My 15-yr-old son made me sit down and watch another YouTube video. But it wasn’t Maru—the cat who likes boxes. It was the “Kony 2012″ video that is running rampant over the social networking waves. My son was very moved and, he said, “inspired” by this “good but sad” short film.
The “Kony 2012″ film is a brilliant and effective piece of marketing, and by that I mean absolutely no disrespect.
Using a child as the “protagonist” brings the audience in; focusing on the “story” keeps you engaged for almost 30″; and the graphics, music and ideas are memorable (they had to wait for, or update to, FB’s Timeline, lol!)
But there has been some critique from some that this film simplifies the situation. “The reality is that few don’t know who Joseph Kony is in East Africa and the Great Lakes Region, making it all-too-apparent that this isn’t about them, their views or their experiences.” (Read Taking “Kony 2012″ Down A Notch)
No, this isn’t about “them”; it’s about us.
This idea gone viral through YouTube and social media may not have been created for those of us who know what has been going on for years, wherever we live, however involved with this issue we may be.
We are not the audience.
It is very “V for Vendetta“, very “The Game” (I lost the game), very—hate to say it—youth-oriented. So if the discussion is streamlined, if the use of our media world seems too trendy, if seeing a bunch of kids from the US want to help kids in Africa doesn’t strike a cord with you, you might ask if it isn’t the fact that “viral-ity” has a different meaning for you.
The most memorable piece for me in the film is the concept of using “fame” to bring criminals into a global light. Though not new, it certainly has a different texture now than when Capote wrote “In Cold Blood”. And this idea, filtering down to kids on YouTube who have grown up in a marketing-saturated yet informed existence, makes sense. The film states, “The people of the world see each other and can protect each other.”
How does change happen? this film is asking.
If you are 15 or 20 or 22, you may just be a believer in the possibility of lots and lots of voices changing the hearing of our government. Like a megaphone, like a mic-check at an Occupy event, like the research in quantum mechanics, there is a stronger-than-ever belief of one individual’s actions creating a wave of change. They may not remember the Bushes, or Reagan, or Clinton, but they will remember Barack Obama as president.
My kids are 15, 20 and 22. They do have hope, with enough of a touch of cynicism that keeps them real. I won’t speak for them, except to say that my youngest will add to the knowledge he has received from watching “Kony 2012″. And although his views might change or deepen in time, although he may not remember next month how inspired this film made him feel, today it has already lodged into his consciousness and inspired him to action.