People had every right to question Invisible Children along with its co-founder and creator of the internet sensation known as the “KONY 2012” video, Jason Russell. The 30-minute documentary chronicling the atrocities committed by militia leader Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army was widely panned for its inaccuracies and gross oversimplifications of the subject at hand, not to mention a justified accusation of further perpetuating the idea of some ominous White savior. This onslaught of criticism is a typical consequence of such an obvious cry for attention.
Spectacle often begets spectacle, which is why the filmmaker finds himself the subject of ridicule following an arrest late last week for running down the street in what’s been branded a “naked meltdown.” Though the word on what exactly caused Russell to allegedly shout incoherently, pound his fists on the cement, and engage in public masturbation awaits, in the meantime I do have a few choice ones for those who, like Jason Russell, tried to pleasure themselves at the wrong time.
Even before Russell’s video started to be appropriately fact checked by members of the press, there were people – enough to warrant irritation – that slammed supporters of the “KONY 2012” in a very snooty manner.
Newsweek appears to have noticed it, too, and addressed it by way of reblogging the following quote on their Tumblr: “Dear everyone telling me to do ‘research’ on Joseph Kony, please tell me everything you know about him/the situation. I’m curious. Xoxo.”
In a recent interview, Rihanna, who one of the main reasons why so many young people bore witness to the Kony documentary, explained her involvement: “Twitter has brought about so many opportunities not only for me but for the foundations I work with like the KONY 2012 foundation, Invisible Children – we’ve been very active with them in trying to get the word out and spread the word and get my fans involved because the foundation is so driven by youth and their enthusiasm and their stand in things that are not okay.”
However misguided, Rihanna and the legions of young people whose interest she piqued with a single tweet, bothered to care about something greater than them.
Now that the person who helmed the video is being placed on psychiatric hold and having his wife deflect accusations of substance abuse, some are using the incident to further push their pedantic mantra. The problem with that mindset is if one wants to advocate “research” to groups they believe are uninformed, you’re only hindering such efforts by talking to those folks as if they are beneath you.
Fact is young people are not the only ones who are largely uninformed when it comes to a given political issue. A skip scan to the Pew Research Center’s Web site or the bowels of hell often known as the comments section of a given news site can teach you that.
That’s why I hate that whenever young people entertain even the slightest bit of concern about issues be it Joseph Kony, Arab Spring, Troy Davis, or the slain Miami teen Trayvon Martin they’re met with obnoxious skepticism.
“You need to be informed.”
“You need to do your own research.”
“You won’t even care in a week.”
If you believe any of this to be true, why not try to prevent it? Even if in vain, why not make the effort to spread whatever information you have so others may follow your lead? Instead of living up to the adage “my brother’s keeper,” why do so many settle for being their brother’s antagonist?