What can we do when we know we’re being manipulated?
Last week the KONY2012 campaign to save kids in Uganda exploded onto the web, instantly reaching video views of over 40 million. Their message is simple. A man in Africa, named Joseph Kony, who leads a military force comprised of kidnapped child soldiers needs to be stopped. We must buy the KONY2012 starter kit that comes with two bracelets and some posters, so that on April 20th we can litter the streets with his name, bringing awareness to the world about this monster. Online, we must send messages to 20 social icons and 12 policy makers, one of which is Steven Harper, so that we can spread the message.
Whoever came up with the KONY2012 campaign is a genius in their own right. The movie connects with the audience, the posters are brilliant, and whatever tactics they used to drive it through Facebook have send the video viral. Nobody can disagree with the cause so, like wild fire through a thirsty forest, the news of Jacobs’ heart breaking story spread into household conversations across North America.
So what does this really mean? Because we all know deep down that things start out for the betterment of humanity and end up filling the pockets of corporate machines. We’re not there yet with the Kony campaigns, but it will be a miracle if we don’t end up with another Breast Cancer situation.
But what are we to do? We all know very well that our lives are run by the mass media. It’s not going to be long before products are stamped with the KONY2012 mark, and personal interests will take up a large portion of the cause. So, although intentions are in the right places, slowly the hands start to beckon the cyber-strung mind, with promises that buying certain products will help find Kony. They are hard temptations to deny when consummation is the foundation of our way of life.
We can’t fight the system, but I don’t think that’s the answer. The only way to get through without feeling like someone else's tool is to use the manipulation to our advantage. This is how we can do it.
On April 20th, as part of the campaign, the organizer of KONY2012 want the people of the world to place posters on every street corner in the most important cities. Montreal, New York, Toronto, Paris, London, etc. I don’t know what buying an action kit with bracelets and posters has to do with saving children in need, but a group action like paving cities with KONY2012 posters will show us the power of the population.
That’s what we need right now.
Advancement in technology makes people increasingly fear authority. So, slowly, our feeling of self worth and power diminishes. But the power of ten thousand fists cannot be overwhelmed by any government. Uniting against the rape, murder and mutilation of children is the first step in realizing the unstoppable power of one million voices demanding change.
Many people complain about what’s wrong with the world, but very little of them decide to do anything; fighting the power seems hopeless. What can one person do against an entire system? But, as KONY2012 may prove, eventually causes move beyond the realm of a single figure. What begins as a whisper, becomes the chant of a nation.
Even though KONY2012 is going to sell a hell of a lot of T-shirts, and Even though it will eventually turn into a marketing ploy, we should be spurred to action, in our passion and in our rage, to at least try to help these children. Being cynical about it won’t get anyone anywhere and the morale boost that we’ll get as a society, in seeing people from all over the world working towards the same cause, is more likely and even more valuable than finding a psychopathic dictator in the middle of the African jungle.
Since our lifestyle is run on the premise of constant mass manipulation, there’s no way that we can fight it. Mainly because we’re so comfortable that nobodies interested in change. Instead we should pick what manipulates us, and try and use it to greater advantage.
In the case of KONY2012, I’m in.