The Kony2012 video (for the 1% of you who haven’t seen it yet, it is here) is a brilliant piece of filmmaking. It’s 30 minutes of sympathetic and evocative imagery, tugging at your heartstrings and tapping into that inherent sense of altruism that I personally believe is one of the three keys to happiness (the other two being sex and food, but let’s not get into that here). It also is a fantastic reminder that social media like Facebook and Twitter can be used for recognition of people who are not just celebrities, actors or athletes. People like Joseph Kony.
Here’s why I still support it:
The backlash against Invisible Children suffers from the same problems that the initial wave of support does. To simply look at a film like this and dismiss its central message based on seemingly contradictive details is too easy. Some of the confusion is coming from IC being around and attempting to spread its message for several years now, so some of the rebuttal articles are 3 or more years old, but being passed around as if new. Still, I do agree that true support against the atrocities committed by Kony and others in Africa might be better focused in donating money to charities with better ratings and more money specifically going to aid rather than production costs.
Personally I took the central message of Kony2012 to be “raising awareness”. A week ago, did any of you know who Kony was? Did you take two hours out of your day to research other aid that could be sent to Uganda? I didn’t, and now I do. I personally hope that that Jason Russell and the other founders of Invisible Children understood the overly simplistic view they were taking with their video, and chose to continue BECAUSE PEOPLE RESPOND TO SIMPLE IDEAS. Twitter has both been a genius idea and been harshly criticized for its 140 character limit. It forces people to convey thoughts in the tersest of terms and thereby lets clarifying details fall by the wayside. It means it’s extremely difficult to have a completely well thought-out and reasoned idea in that medium. The same applies to the Kony2012 video.
Joseph Kony is a bad man. But he’s only one man. Dick Dastardly had Muttley, Captain Hook had Smee, and Jospeh Kony no doubt has an entire network of other Bad Men around him. Taking of the head of this chimera isn’t going to kill it, but it’s a start. Raising awareness around the monsters is a Good. Thing. The more people are aware of the cause, the more people (hopefully) will research the cause and see what the best way is to help. Are many people simply going to give blindly to Invisible Children (because let’s face it, Gavin is downright ADORABLE)? Probably. But think of all the people who are now, having looked into it further, are going to be giving money to additional charities (with those coveted four star ratings on Charity Navigator) to help with the core problem happening in Africa.
That is what I support. That is why I will still be putting up Joseph Kony posters.