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Not intending to lessen the noble feelings behind the viral spread of this video, but this article points out some of the flaws in the ‘Invisible Children’ cause:
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One of the things that Europeans and North Americans often forget when dealing with Africa is that tribes matter. Kony is an Acholi, and most of the atrocities have taken place in Acholiland.
Ugandans from other areas may have different loyalties. Some Ugandans – especially those from different ethnic and tribal groupings – may well view the campaign as a bad thing because they see it as reflecting badly on Uganda, and Kony’s activities have no effect on their lives. Pride in ones country can lead to remarkably large blind-spots sometimes.
It’s true that Invisible children have received criticism regarding their use of monies, but then again, their purpose was to “make Kody famous” – in this, they’ve clearly succeeded. That we have seen this video, and are discussing it here, demonstrates this to be true.
There have been certain voices – here in the UK mainly from the left – who view any actions by Western (especially US) military forces in Uganda as being problematic – there is more than a little truth in this. We must remember that African politics often sees things in a different way to our own occicentric view. Britain was the major colonial power in Africa – the US wasn’t really involved – except for Liberia, and that was set up for a very specific purpose. The US often agitated against British and French colonialism in Africa and pressured European governments into granting independence to African States. The US is seen in a very different way there. Some on the left are unhappy with this campaign because it has sought to gain broad support, including from people such as Jim Inhofe. Some on the left and anarcho / libertarian left – especially here in the UK – often seem to have a mistrust of movements with a broad support base. They seem to prefer to feel that they have a monopoly on “right”, and having the support of people with radically different political views on the same side as them makes them feel uncomfortable. I have read things by libertarian right wingers on the web who don’t like this campaign because they believe it’s a plot to destroy Ron Paul… political ideologies are strange memes, and can do peculiar things to people.
The thing I noted from Anton’s link to The Register was the following quote:
“What is fascinating in all this is how fast it spread, and the demographic doing the spreading. I kept seeing it pop up on the Facebook pages of my 15-year-old daughter’s (mostly female) friends, as well as my own 35- to 40-year-old female friends. Scanning the web for stories on the phenomenon, it appears to have been intentionally targeted at the 13- to 24-year-old female demographic.” This is something new… new technologies changing the way the world works… it’ll be interesting to see how it all pans out… and I’m not just talking about the Kody campaign either.
At the end of the day however, Kony was indicted by the ICC on the 8th July 2005 on 12 counts of crimes against humanity, and 21 counts of war crimes. This fact speaks for itself.
So now to the crux… would we like him out if the way? If so, then I for one couldn’t really give a toss whether he gets nicked and flown off to the ICC, or alternatively, if some grunt slots him… but then that’s me. Things are always complex, and one can never tell what the ramifications of an act will be until it’s done. What seems like a good idea can turn out to be a bad one, and vica versa.
The idea of making him famous is certainly a novel way of going about dealing with a man who has caused a lot of people a lot of pain for a long time… one could even describe it as magic… and as we all know, magic frequently works in unexpected ways.
@ Sparkychappy- “The idea of making him famous is certainly a novel way of going about dealing with a man who has caused a lot of people a lot of pain for a long time… one could even describe it as magic… and as we all know, magic frequently works in unexpected ways”
That was my impression of this video as well. I see the whole idea as an attempt to unite people and make them share one goal (making their voices heard)- no matter who they are, where they live and what they believe in. Just as they said in the video- it is time to turn the pyramid of power upside down. I don’t know if US intervention in Uganda is a good thing but neither was their intervention in Afghanistan. The difference here is that in case of Kony and his crimes the public are the ones who call for intervention, not the governments. I see it as a very important shift in social mentality, one of the steps that make us feel like we can actually make a difference.
Obviously it is possible that because our understanding of culture and politics in Uganda is very poor this action will do more harm than good. so should we take action? This is like one of the problems I’ve been facing since many years in all aspects of life: is it good to recycle paper, is it good to run cars on vegetable oil, is it better to eat meat or fish, is it better to buy veg from local farms etc. In each of these cases I heard opinions for and against the idea. Very often it left me feel confused and unsure what I should do, so most the time I chose to do what was more convenient for me at the time. In case when somebody calls for action it is always easier and more convenient to do nothing. I did my part in sharing the video, I hope this was a right choice!
I also think it is interesting that someone becomes famous by people talking about him, not because some big company decided to promote him as a star. This is what I would call a “natural” way of creating fame- being “the very bad guy” everyone talks about, not being a very rich girl who does nothing apart from being rich (eg. Paris Hilton). The idea of covering city with posters of J. Kony is in my eyes type of rebellion. So far all streets are covered in posters of some crap that different companies try to sell us. These are our streets and we should decide what we cover them with! I think that actions like this one bring us all together, just like the Occupy movement. I personally don’t think that Occupy was a right way to fight the system. But I do think that it made some shift in social mentality. It seems to me that societies start to wake up.
@hippi @sparkychappy I certainly wasn’t intending to say I agreed with ‘the register’ article either. That website is sort of the British tongue in cheek tabloid press of the IT world, and its politics tend towards the economically conservative and socially moderate, a far cry from my own economically neutral and socially libertarian position, but I read it because its a lot less dry than the other IT news sources I need to keep up with the latest trends in the IT world for work purposes at the moment.
Rather it confirmed my ill feelings towards the video after watching. In contrast to ‘Occupy’ I felt that this video was engaging in media brainwashing ’emotional manipulation’ techniques designed to prevent the viewer from engaging in critical thinking. The ‘call to action’ was to ‘send money’ to a cause I’d never heard of, and which the next day I found had dubious money handling practises. It was basically saying “don’t think about this, just send us cash”.
Politically it may or may not result in good or bad results for bring peace or potentially worse instability to the region. Iraq for example, far from having become a beacon of democracy as a result of intervention, now has religious police executing teenagers for stoning if they have an ’emo’ haircut. Last I heard the other day about 100 youths had been so executed. So I’m really wary of calls for ‘Team America World Police’ to go in and ‘save the day’ and what this would actually mean in practise. Reducing Uganda to a warzone may only serve to cause a new Somalia type situation.
If this is really a ‘grass roots’ ‘bottom up’ campaign, and not one that originated from above in a way designed to go viral, then how do we know we aren’t just playing into authoritarian hands by giving them an excuse to start a new war by handing them a new ‘bogeyman’ to replace Sadam and Osama?
I don’t like being made to ‘act fast’ without a chance to think things through and I get immediately suspicious of people that don’t want to let me do that, especially when they make financial demands or political decisions. This campaign asks for both.
You’re right Anton in saying that acting fast and without thinking is not a good idea. I didn’t donate any money to invisible children, I just shared the video because I felt that this part was worth doing.
As regards the techniques used in the video; it is true that they appeal to our emotions and it may seem like manipulation but I don’t see what else they can do if they actually try to make people respond. I am sure all of us know that if you really try make someone do something for you an intellectual debate is not the way to go about it. They seem pretty desperate to get the guy arrested this year and that’s probably why they do things the way they do.
I find it hard to decide whether we should use military to interrupt into other countries problems or not. I may not like the authoritarian nature of the military but it exists whether we like it or not. If it is already there we may as well use it.
As regards possibility that campaign originated from “above”- of course that is possible (another conspiracy theory… ;-/ ). This brings me back to dilemmas I mentioned earlier in my post- whenever we don’t know what is the right thing to do we do nothing. When you choose a side you’re at risk of choosing the wrong cause. If you don’t choose at all you automatically give others the right to choose for you.
@Anton @Hippi. Re The Register, yeah… I’m well familiar with it – I’ve been shouting at my laptop for years when it’s on my screen .
My feelings toward The Register have always been the same… it has a streak of cynicism running through it about a mile wide. Sometimes I find it invigorating, at other times I find that the tendency to cynicism can sometimes override everything else… as if cynicism is the primary intent rather than the medium. I have a similar relationship with Private Eye!
I completely take your point about the way the campaign is organised. It’s interesting that you raise The Occupy movement. My personal feelings about the occupy movement varied from country to country. In Spain, where it began as Los Indignados it was truly a genuine grass roots movement. When the movement moved to the US, it seemed to have support from libertarians of the economic right as well as from those on the left – the kind of people who are happy with free markets, but disagree with the concept of a fiat currency, and are liberal in their social attitudes. My own feelings were that, when the movement came to the UK, this broader support was quickly swamped by an economically left wing view – which means that the broader support base began to melt away. There is a valid case to be made that there is nothing inherently wrong with a stocks, shares and derivatives system, but that the real problem is that currencies have no solid foundation – such as gold – anymore. There are groups active within British politics who like to view themselves as a cadre and attempt to take over broader based movements – and they’re bloody good at it.
I agree that the video used well established techniques of mental manipulation – it was a good lesson in how to program the emotions… but then Genesis P. was doing that with PTV back in the 80’s. The real question is whether the ultimate aim is a noble one… I suspect that it is… I doubt that the makers are trying to take over Uganda in the interests of American Imperialism, nor do I believe they are simply trying to screw me for cash. That many warriors have serious flaws is a given… Tydeus springs to mind. However, we should also remember that mercenaries can fight for noble causes.
I agree that the political ramifications of an action can last for many years. Here in the UK we are still living with the ramifications of the Norman conquest. The effects of it can be clearly seen when one looks at a list of the names of large landowners and the socially skewed land ownership system. We can never truly understand what effects our actions will have – there are always far too many variables. I will grant though that some actions have fewer variables attached than others. You raise Somalia – an interesting case. We could go back further than the more recent events and ask ourselves how did the British Empire in the 19th C affect the current situation – the answer is quite considerably as can be seen in the current division of the country – but the people who ran the Bible Societies, the Whigs and Liberals who drove expansion forward because they believed it would bring “civilization” – itself a legacy of the Roman conquest of Britain in 43CE – to “the natives” never had any understanding of their real future legacy. The dangers of interference are always there.
Re Uganda, British interference helped create Idi Amin – and we all know where that ended up. It is for this reason that I agree with you that careful consideration is often a good policy, and that hasty actions are often dangerous. I’ve stated my personal opinion that I couldn’t care less if some grunt slots him, or if he gets nicked and arraigned for trial at the ICC (certainly not a US front – they aren’t even signed up to it). But then, I’ve known about Kony and the LRA over 15 years ago and have been watching their activities with increasing disgust ever since. Some of those who are now backing the campaign were praising him just a few years ago – no surprise there, the same thing happened with Amin in the 70’s.
My personal opinion is that I wouldn’t give money to the campaign, but rather I would give the idea of nicking Kony a bit of advertising in my own local area at the same time – put my own work in alongside it rather than for it so to speak. As for acting fast, well in magic as in life, acting fast, before the conscious mind has had time to process everything can often yield the best results, though it also carries greater risks… as I’ve said before, “Yer takes yer pick and yer makes yer choice.”
Sorry if I’ve gone on a bit, but these are complex issues – the ones that interest me are always complex – and can’t be dealt with in a couple of sentences. I try to be as succinct as possible, but it’s necessary to examine the issues properly and give worthwhile examples, otherwise there’s no real point in discussing them to start with.
This film must be a longest advert I have ever seen. I suppose the experiment is about how well social network can do PR campaign for you.
I was really moved by this film but in the end I found it to much ‘into my face’, forcing one version of the truth onto me, playing strongly with my emotions causing me to feel emotionally drained. I was surprised how strong this experience was. It felt almost like psychic attack and in fact many forms of modern media can be compared to such. This forceful method of getting my attention puts me off and automatically cases distrust. I was thinking why I reacted this way and maybe I am cynical but re watching the intro made it clear to me that this film is an add and that’s all it is.
The worrying thing about it to me is that being distributed online through social network it doesn’t spell it out to you. I thought it was a documentary and I think that’s why I felt confused and a bit disappointed by the end of it. I do not watch adverts an principle and knowing this was one I wouldn’t have watched it at all. I suspect many people didn’t understand this because the adverts rarely included a persons individual story and they last short. We’re not used to see them on social network recommendations but I guess we will have to get used to it if Kony2012 is a successful experiment.
Forgive me a brutal analysis, I don’t mean to be unrespectful or offend other people’s feelings but looking at it from dry intellectual perspective can help in getting a clearer picture.
Film begins with some statements about planet population and population of facebook users, not social network, internet users but specifically facebook (product placement). Then we are told that ‘humanity’s greatest desire is to belong and connect’. Again this sound like advertising. Why not use word Love and Relationships. What doesn’t mean to belong and connect? This is an ambiguous message left to interpret to the viewer. Belong to what? Facebook?
Following script consist of chopped up sentences, on its own not making any sense. We see scenes of emotions and people using internet but the message is missing. Here is a short transcription of what was actually said in between words said by people on screen:
“Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come, is now. right now there is more people on facebook than there was on the planet 200 years ago. Humanity’s greatest desire is to connect and belong and now we see each other, we share what we love and this connection is changing the way the world works. Governments are trying to keep up and older generations are concerned because they could get worse next day. Next 27 minutes are an experiment but in order for it to work you have to pay attention.”
At the end of the film a simple give away: Now there are three things you can do: sign the pledge, buy a bracelet, make donation, share movie online.
Another easy to spot trick is running on the 2012 end of the world -great changes to humanity vibe- and on 2012 elections in the USA.
The most worrying aspect of it for me is including international political issues in an advert made to look like an account of reality. This is making such a mess of things. I disapprove of it. It’s taking the brainwashing shit a step further. I think this film is so dishonest in principle that it gives me shivers.
Informative and advertising media shouldn’t be mixed together. Adverts should inform about the product or service only. People say this would be boring. Well why should we have to watch adverts if we aren’t interested in the product. If we are interested then we will not find it boring to read or watch an accurate description.
Adverts unfortunately are not made to inform but to manipulate us into buying stuff we don’t want.
Last thing I want to hear is political issues discussed in an advert.
I see Kony2012 as a warning sign of times to come when adverts are being distributed through social network on behalf of Public Relations and Advertising companies. My feelings are that Kony2012 might be designed by PR department of the Invisible Children or one hired by them. You could say, well that’s a way to get message across and what’s wrong with it? I think the motivation. People who design campaigns like this are paid to do it in a way that brings profits for the company who hires them. They are not concerned about consequences of their campaign other than the profit. PR specialists could make you a star overnight and then make you fade into obscurity just as fast. They devote their careers doing just that to many individuals and corporations. Some of best people in this business consider themselves more powerful than any politician and they might be right.
@Hippi: Thanks for posting this. Food for thought.
A very interesting commentary on Kony2012 posted on care2.com from Ugandan blogger:
Greenwave.com by christopher green on kony2012 -interesting points about war propaganda and distraction from occupy also talking about why Kony2012 must be sponsored by American government(?) worth knowing to get a more objective picture.
Sorry, the second link is the wrong one here is the actual link to christopher ‘s comment. He explains what is ‘the game’ with ‘new rules’ quite well. He has a bit annoying style but he makes very fair points…
The Kony2012 reminds me a lot the Triumph of the Will. you can watch it here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBfYncHshJc&feature=watch-now-button&wide=1 It’s a nazi propaganda film that was later used to recruit soldiers in Britain to fight nazis. The change in context of the film makes it a classic example of how blatant the propaganda can be.
@sparkychappy I haven’t seen all the films Genesis-P Orridge made, but of those I did watch, including this one:
I felt the film used techniques to open myself up to my true self and see things as they are. In contrast I see the kony2012 film as designed to emotionally shut down critical thinking and persuade people to act fast and accept what they are told uncritically. The two films seem poles apart to me. Maybe you mean some other film by Genesis I haven’t seen…
Firstly, I love the way Hippi’s posting of this film has opened up whole new areas of discussion – as I’ve said before, regardless of how well we plan things, or try to read what will happen, we can never be certain of the future consequences of our actions – or inactions.
Several things strike me when I read @Lolita comments… the way in which a dichotomy is drawn between “documentary” on the one hand, and “advertising” on the other. At this point, I have to state that, as a person in his late 40’s, I have had access to a television for about 5 years of my life… this colours my whole view of what constitutes a “documentary”. When I occasionally visit other peoples’ houses and find them watching documentaries on the TV, I am always struck by the way in which the documentaries are selling something. It’s true that this is rarely something as crass as a bracelet – – indeed, contrary to the widespread criticism that this is about selling bracelets, my business sense says otherwise – but there is usually a product up for grabs. The product is usually an idea.* Interesting that you should mention Leni Riefenstahl – her documentary Olympia, ostensibly a documentary about the Olympic Games and sanctioned by the IOC was a not so subtle advertisement for the National Socialist government. The whole Olympic torch thing which everyone takes for granted nowadays was a Nazi invention. The use of the term “propaganda” is often used to describe such work, but really, this is a loaded term… if our opponents do it, it’s propaganda, if we do it, it’s publicity. We (humans) play these sort of linguistic games all the time… when was the last time you heard anyone talk about the “British regime”? Notice how when our government is friendly with another group of rulers, they are a “government”, but as soon as a dispute occurs, it becomes a “regime”? I seem to remember Noam Chomsky asking the BBC to introduce him as “the American dissident”… I seem to remember they refused to do so! I would argue that “propaganda”, “publicity”, “advertisement” and “documentary” are all really the same thing. People can argue over the details, but, at the end of the day, they are all attempts to influence the mind of the viewer and persuade them to see the world in a particular framework, by the inclusion, omission, or stressing of specific “facts”. It’s interesting that we, in the west especially, have a tendency to chop concepts up and put them in discrete boxes with labels attached. My own belief is that this is a product of 2,000 odd years of Judeo-Christian ethics welded onto a North West European barbarian culture, with a dose of 18th century enlightenment poured over the top. Some people from other cultures – the physicist, philosopher and eco/human rights activist Vandana Shiva has talked about this and appear to agree with my analysis. Cultures such as that of Japan and China certainly viewed things in a different way, though how much longer this will continue is a matter for debate. It could be however, that their weltanschauung will have significant impacts on our own… videos such as this one may well indicate the beginning of a new integrated way of perceiving both media and world.
I find the videos you posted interesting. Neither talks about tribal allegiance, which is always an important factor in African politics. Europeans and Americans always seem blind to this, though to Africans, it is as clear as day. Kody is an Acholi. Any comment that fails to mention this is, in my own personal view, being less than upfront. The campaign have stated quite clearly that the video isn’t about Uganda – the Acholi tribal area is spread across the border of both Uganda and Sudan – but rather, it is about Kony. The idea is that he should be arrested regardless of what country he is currently residing in. I quite agree with the Ugandan blogger when she says that the Kony video simplifies events – though once again, I have to point out that she doesn’t mention the Acholi but simply refers to Uganda – but then we could look at this another way… the Kony video has given her a great platform to tell us all the real story as she sees it.
The Greenwave video appears to me to be, frankly, the usual video produced by certain politicos. I’m sorry, but I really don’t see any case for “an invasion of Africa” in the film. Nor do I see any reason why the CIA should be credited with this. He appears to be simply using nominatives in precisely the same way as the Kony film makers – along with the usual allegations of conspiracy that I have seen so frequently employed by those on both left and right. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that Mr Green hadn’t heard of Joseph Kony until the film was released… as stated earlier, I became aware of him before most of those taking part in the campaign were born.
When I see this kind of conspiracy theory expounded, I am reminded of the words of Allan Moore, comic book author and ceremonial magician. “Yes, there is a conspiracy, indeed there are a great number of conspiracies, all tripping each other up… the main thing that I learned about conspiracy theories is that conspiracy theorists actually believe in the conspiracy because that is more comforting. The truth of the world is that it is chaotic. The truth is, that it is not the Jewish Banking conspiracy, or the grey aliens, or the twelve-foot reptiloids from another dimension that are in control, the truth is far more frightening; no-one is in control, the world is rudderless.”
At this point we should also remember that, when George W. Bush first became president of the US, the liberal left expressed fears that he would pull the US into isolationism. After 9/11, their fears were exactly the opposite. When Barack Obama became president, it was suggested that he would pull the US away from the middle east and toward Africa, and this was seen as a good thing – now we find this being expressed as a fear… interesting. It strikes me that many on the liberal left really don’t know what they want – which isn’t really surprising as few people do.
The idea of a Christian invasion of Africa is a little amusing. Most of the Africans I have met have been very religious Christians – following a variety of Christianity that I find especially unpleasant I might add. African Christians are at this moment in time, not only at the forefront of anti-gay movement within the Worldwide Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church, but are also sending missionaries to Britain and other European nations. The meme that homosexuality is a disease spread by Americans and Europeans is heavily promoted by African politicians – many with strong links to the established African churches. Incidentally, 84% of the population of Uganda are Christian – a higher proportion than identify as Christian here in the UK – and 12% Muslim.
@Anton. It is my own personal view, that regardless of whether or not Genesis P’s films are meant to open up the mind of the viewer, Genesis wished to disseminate his ideas as widely as possible, and to affect as many people as possible. To me, this is the issue. PTV themselves said they sought to use the methods of “cults” for what they believed to be noble ends. The discussion of whether something is “good” or “bad” or “right” or “wrong” is really neither here nor there. My comment re Genesis was referring to the means, not the aims. Regardless of your or my opinion of Genesis P. – on which we are probably in full agreement – TOPY was regarded by some as a “dangerous cult” and “a threat to the morals of our youth”. At the end of the day, closed minded bigots are also free to express an opinion, and if that opinion accords with the social norm, then different effects from those we expect to see may manifest themselves. We are still a long way away from knowing what the full effects of PTV’s videos and TOPY Transmission will be. It could be that in 20 years time, PTV videos, and even our own discussions here on KIA will be used to scare the crap out of small children about the dangers of moral degenerates. Let’s face it, some of the artwork done by COUM Transmissions would nowadays probably land them in court and on the sex offenders register – the Kama Brandyk D.o.A. calendar for example. Times change, social mores change, and we don’t know which way they will go!
*I used to run my own business. The person who taught me how to run a business explained that most businesses fail because the proprietor doesn’t truly understand the product they are selling. He gave the example of a hairdresser… to most people, it seems as if the hairdresser is selling a new hair style – not so. In reality, the hairdresser is offering a new image, a new way for the customer to see themselves – this is the true nature of product.
@sparkychappy I agree with you that many documentaries can be strongly biased, some of them do force specific ideas onto the viewer. I wouldn’t classify them all as propaganda though. I find it a subtle difference in one case and a rather strong and clear in another. The way I differentiate them comes from subjective perception of them and I understand this will vary from person to person.
Good example would be nature documentaries with David Attenborough. I find many ideas about animal life being not only anthropomorphized but also heavily influenced by gender stereotypes. In other words many comments about animals in his films seem sexist to me. The same can be said about what parts of animal life are being shown to us. Males fight, females give birth and nurture babies. The emphasis often placed on hunt and escape seem exaggerated too. If we see a female bird building a nest she is tidying up whilst male bird does “DIY’. Angry mob of female penguins killing a cheek is called motherly instinct to nurture whilst it is clear that the film captures a violent revenge. All these examples could be seen as propagating certain cultural concept to the audience. On the other hand I do not think David Attenborough does this on purpose. In my opinion he takes his culture for granted and does this subconsciously. I consider this a bias rather than propaganda just because it is not deliberate. In case of his film usually the last episode considers problems of global warming and human influence on environment. In this case I feel what he says to the audience can be considered as propaganda. These messages aren’t accidental but deliberate and thought through.
I agree many documentaries can be very forceful. I find Michael Moore difficult to watch for this reason. My favorite documentary maker must be Werner Hertzog. I can’t see anything in his films as any form of propaganda. This kind of film making seems rare.
To sum up what I explained above comes down to a difference between presenting a subjective view of reality (Hertzog) that can be biased by persons culture, age and other such factors (Attenborough) or presenting such reality as facts (Moore).
Being aware of personal bias can make a film much better because if the story presented doesn’t claim to be the truth or the only truth the audience isn’t manipulated to take it for granted. In cases of propaganda argument is structured in a way that discourage questioning it. I feel Kony2012 classifies as the second case. Another way of looking at it would be does the film raises questions or gives the answers? Kony2012 certainly gives the answers.
I agree that propaganda and publicity became the same thing. Same can be said about propaganda and marketing or advertising. I would like them to come back to the root and be a simple information and not a complex method of brainwashing people by showing them sex and selling them soap or showing them galaxies and selling a car. I find it dishonest.
Coming back to kony2012 and video responses I do not see either of the videos I linked to either as comprehensive or completely reliable. The Greenwave video seems to me over the top and I feel the author jumps to conclusions a bit too quickly but he does points out to the problem of how Kony2012 distribution suggests a fraud, also I agree with him that advocating military intervention in other countries by USA seems dubious.
What I like about the comment form Ugandan blogger is point she made about white hero saving Africa. I don’t think the film revolves around Kony. It revolves around the author and his son and tells a story of what a great dudes they are. Too much ego and boasting for my liking. Too me this in itself makes this film unreliable.
As regards the conspiracy theory I agree with Allan Moore’s comment you quoted. I also don’t think that CIA stands behind Kony2012 and that entire story has anything to do with New world Order (whatever that suppose to be).
It will be interesting to watch the story of this film unfold and see where it leads.
@sparkychappy Even when we first watched it we thought the Greenwave video was a little rude going on about ‘Sheeple’ and naive jumping to conclusions about the video being a ‘CIA psy-op’. But we did feel that other than that it did make a number of valid points, or at least raised some interesting questions.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with making videos to share ideas. As an author and film-maker myself, and indeed a website host, I’d be pretty hypocritical if I did. But there is a big difference between doing that and making a video that attempts to use emotional blackmail to manipulate you into blindly accepting its argument and acting on it.
I’m not familiar with all the work of Genesis, PTV and/or PTV3. I’m unfamiliar with these COUM transmissions you talk about. I have a couple of PTV3 CDs and have watched some other stuff that’s available on Youtube. I hope society doesn’t degenerate into the repressive authoritarianism you describe, but even if it did that would hardly be the fault of those that made real efforts to usher in an era of enlightened individual sovereignty and sexually liberated consensual adult relations.
It would be the fault of those that make videos like 2012 that use emotional manipulation techniques as part of a means of control.
So it looks like there isn’t just one but many conspiracy theories around the subject… As usual this makes me feel tired and unsure which side I should keep. I don’t believe the CIA influence- this is just too paranoid for me but I am perfectly willing to accept that invisible children may not be as honest in their intentions as they would like to seem. I noticed the manipulative tendency in the video from the beginning only I took it for sign of desperation. Even as an advert it is a very desperate one.
Last week I attended a very interesting business workshop which showed me quite refreshing but a bit scary attitude to business. In this workshop they told us that “advertisement is a fee you pay for not being remarkable”. In other words when your business is really awesome you don’t need to advertise.
Another thing they told us is that adverts SHOULD NOT be about products. Why is that? Because nobody needs products. They said that adverts should be about your ideas, the ideas behind your business. They said that more and more people ask the question WHY rather than WHAT, so the new face of advert is you telling them why you’re doing what you’re doing. It’s not about what you’re selling it is about why you’re selling it.
Obviously this type of advertisement will work best if you actually believe in your idea. If you believe that what you’re doing is important or good or in some other way remarkable (their favourite word) than you will be able to talk about it and people will know you’re genuine.
And then the last and most mind blowing thing they said- the new business should be GENEROUS. They said economy that aims at maximum profits is not sustainable any more.
Do invisible children fit somewhere into these categories? Possibly they do. It might be that they actually are a business. Only they’re not very good at it since not only they need lots of advertisement but also because they get lots of criticism- even facebook is full of it. Many thousands of people shared the ad, the question is how many bought anything? My guess is that less than a third.
Now what I would really like to know is if they actually believe in what they’re doing. My guess is yes but as sparkychappy pointed it out -only time will show.
@Lolita. Right, that’s it… you’ve done it… YOMANK!
Mention of David Attenborough really brings out the worst in me. I live with two dogs – note the use of the words “I live with”. I’ve been involved with dogs in one way or another for years – though I’ve never had a puppy – I’ve always kept rescue dogs. Most of these have been “problem dogs” – no children, so no risk of sprogs being savaged. Most of the problems I see with dogs – and I see them on a daily basis – are caused primarily by people’s anthropomorphism. People get dogs, refuse to think dog, and instead expect the dog to see the world as they (the humans) do. They transfer human characteristics and traits onto their animals creating spoilt, and often dangerous creatures. I agree with you that Attenborough probably doesn’t do this intentionally – but, nevertheless he does it – and I’ve come to the view that the constant anthropomorphic portrayal of animals in so called wildlife documentaries contributes to the constant unwitting cruelty that I see inflicted upon dogs on a daily basis by owners who are trying to be kind.
Michael Moore – once again… YOMANK! The way in which he plays with facts really makes me angry. What makes me even angrier though is the way in which such blatant misrepresentations are lauded over by many on the liberal left… not that the liberal left is any worse than the right – they’re both ideological memes that disturb me… but then most ideological memes do.
At the end of the day, everything that we (humans) do or see is subjective… the more honest we are about this, both to ourselves and to others, the better.
I agree with you that the Kony 2012 film purports to give answers rather than ask questions… but I suspect this is due to ignorance on the part of the film makers rather than an intentional conspiracy – much like Attenborough’s films. Over the last few days – especially since the masturbation rampage frenzy – it looks as if Invisible Children succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. A bunch of well meaning, but non too bright people, with a simplistic view of the world managed to create more publicity than they ever bargained for. A look at the increases in their spending and funding over the last couple of years shows a small outfit with a very amateur outlook getting too big, too quickly. Recent events show just how unprepared they were for this. I’d say the results are analogous to those confronted by many magicians – summoning up an unexpected “guest” in the ritual, followed by a severe case of the old gnostic burnout problem for Jason Russell on a personal level… maybe if he hadn’t been an evangelical Christian his burnout would have taken a different form – Anton LaVey’s dictum ““There is a beast in man that needs to be exercised, not exorcised.” springs to mind… oh well, such is life.
By own belief – and that is always up for grabs – is that your dream of a more clear cut distinction between advertising, publicity, propaganda and information ain’t gonna happen. The world we live in is changing at a faster rate than ever before. Many people find both the rate of change and the barrage of information difficult to deal with… and when I say this, I’m not just referring to consumers of information – many producers too fall prey to easy answers.
I do find it especially amusing / ironic that much of the criticism in the UK has come from the liberal left though, this section of the political world has so often called for simplistic solutions to complex problems, and I can’t help feeling wry amusement at their irritation that someone else has done the same thing as they do so often – though even more crassly if that is possible.
@Anton Channing. Yeah, the use of the word “Sheeple” indicates an adherence to a particular set of memes… but you probably know that already .
I’ve got quite a bit of PTV, have seen a great deal of the film they produced, and was also pretty into COUM Transmissions and their core / offshoot, Throbbing Gristle. I think that over the years, Genesis has done some brilliant work, which certainly helped to change the way I view both myself and the world in a positive way. The trouble is, when you invent the wheel, it can help move a farm-cart, a bicycle, or an armoured car. This is my essential point… dogs bark, cats meow, and people use tools. They use them in ways we may personally like, and in ways we personally don’t like.
I agree with you that, if the world we live in becomes a more authoritarian place it won’t be the fault of those who campaigned for more personal freedom – though sometimes, calls for more freedom can undeniably lead to harsher clampdowns. In my view, this is just part of the continuing process of Kantian thesis, antithesis, synthesis in action. Shit happens, different shit then happens, and finally, all the shit gets mixed up together.
@Hippi Condomando. I worked for SME’s, before starting my own. I can honestly say I have never been to a business workshop in my life. I sincerely doubt the chap who taught me the ropes had ever been to one either… he was very old school. When in business, I never did any advertising, but regarded good presentation as the key. It’s also interesting to hear that the concept of “idea as product” is being taught at business workshops… I wonder how long that’s been going on?
@Lolita– “I don’t think the film revolves around Kony. It revolves around the author and his son and tells a story of what a great dudes they are. Too much ego and boasting for my liking. Too me this in itself makes this film unreliable.”
In my experience that’s the case with lots of activists. One of my acquaintances is involved in a “typical” anarchist movement. Together with huge numbers of other people he turned his life into fight against the system. They travel all over the world whenever a huge protest takes place somewhere, climb on trees that are supposed to be cut, block the roads etc. I never got involved in any of this stuff because I didn’t like the general atmosphere this group generates. They have this feel around them as though they were superior towards everyone else because they do all this cool stuff and you don’t. The thing is that they made the whole life style out of this. The protests and other events are social gatherings almost always including lots of alcohol (not so friendly to other drugs since they support Mafia…) and I am sure many people go there to simply to have fun. Many of them live off benefits since they’re too busy saving the planet to work. The fact that benefits are part of the system they fight against doesn’t seem to bother them. Someone once told me that lots of them are rich kids who play “alternative” whilst living of the massive inheritance left by a family member. In other words not so cool.
But there is a “but”. The “but” is that they still actually try to do something. Some of their actions do make a difference. It is just their egos that I don’t like, not the goals they fight for.
@Sparkychappy– “If the campaign was intended to launch Jason, then I suspect they’ve blown it now – what with the naked masturbation rampage revelations and all.”
Agreed. This is what I hate most about media- what has a public masturbation case to do with Kony and Uganda? Nothing! It is just another typical papparazi move to drag some “filth” into the daylight… They do that sort of thing all the time. It is a funny coincidence since just yesterday I was reading “Te of Piglet” (B. Hoff- sequel of Tao of the Pooh) and there was a passage there about media and how they always talk about ugly stuff. The exact quote: “The Negative News Media sneer at everything and everyone and call that Objectivity. […] (Media) behave like Peeping Toms with notebooks and cameras, who seem more interested in destroying heroes than in exposing villains. Heroes have flaws, we’re told. […] So and so is just an ordinary man, after all”
“it looks as if Invisible Children succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. A bunch of well meaning, but non too bright people, with a simplistic view of the world managed to create more publicity than they ever bargained for”.
I think so too. It seems to me that they didn’t predict such outcome of the situation. Now they are becoming a big public joke. Media does a good job at making everyone who joined the project look stupid. Many of those teenagers who shared the video will be laughed at by their colleagues. I can’t help thinking that this is exactly what governments would like to happen… Remember that the invisible children in their video said “it is time to turn the pyramid of power upside down”. No matter of what was the context this is powerful message, especially for the young people.
Here’s an interesting piece on the Kony 2012 campaign written by a blogger called “The College Conservative” explaining the concepts of comprador diplomacy and clientele diplomacy. He comes from a US conservative perspective, and details how the Kony 2012 campaign is acting against US interests – he opposes the campaign. Recommended reading.
This blogger has also written a short piece with some interesting links… interesting to note the way that so many criticism of the campaign are in conflict and cancel each other out e.g. “they’ve squandered money on useless youth events in the US”, and “they’ve created an artificial campaign based on youth groups haranguing politicians and celebrities.”
@Hippi. I used to know quite a few people like that too. It’s interesting to note that in their personal lives, many of them had a carbon footprint way bigger than the average, and that many of them lived lifestyles that were, to be frank, ecologically unsustainable. It’s interesting to note that studies in Bristol have demonstrated that the area of Bristol with the lowest carbon footprint and the most ecologically sound lifestyle is not trendy Montpelier where large numbers of people vote Green, but rather economically deprived Barton Hill.
Some years ago, a friend of mine did a full ecological audit of the energy usage in her home – a 2 bedroom Victorian terraced house in Easton – and found that her household used about half the energy of the demonstration “eco-home” – her interest was in living her beliefs, rather than preaching them. The justification given for much activism is that the activists want to make the world a “better place”. The problem with this is though, that the concept of “better place” is a subjective one – I challenge anybody to find a politician or activist of any kind who says they want to make the world a worse place. Even Hitler wanted to make the world a better place, the problem is though, that his idea of “better” differed considerably from yours and mine.
That many activists become immersed in an activist lifestyle where the social life becomes all consuming is undoubtably the case, as anyone who has spent time in activist circles will testify. Once within the group, the social ties serve to enforce conformity and groupthink, language and behaviour patterns change so as to delineate the boundaries of the group, and a fear of exclusion and consequently losing friends ensures the internal cohesion of the group – this is how all groups work.
I also find it interesting how many activists understand little about the issues on which they are protesting. A good example of this is seen among many “anti-capitalism” protesters – many of whom aren’t anti-capitalist at all, but rather they are against (or rather think they are against – my own gentle questioning has revealed considerable confusion on this point) free markets – a different thing altogether. I say “think they area against”, because many of their completely justified complaints have been created by regulations imposed by well meaning politicians who themselves had little understanding of how the world works. As I have said before, words have power, but, in order that we can access that power effectively, we first have to understand what words really mean and see the concepts behind them.
I agree with your comments re the masturbation rampage revelations. The whole debate going on in this country at the Leveson inquiry really sums it up. The position of the media is, simply put that the “public interest” means “what the public are interested in”. Sadly we live in a world where the threat of having your sexual peccadilloes laid bare for all to see is a common control mechanism, and for many – especially those who are a little unsure of themselves and so wish to experiment and find out who and what they really are – the threat is a powerful one.
So many people who criticise the campaign – the Islington Radio 4 comedians for example – are often seen as being, and seek to portray themselves as “alternative”. The truth is though, that they are a part of the mass media too. The BBC are the largest media conglomerate in the UK. They have the backing of primary parliamentary legislation. They are the only media organisation in this country with the power to prosecute a person for consuming someone else’s media output. I seem to remember reading a breakdown of media ownership in the UK which revealed that the BBC controlled something like 70% of all consumed media. Some consider this to be a wonderful situation as it prevents other media conglomerates from buying straight into the UK media market – I consider those people to be rather trusting.
@hippi If a third of the people who watched the vid bought something from IV then they are a huge marketing success. Given the exposure they got they can be considered successful even if 1% bought something. From a marketing point of view.
@anton– I realised that after sending my post- you’re right one third would be a success. I think that in reality number of people who bought something is way less than that.
I’m just going to leave this here…
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