The next 1500 words are an experiment. But in order for it to work, you must pay attention.
“Even though Uganda was relatively safe….they felt the need to tell the world that Kony was still out there.”
From the mouth of the Kony 2012 narrator comes the one line, the one overwhelming truth you most need to know about this viral campaign. “Even though Uganda was relatively safe….” It’s right there, at the 15:02 mark in the video. And the animated map that accompanies the voiceover clearly shows not only the LRA moving out of Uganda, but Kony along with them, in a pretty pink flow that leaves Uganda an unblemished, geographical “beigeland” while the surrounding countries grow blush with the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army). See that pointy hand on the right side of the map? It even shows when Kony left Uganda. 2006. That’s right. Kony left Uganda six years ago.
Apparently Kony is everywhere now – everywhere but in Uganda. In fact, Kony is the latest “Where Are They Now” superstar in the “Where is Waldo” terrorist book.
Herein lies the dichotomy of the Kony 2012 campaign. Herein lies the secret that points to a sales pitch. Herein lies the genius marketing of this brilliant little viral video. Because the filmmakers want you to believe that by purchasing their $225 kit (Vince the Slap Chop king would bow in homage to these marketing geniuses) you are truly making a difference, sending a message to the United States government that the 100 ‘advisory troops” Obama sent to Uganda (after extreme public pressure from a trio of hipster filmmakers who managed to get themselves a crapload of media exposure, compliments of idiots who didn’t have the common sense to check the filmmakers’ claims) are truly hunting the war criminal, Kony. The great and gracious Obama sent those troops there in an effort to capture Kony and bring him to justice, but now there is a chance those troops will be pulled. This can’t happen! Those troops must stay in Uganda. Those troops must aid the Ugandan Military in the hunt for Joseph Kony.
And yet by their own admission, Kony is no longer there.
In fact, no one knows where Joseph Kony is. The CIA isn’t even certain Kony is still alive. According to international intelligence operatives, Kony has not stepped foot in Uganda since 2006 and yet the entire point of the viral video produced by a somewhat questionable “charity” is to sell you on keeping US troops in Uganda, hunting for a man who hasn’t been there in nearly 6 years. But your support is still required. Your dollars are still required. Because without both, Kony will continue to abduct 6 year old girls and turn them into sex slaves. He will continue to kidnap 8 year old boys, force them to kill their own parents and then put a knife in their hands and make them mutilate the faces of their Ugandan brothers and sisters.
But you, sitting in front of your computer, logged into Facebook, YOU CAN STOP KONY! Act now! Participate! (operators are standing by!)
On April 20th of 2012, you can stand with the Army of Peace (while they continue to fund the Ugandan military with your donation). You can be in the streets, with your brother and sister warriors for peace, ensuring that the poor, mutilated, sex enslaved, abducted children get home safely! Ensuring that the monster Kony is captured and brought to justice! On April 20th, 2012, you can make a difference! Through your participation the world will awake and everyone will know exactly who Joseph Kony is!
There is only one catch. (This is a limited time offer. After all, we can’t do this all day.)
It’s minor, really. Just one simple little thing you need to do to ensure Kony can’t rape any more 6 year old girls.
In order to participate fully in the April 20th “Blanket the Night” Kony 2012 campaign you need to buy the kit. You see, this kit is filled with everything you need to fight Kony – posters, yard signs, stickers, t-shirts, a special bracelet with your own special “ID number” that allows you to log in on the Kony 2012 site and join the Peace Army (act now and we’ll send a free Kony 2012 bracelet for your friend! Please note that this bracelet is good for 2012 only. Also, please note that we show one bracelet on an olive skin tone arm, one bracelet on a caucasian arm! We’re making the peace sign! We love John Lennon! See! We’re all brothers and sisters! Those Ugandan kids are counting on you! In case you didn’t get it, here is a picture with arrows! Pointing to the bracelets!)
Lance Armstrong, YOUR “Livestrong” bracelets didn’t come with a super personal ID number!
If you don’t buy the Kony 2012 kit, you can’t be out there on the streets on April 20th, 2012 (we’ve allowed more than enough time for advertising, processing and shipping and bugging the hell out of mom and dad until they hand over the American Express card) with the hundreds of thousands of truly concerned people who will be covering your city with those ultra cool posters and yard signs and stickers and t-shirts that kinda look like that uber cool campaign poster that a totally cool artist did for Obama’s presidential campaign. Remember those? Yeah. Those were cool. These posters look just like the Obama campaign poster. But they say “Kony 2012”. Still cool, right?
(By the way: George Clooney totally endorses this message. And Rihanna does, too. We’re still waiting to find out if Zuckerberg endorses, but by the time we are done with this Facebook campaign, he won’t have any choice. He is on our “target” list.)
I know what you’re thinking. “$225? Wow. That’s a lot of string bracelets. I want to help, but I lost my home when the market crashed. And my job. I mean, I can barely afford to put Kraft dinner on the table for my own kids. Morally I know that 8 year old boys being abducted and forced to kill their parents is wrong… but 225 dead presidents?”
(In the meantime, here are some shots of those Republican candidates you liberal kids hate…look…evil Republican guy!)
But don’t let that impede upon your emotional response to this brilliantly produced piece of propaganda. Because if “Jacob”, mourning the loss of his dead Ugandan brother at the start of this video doesn’t gut you, perhaps the filmmaker’s own voice as he explains to his blonde haired, delightfully innocent 3 year old son just how much of a monster Joseph Kony is will bring a tear to your eye.
“Joseph Kony, he has an army,” the narrator explains to his son, Gavin, as he plops 8 by 12 full color glossies of the wanted war criminal in front of the toddler. “And what he does is he takes children from their parents and he gives them a gun and he makes them shoot other people. They don’t want to do what he says, but he forces them to do bad things.” The blonde toddler looks both coached and confused…. but mostly just coached. Joe Jackson couldn’t have done a better job of eliciting a furrowed brow from an innocent than this hipster filmmaker does from his own son. Talk about exploiting children for gain….hmm.
Here is the bogeyman, Gavin! He needs to be hunted down and captured and daddy is telling people to pay him $225 so that daddy can make sure Bogeyman Kony doesn’t hurt anymore of those boys and girls! Isn’t your daddy a super great guy? Now, go tell all your friends at your private preschool to tell their mommies and daddies to buy this special bracelet, log in with the super secret personal ID number and become a member of the army for peace. Wait – before you leave the house, daddy needs to Sharpie the link on your forearm. Where is that apple for your teacher? Daddy needs to write the link on there, too. Is your teacher on Facebook? Tell her to “friend” daddy.
Oh, Gavin, you’re crying. Did the Konyman scare you? Don’t worry. This Shamwow will soak up those tears in no time flat!
Chances are that if you’re questioning the motives of this campaign, of the slick infomercial styling apparent in it, you’re middle aged. You were probably annoyed by the placement of all that modern emerging music to elicit emotion from your cold, cynical heart. You’re of the 40 to 65 demographic and you’ve spent more than a couple nights on the sofa, remote control in hand, surfing the shopping channels, pausing on the Zumba miracle fitness infomercial long enough to realize you’d rather keep your beer belly than pay $19.99 to jump around, looking like a idiot, and you know there is no difference between a cubic ziroconia and a “man made diamond”. You wait with bated breath for Vince to say “you’re gonna love my nuts” as he bangs the hell out of his Slap Chop.
You’ve probably owned a K-Tel cassette tape at some point in your life.
Guess what? The genius marketers of the Kony 2012 Campaign have people like you covered! The filmmakers showed pictures of WALL STREET – the only modern day bogeyman who can challenge Kony for the Bogeyman of 2012 title! And if Wall Street wasn’t enough to convince you – LOOK! A picture of the place where all the evil American politicians and lobbyists gather! The hall of evil!
You’re a Canadian? That’s okay. Here is a picture of the most hated man in your country, Prime Minister Stephen Harper! And wouldn’t you know it, he’s right next to two of the most hated men in our country, John Kerry and Dick Cheney! Stephen Harper BAD! We’re “targeting” him! You love us now, eh?
If all of that doesn’t convince you, we’re ensuring the “young people” in your lives hound your middle aged ass until you give in, by telling them how the “old people” got real scared and stuff when we went to Washington. Like, REAL scared!
Now we are going to show you all of the awesome things we’ve done in Uganda. But before we do that, here is a picture of the filmmaker’s adorable son, playing with his toy car. Zoom zoom, Gavin! Zoom Zoom!
(Insert touching video montage of cleaned up Ugandan children with school books and smiling, laughing faces, complete with moving background music only your teenage kids are familiar with, here)
“All of this was funded by an army of YOUNG PEOPLE.”
Oh, we love those young people. We love their energy. We love their tenacity. But most of all, we love their naivte. Because we, the filmmakers, know that those young people won’t listen to you old people. We know there is nothing young people love more than a pin on their messenger bag that makes them feel socially conscious. A sticker on the inside of their locker that makes them about more than the latest Katy Perry hit single. A t-shirt that sets them apart in the lunch room. And a reason to stay out past 11 pm on a school night.
“But we’re putting up posters about Kony, mom? Did you not SEE my string bracelet? God, you just don’t get it. You don’t understand ANYTHING. You don’t even CARE! You don’t get ME!”
(Door slams, mom pulls out credit card)
If you’re still buying into the Kony 2012 Campaign, then act now. Seriously. Follow the instructions at the end of the 30 minute infomercial that explains the three simple steps you need to take to ensure Kony is brought to justice:
1. Sign the pledge to show your support
2. Get the bracelet and the action kit!
3. Sign up for Tri (the charity associated with the Kony 2012 Campaign) to donate a few dollars a month and join our army for peace.
“And above all else, share this video online. It’s FREE!”
Don’t write your congressman, your senator. Don’t write your MP, your MLA, your Prime Minister.
Don’t do anything other than buy our $225 “Kony 2012” kit. We’ll do the rest for you.
If there is one thing that is true about this outrageous infomercial it is contained in the opening narration:
“The rules have changed”.
Yes. Yes they have. They’ve changed so much that a pseudo charity that sells $225 worth of garbage to our adolescents can become a viral sensation, applauded by celebrities, endorsed by the media, touted by our own local news outlets.
The rules have definitely changed.
Now, if y’all don’t mind, I’ve got a hot date with Vince, his slap chop, a can of spray on hair and an infomercial that doesn’t exploit my children, my guilt about how much better off they are, and my bleeding liberal heart in order to soak me for a few bucks, shipping and handling included if I act now.
PS: Could someone please give the Occupy Wall Street people the number to the geniuses that created this epic infomercial?
TEN QUESTIONS that need to be answered by “Invisible Children” before you donate or participate in this campaign.
If you watched the Stop Kony 2012 video, you owe it to yourself to watch this video.
In the interests of fair representation of the people of Uganda, here is a video from a Ugandan woman who has a fair assessment of Stop Kony 2012 IF the intentions of the filmmakers are entirely altruistic. And at this point, that’s a pretty big “if
BREAKING NEWS as of March 9, 2012: recent articles by an African journalist suggest the “Invisible Children” charity, which we now know to be a fundalmentalist evangelical Christian organization with ties to the Republican Party, is promoting US military involvement in an oil rich region of Africa. In truth, the Kony campaign is about far more than even cynics such as myself first imagined. It’s about garnering public support for yet another US military intervention in an oil rich nation. And we all thought they just wanted to sell bracelets and raise awareness.
MORE evidence that leads to suspicion that a US Military Invasion has been in the works for months and its sole purpose is to secure recently discovered oil rich regions in the area.
MORE: How many Ugandans must raise their voices to protest this campaign before arrogant, self righteous, North American slacktivists get it ? How many must beg us to stop with the Kony 2012 campaign before we finally bring it to an end? What will it take? Read this article by a former child solider of the LRA. Maybe he can convince you of that which I am unable.
FOOTNOTE: Even the good people of Uganda are angered over this attempt on the part of the filmmakers to pad their bank accounts. Read about that, HERE. And if that isn’t enough to convince you, here is a collection of statements from people far more knowledgeable about what is truly happening in Uganda and the surrounding areas than three hipster dudes with a great film editing program. If you want more information about the Invisible Children Inc. “charity”, this is the best article I’ve read to date. And for the definitive answer on whether or not this charity is worth giving your hard earned dollar to, please read this article which explains the importance of their curious financial statements.
UPDATE, March 12, 2012: Thank you to the reader who sent these screen shots, clearly showing the use of subliminal messages in the Kony 2012 video. What you can’t see is the hidden audio track that cannot be heard by most people over the age of 40 due to the decline in hearing as we age. Obviously we need to ask ourselves and the makers of this film a lot of questions.