into more than a few people who use the easy excuse of "well you know so many charities are awful these days..." to evade actually helping real groups that really do need help, like the Red Cross.

    It salts the Earth of people's willingness to help, essentially, because it either leads to them doing A) nothing at all, B) supporting shitty people and doing terrible things, or C) realizing this is bullshit and then becoming jaded about the next attempt to grab their attention and make them care, no matter how legit.

    It makes them more pliable to the manipulation of others. Unquestioning, unspecified outrage can be tapped by those who know how, and there's a whole diverse array of miscreants who can and will.

  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    The basic rub is this:

    Either you believe the Kony 2012 video will do anything to actually change how people act and will alter what they do, or you don't.

    If you don't, I can't see how you in good conscience can suggest that it has any value at all, it's absolutely no different at that point than reading all about how Snooki is pregnant (and she totally is, btw) or spending your day reading Reddit posts about Mass Effect 3 and jerking off into a sock.

    If it doesn't do anything, and it doesn't really ask anyone to do anything except "raise awareness", then it's noise. It's the Jersey Shore for slacktivists.

    If, however, it does do anything at all to influence how people think and act, if it will have any traction beyond this week when the next internet meme takes Facebook by storm, then I don't know how you can honestly say that the Kony 2012 video is going to result in anyone thinking or doing anything good.

    If so, suggest how. I'd fucking love to hear it.

  • Dark Raven XDark Raven X When you speak I hear muffinsRegistered User regular
    Pony wrote: »
    Slacktivism takes already lazy, uninvolved people and makes them more uninvolved and lazy. It gives them an "easy out" so they can do this one thing (liking a Facebook status, turning off their lights for an hour) and think "Yeah, I'm good now, I've done my part".

    Bad charity groups with shitty motives and shifty business models jade people to legitimate charities. I've run into more than a few people who use the easy excuse of "well you know so many charities are awful these days..." to evade actually helping real groups that really do need help, like the Red Cross.

    It's all about percentages though. For every 99 hipster thoughtlessly reposting it, there'll be one who gets legitimatly involved somehow.

    That said, I'd like to "help" and have no idea how to.

    rv0c1titu3ci.pngc0ppr8iiann6.png
  • WinkyWinky Registered User regular
    Pony wrote: »
    Winky wrote: »
    Pony wrote: »
    Winky wrote: »
    Pony wrote: »
    But that's not the point. The point isn't whether it's true or not, after all. The point is how it's making you think and feel. It's a tactic to make people outraged by a less important, nearly non-existent and certainly non-current issue which distracts them from real problems.

    I'm sorry, distracts them from the real problems of "famous celebrity couple just broke up!" you mean?

    I can tell that for some reason you are just absolutely livid about this but the truth of the matter is that for the majority of Americans thinking about Africa at all is a step up from what they're doing. I completely disagree with you that this is "bad awareness", and to be frank your assessment of Earth Hour is bullshit too. I cannot see how this campaign is negative for the dangerously large subset of the population for which Africa is a country.

    What are the odds any of that is going to matter, Winky?

    Like, I know it really rustles your jimmies that you live in a country chock full of so many globally-ignorant people. I get that. It'd bug the shit out of me too if I was an American, maybe! I dunno.

    But will telling your globally-ignorant Uncle Bob who thinks that Iraq and Iran are the same country all of this shit about Kony actually matter?

    You say "thinking about Africa at all is a step up from what they're doing"?

    Is it?

    Is it really?

    Because before the Bush Administration and the American media machine made a big god damn thing about "Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction", most Americans hadn't really thought about Iraq at all since Desert Storm.

    Yeah, how did that turn out? How did raising awareness about that issue pan out?

    Invisible Children are such warmongering fucksticks that there are people who are making the non-joking whispers that they're the arm of some conspiratorial goal of encouraging American military colonialism in Africa, "for their own good".

    I don't believe that shit, I know better than to go that far, but the point remains that when people have a non-specific, non-helpful "awareness" that they gained from being manipulated

    Well, quite frankly it's indistinguishable from religious fervor and outrage, and in the grand history of humanity that has rarely gone well for folk.

    Like I said, this isn't the campaign that I would have made.

    Still, equating this sort of awareness campaign to the shit-storm that led up to the Iraq war is disingenuous. The Iraq issue was a direct attempt to misdirect the attention of the American people away from relevant problems, yes. It also had the full force of the government behind it and (imagined) American interests at stake. What, exactly, does the Kony 2012 campaign direct the public's attention away from? The public would have to have been focusing on anything of substance in the first place for that.

    Furthermore, the Kony 2012 campaign doesn't do anything. Its only stated goal is preventing the US from withdrawing support it has already given. There are going to be warmongering fucksticks, I'm sure, but the "US-Ugandan war" isn't going to happen as a result of this campaign.

    The Kony 2012 campaign distracts people from real problems Uganda has. Would they otherwise be aware of them at all? Probably not! But that would still make them an untapped resource for legitimate charities like MSF and legitimate activism groups to seek their support.

    Slacktivism takes already lazy, uninvolved people and makes them more uninvolved and lazy. It gives them an "easy out" so they can do this one thing (liking a Facebook status, turning off their lights for an hour) and think "Yeah, I'm good now, I've done my part".

    Bad charity groups with shitty motives and shifty business models jade people to legitimate charities. I've run into more than a few people who use the easy excuse of "well you know so many charities are awful these days..." to evade actually helping real groups that really do need help, like the Red Cross.

    It salts the Earth of people's willingness to help, essentially, because it either leads to them doing A) nothing at all, B) supporting shitty people and doing terrible things, or C) realizing this is bullshit and then becoming jaded about the next attempt to grab their attention and make them care, no matter how legit.

    It makes them more pliable to the manipulation of others. Unquestioning, unspecified outrage can be tapped by those who know how, and there's a whole diverse array of miscreants who can and will.

    Do you have any evidence to support these effects? Because I can link you a lot of published sociological articles about how awareness raising efforts through facebook and twitter have measurable positive influences.

    Who is to say that "slacktivists" aren't just people who would never have contributed at all otherwise? You act like someone posting the Kony 2012 video on their facebook means they're not going to donate money to Doctors Without Borders that they previously were going to, as if everyone has a little mental charity meter and once they've done enough good deeds they fill it up and stop worrying about it anymore. Does a slacktivist get to feel good about themselves without putting in any actual effort? Yes. Does this mean there was a net loss because of it? I am doubtful (and statistics I have read directly contradict what you've said about Earth Hour).

    The Kony 2012 video isn't stealing potential donations and support from other NGOs, it is clearing a path for them. These aren't competing corporations, charities don't work that way. It entirely ignores the psychology of giving.

    mjoa2p.jpg
  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    Pony wrote: »
    Slacktivism takes already lazy, uninvolved people and makes them more uninvolved and lazy. It gives them an "easy out" so they can do this one thing (liking a Facebook status, turning off their lights for an hour) and think "Yeah, I'm good now, I've done my part".

    Bad charity groups with shitty motives and shifty business models jade people to legitimate charities. I've run into more than a few people who use the easy excuse of "well you know so many charities are awful these days..." to evade actually helping real groups that really do need help, like the Red Cross.

    It's all about percentages though. For every 99 hipster thoughtlessly reposting it, there'll be one who gets legitimatly involved somehow.

    That said, I'd like to "help" and have no idea how to.

    Red Cross
    Medicines Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders
    Amnesty International
    Africa AHEAD
    UNICEF

    those are some of the charities I support and endorse, and in the case of MSF, actively volunteer for and promote.

    but for the love of God don't take the word of some asshole on the internet with a fucking internet meme avatar you don't know.

    You got Google. Use it. Look some of those organizations up, see if they pass muster to your own ethics and views, and if you like the cut of their jib support them.

    Do something real.

    Send money. Volunteer. Actually act.

  • surrealitychecksurrealitycheck NONSTOP INFINITE CLIMAX POSTING you must go on i cant go on ill go onRegistered User regular
    do MSF not red cross if possible

    my cousin worked for the red cross and had a lot of bad shit to say about them

    whereas everybody i know who has been involved with msf say they are tru ballas

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