Follow Up to Kony 2012; The Internet Can Prove a Point, and Just As Easily Annihilate One

It’s been over a week since Invisible Children Inc. released their Kony 2012 video and, since then, the company’s bank accounts have been investigated, their interests re-evaluated, their PR revised, and one of their founders has been caught masturbating in public. At the same time, Mass Effect 3 was released, and a new iPad was announced and subsequently released to, quite frankly, adequate reviews. It seems that many enjoy its ease of use, and overall look and feel, others love it’s resolution, price tag, and processor. Mass Effect 3, on the other hand, has experienced rave reviews from almost every source, though the internet has raised issue with the Deus Ex Machina style ending that some feel undermines the point of the entire franchise’s “Choice” paradigm. There are several conclusions to be drawn from these facts, though chief among them being the power of the internet, and how quickly it can turn on an individual, organization, or idea. That being said, it doesn’t take very much for a group of people to go from aware and active, to aware, disinterested, and passive.

I said it in my first Kony 2012 article, and I must say it again: while an idea lasts forever, it doesn’t take very much for an idea to go from being the foremost to last thing on someone’s mind. All it takes is something that seems more interesting, or more important. What Kony 2012 has proven is that all it takes is a little bad publicity for an entire organization to lose their backing and support, and Invisible Children Inc. had it rough from the get-go.

Almost 16 hours after the Kony 2012 video was released, the internet was abuzz with details regarding the company’s faulty finances, oddly misplaced support, military viewpoint, and, most importantly, the people it’s chosen to target as policy- and culture-makers. Of course, time passed, and more information regarding Kony’s potential actions and position was revealed; several videos detailing interviews with the man where he claims to be acting for the Ugandan people against the corrupt Ugandan government, in addition to reports that he may have died years ago do nothing for the capture Kony movement.

The point seems to be that Invisible Children Inc. is trying their hardest to capture a man who has done, and achieved, nothing in over 4 years for no discernible reason aside from publicity and monetary gain. Granted, this information gathering is absolutely necessary, and before a person jumps on the proverbial bandwagon, they must know what they’re getting themselves into, so the reports that Invisible Children Inc. isn’t as humanitarian as they try to make themselves seem isn’t bad news. It’s just the regular dirty laundry that happens to crop up whenever a large scale organization tries to form a movement that has drastic consequences.

What’s interesting me, however, is the negative feedback that this laundry has produced; within days, supporters of the movement seem to have renounced Kony 2012’s actions, and the internet seems to have formed a faction dedicated to bashing anyone interested in raising their voices. Worse, it seems that groups have formed dedicated to disproving Invisible Children Inc. as an entity, completely disregarding the fact that the organization is trying to capture a war criminal, and an overall negative contribution to human society, instead choosing to focus on the aforementioned dirty laundry.

Yes, Invisible Children Inc. seems to have a spending problem, one that reveals that approximately 16% of its earnings go to in company spending (things like travel costs), and yes, it’s evident that the Ugandan government is just as corrupt and negligent toward its people as Joseph Kony is, and yes, everyone seemed to jump on the bandwagon without thinking about where the bandwagon was leading them, and yes, it’s clear that Invisible Children Inc. has a PR problem considering that their founder was found masturbating in public, but the critics shouldn’t be focusing on the movement, so much as the organization behind the movement. I mentioned this case in the previous article: it’s obvious that any celebrities that involve themselves in certain humanitarian movements are in it for the publicity. It’s wrong for an actor, singer, or writer to claim they are acting selflessly when they are clearly acting for the attention their so-called selflessness will produce. It’s due to this that it’s acceptable to criticize the individual acting for selfish reasons, especially when they have no idea what they’re acting for.

It is, however, unacceptable to attack the movement itself because, regardless of who it’s backers are, the movement seeks to do nothing but good. Granted, how much good any movement can do when it’s backers are selfish and money crazed is negligible at best, but parodying and insulting the actual movement is undeniably wrong. I suppose, in essence, it’s perfectly acceptable to criticize (but not attack) the selfish for trying to gain popularity by attaching their names to important movements. What is unacceptable, however, is attacking the movement for trying to accomplish something in the first place, which seems to be the case with Kony 2012. It seems that the internet has forgotten that the movement is attempting to accomplish some amount of intrinsic good by capturing a man who has brought genuine devastation to an entire country, and has chosen to, instead, blindly attack anyone who has chosen to side with the obviously right choice, regardless of who these people are.

Of course, there is a slightly darker, and more depressing, side to all of this; as quickly as Kony 2012 became a thing, it just as quickly faded into obscurity becoming the punchline for small blogs (I’m sorry, but Jason Russell couldn’t have had his breakdown at a worse time). Worse yet, thanks to the attention it’s received, the appropriate response has been no response at all. I’m not quite sure which is worse, though I’m leaning on the school of thought that believes that ignoring a subject is worse than speaking poorly about it; at least in the latter, the subject is being discussed, instead of being ignored or hidden behind locked doors.

I must mention that, despite the attention Invisible Children Inc. has received, I continue to maintain my position on the capture of Joseph Kony. On a very basic level, it would send a message to those who would consider genocide and intolerance an appropriate response to any political quarrel. It would prove, once again, that evil can be quantified, and that it cannot be justified, only brought to justice. On a very grand level, it would prove that collectively standing up and trying to do something good about something bad can accomplish something, especially since the Kony 2012 movement has guidelines that it’s trying to adhere to.

Unlike the Occupy movement, Kony 2012 knows what it wants, and how to get it, and if there’s one thing the internet can do, it’s prove a point.

As always, this has been your Admin, the Avid Blogger; comment, subscribe, and criticize, and DO remember! Always look on the BYTE side of life!

-EK

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