The Kony Express

A whole social media campaign to get one guy doing his thing in a place few understand is actually quite tragic. The example of Kony as  ‘social media activism’ – or the Kony Express as I call it – is setting a bad standanrd. Think: this Kony guy has been waging war for decades – he knows how to evade and kill and manipulate. He knows the terrain. Do the Invisible Children really believe they can capture this guy?

Not to mention, who would replace him? His replacement is probably as – if not more – psychotic and powerful than him.

The damage here, in my opinion, is that the messages eventually arrive in two extremes: a) social media (SM) is utterly ineffective and b) SM activism can change the world. Neither is realistic, but my guess is that the first is closer to the sad truth.

Perhaps SM ultimately propagates and amplifies our ignorances and misunderstandings of complex social and geopolitical matters.

I hope I’m wrong. But as the younger generation masters these technologies – as more and more of their education and knowledge of the world comes to them via SM – will they also master the arts and sciences of knowing how to effect true change?

Ah – there’s a question.

@PhilBaumann

Torture Is Wrong

Torture is wrong.

It proves that you are weak. It means that you are afraid.

Fears, weaknesses and wrongs are not the strategies for victory.

Don’t seek victory until you are able to face yourself without shame.

Seek victory like a proud warrior. Be strong. Be bold. Be right.

Violent Voyeurism in the Snow Field

Two actors, a young woman watches secretly whi...

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It’s a madding election season. There’s a lot of emotion. A lot of personal attacking from all sides. It’s loud. It’s pornographic. It’s violent.

I have no idea how anybody can think among all the noise. We aren’t reasoning together. How does anybody establish government policies without reason?

I don’t believe in bipartisanship: if you’re right, why should you move from your position? On the other hand, I don’t believe in illogical arguments, in the butchering of language, in ad hominem cliches. Passionate reasoning is what I believe in.

Most of what we see and hear about what’s happening in this election amounts to pathological voyeurism. There’s a violence in all this voyeurism: an assault on our reasoning and a devastation for our passions.

It’s easy to tune out all the noise, to abandon social responsibility, to lose faith in the goal of good government. Perhaps that’s the (unconscious) intent of our current system: to beat us all down and fracture our attention until we consent to our own undoing. Mass duress. Problem is: I don’t think there’s a grand master. We are victims of ourselves.

Violence can be fascinating. Voyeurism can be thrilling. The problem with all this watching is that our thrilling fascinations become us. We become the violence and the voyeurism. We cease to be reasoning citizens: sheep in need of ritalin.

Who cares? It’s just politics. It’s an election.

BEFORE YOU ANSWER, A WINTER ADVISORY:

First snow of winter, Truckee, California, Uni...

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If I told you snow flakes could kill you, would you believe me? Would you care?

Imagine every snippet of political voyeurism dropped your way is a snowflake. The flakes keep coming, piling up around you. Winter’s coming on hard and it’s getting late. Standing there, in the cold, you’re still fascinated with the tiny falling flakes.

It’s midnight. You’re shivering. Something hungry spies you through bare branches. You’re stuck in a drift and the wind is furious.

Now do you care?

What are you going to do, now that you know that snow flakes can kill you? Are you watching? Are you fascinated and thrilled?

Just what are you looking at through your TV or desktop or laptop out there, in the white field? Does the heat of these gadgets keep you warm? Or: have they failed you, leaving you cold-blooded?

Before I leave you, out there, a pearl: each vote is a snowflake too.

Just who or what are you really voting for with every flake you let slip onto the field? You’re getting smaller and your voice is fading. Who will hear your cries in the snowy silence?

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