KONY: PHONEY BALONEY?

Like everyone else i eventually succumbed to the viral wonder that is the KONY THING

Unlike everyone else, i actually work with the bullshit arts.

It’s my job to distract you and tickle you into doing what i want you to do.

It’s a tough thing to do.

So my hat is off to anyone who manipulated the FB community into caring about kids in Africa for even one second.

You have done a wonderful thing.

I did some work for an Irish relief charity a few years ago.

I spent two weeks exploring their relief efforts all over Ethiopia.

And what impressed me most was how scientifically dead-on relief efforts had become.

The image of the bleeding heart unloading grain from the back of a truck is 40 years out of date.

And the era of aid money somehow ending up in an african dictator’s pocket is similarly long gone.

Yet that image persists.

And it hurts efforts to raise money for the continent that was raped by European colonialism.

Africa got fucked.

They were doing quite alright without us.

And guess what, there are consequences to that. That stretch across centuries.

So anything that can bring Western attention to the post-colonial mess that is Uganda has to be applauded.

But my problem was with the execution of the KONY film.

Not its content.

It felt like it it was playing its audience too much.

It felt like an ad agency feel good pitch video.

And this director really loves himself and his family as on air talent.

He was annoying but clearly had access to great post production.

I lasted ten minutes before i turned off out of sheer greasiness.

It was cloying and manipulative in ways i am all to familiar with.

So I didn’t like it.

but millions did. and they win by outnumbering me. yay them!

And anything that diverts mainstream American culture to a place 99% of them couldn’t find on a map is undeniably a good thing.

8 responses to “KONY: PHONEY BALONEY?

  1. Possibly the best social media campaign I’ve ever seen. Isn’t sad that people in advertising can’t take the good out of things like others can. Sometimes I wonder what’s wrong with me being such a cynical bitch but I did watch that and think who is this for? Having said that we know better than anyone it’s how you tell a story that helps it spread. I hope good comes out of this and I think it’s great the Invisible Children have managed to generate advocacy for a great cause. I also hope people do their own research on Uganda and decide on a better way to help than just updated this facebook status.

  2. i know what you mean Annie. ad folk can be very blinkered. it worked! shut up!

    but there is also a sizeable proportion of the population that are always on the lookout for reasons to support their antipathy towards Africa.

    and i fear this guy might be their latest reason not to give money to help their fellow human beings.

    I hope I’m wrong.

  3. Just because they shared it… don’t assume they watched the entire thing.

    Many people simply watch a few minutes, identify with it, and then share. (of course, they now belong to a group they identify with and feel good about.)

    I watched the entire thing, couldn’t believe the quality of story and production. But yeah, the son felt a little over the top. Had a very “zeitgeist” feel if you’ve seen that.

    Best. Post. Ever.

  4. Surely it’s not the job of advertising to convert but to just draw attention.
    ‘Advertising isn’t the be-all and end-all of selling something.’
    http://davetrott.campaignlive.co.uk/2010/03/09/advertising-doesn-t-sell-stuff/
    Job done I’d say.

    • i would reluctantly agree john. i just wish the organization it was produced for was beyond reproach. and apparently it is not.

      but still, America is talking about Ugandan boy soldiers. that’s a miracle in itself.

      • john p woods

        In the US, nobody knows anything about this guy and his actions. The point that I am trying to make is that this film, as bad as it is, at least serves the purpose of making people of the US of A aware of atrocities happening in other parts of the world, especially in Africa. I do not defend Invisible Children, nor do I support them, and I do not think they are providing a solution to the problem.

        With the help of Africom (the US military output in Uganda), the Ugandan government was able to chase Kony away from its territories. From what I understand, no one is sure where Kony is. However, the atrocities are still being perpetrated in the region. Children are still being abducted and used as sex slaves. People are still being massacred. So all of a sudden, this non-profit produces a short film about this “bad guy” and everybody is put on notice. But instead of focusing the debate on the real issue of atrocities being perpetrated against children, the discussion has shifted toward figuring out whether Invisble Children’s motives are sincere. Honestly, is that really so important?

        What is not emphasized and that should be emphasized is the work of local communities and non-profits in Uganda that are trying to help and educate their communities. They are the one that should be praised and helped, because they are the one most likely to provide solutions.

  5. I think we agree, Vinny.
    Next.

  6. Have to say the cynic in me is a bit riled up. I can’t help but conclude all this interest is really just your standard American self gratification and very temporary! Sure everyone is paying a lot of attention…but so what…Will any real change come about? Will a celebration ensue when this guy is eventually caught? Sure? With requisite chest thumping and self congratulations. And then what happens when the next bad guy steps in just like the many that preceded…?

    I am no expert on Ugandan politics but I do take a regular interest in the welfare of the mountain gorilla populations residing in the contiguous forest areas of Uganda and the congo…and these populations, both gorilla and human have been sorely damaged by the ongoing strife brought about by politicians and paramilitary revolutionaries alike. Throughout the region and in neighboring countries, warlords have long battled over control of resources. Laurent & Joseph Kabilla, Liberian Charles Taylor, now Kony, who oddly I had never heard of before. All using horrific tactics, child soldiers, incredible brutality, rape, patricide. It has been one after another, some swept into power some killing from the outlying regions…

    And what are they fighting over? Power and money of course but at the root it is a very lucrative trade in…(drum roll)…
    charcoal.
    I guess any attention brought to such atrocity is in some manner a good thing…awareness might develop into policy. But recent history shows that it has not.

    I can’t help but feel our sudden national interest in the plight of equatorial Africa won’t somehow be quickly replaced by interest in a particularly outlandish Family guy episode, or Seinfeld reunion, or Katy Perry nipple slip or a Kajagoogoo reunion tour…

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