Kony 2012 – the good, the bad & the indifferent

so i’m just going to assume you’ve already heard of this Joseph Kony guy by now. even though a week ago you probably had not heard of him – i sure hadn’t until a couple days ago – you really can’t escape him and the organization that’s been making him famous in the US over the past week. he’s the awful, crazy dude in Africa who’s been kidnapping, raping and turning into awful, horrific soldiers African children for over twenty years. we can all agree he’s a really bad dude. i’m sure we can also agree on the obvious fact that the video which has been making him famous over the past few days has garnered (as of the very moment i’m publishing this post) over 58.7 million hits and growing. that’s not even controversial. that’s just fact.

that fact is the main reason this topic is relevant to what we do here at superfreako productions. it’s not the only reason, but the fact that it’s a film that’s getting this cause so much attention is obviously very interesting to us. no matter what you may think about the organization who made it, this film is extremely well-crafted, and the film’s quality coupled with the infuriating nature of the crimes depicted within it – the kidnapping, raping and murdering of tens of thousands of children in Africa – have made this 30-minute online video ubiquitous in a matter of days.

Kony 2012i know invisible children, the organization who made this film, is controversial. they’re being called thieves. they’re being called exploitative. they’re being called all kinds of things all over the internet, but when i read some of the “specifics” about them and what’s “wrong” with them, though i don’t necessarily agree with the vitriol and anger of their accusers, i can understand a little of what’s making them so angry. i happen to come to very different conclusions when presented with the facts they site, but the truth is none of this controversy is what i find fascinating about this whole hullabaloo.

i happen to agree very much with a very interesting article i read this morning on Tubefilter. in the article, the writer sidesteps the controversy pretty much entirely and talks instead about how fascinating it is that this video has been able to so quickly capture the imaginations of so many people. what Invisible Children has been able to inspire in such a short amount of time is fascinating. the video – posted to youtube only 4 days ago – has captured so many hits and so much interest that it’s clearly freaking people out. i mean if a topic like this can capture the interest and emotions of so many people in such a short amount of time, can it happen again? what this means for Kony himself specifically – and for Africa as well – has yet to be seen, but i for one cannot wait to see what will happen on April 20th. i’m also fascinated to see what – if anything – this means for future mobilizations like this.

i create art because it’s the only tool i have to help bring about change. i’ve always wanted to bring about positive change in this world and i believe that most artists – hell, most people – want change as well, but my talents as an artist are what God or Providence or Mother Nature or whatever gave me to fulfill these goals. i use my art to present my ideas to the world as palatable stories that can be ingested, mulled over and then hopefully to some degree agreed with. at the very least, i hope they help people consider problems in the world that they may be ignoring and to come up with ways they themselves can do something about them. i’m a Lajos Egri guy through and through, and though i don’t pretend to know all the answers, i definitely don’t think ignoring problems is going to help anybody. so i try with everything i write to create a situation based around some timely ethical or moral question and then to play out the situation in a way that gets people to think about it, but by no means do i feel like that’s the only way to address current problems in our world. it’s just my way – the way of the artist.

however i respect the HELL out of those people on the front lines of these problems – the people who try to tackle issues, injustices or crimes in our world firsthand. 2011 and the past however many weeks of 2012 have been so exciting. though i don’t agree with every single thing they do or stand for, i still can’t help but respect and be inspired by the Elizabeth Warrens and Dan Savages and the Occupiers and yes the Invisible Childrens of this world. think about it: first the Arab Spring, then the Occupy Movement and now – just maybe – Kony 2012. think about how much twitter and facebook and youtube have made possible in just the past few years, and then think about what else they might make possible in years to come. that thought – to me at least – is breathtaking.

UC Davis incidentmore and more i’m starting to think that if there’s any significance to the Mayan Calendar thingie at all, it’s that the world that we used to know – the world where we were separated as people and therefore easy to manipulate and control as various separate populaces – those days are over and the powers that be are freaking the hell out … and they should. they really should. people like Joseph Kony and Rush Limbaugh and Bashar al-Assad should be afraid.

the speed and power of this video, the way that it flew around the world in such a short amount of time, shining a light on a nearly three decade old travesty and bringing people and imaginations together to want to stop it – is something that could only happen in the age of facebook and twitter. ten years ago this kind of thing would have been impossible. that’s the real story here and i for one can’t wait to see what happens next.


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