Archive for Politics

The Kony Express

http://hypervocal.com/vids/2012/kony-express-what-this-campaign-really-tells-us/

Nothing is more powerful than an idea. Except an idea that gets Retweeted by Kris Humphries’s ex-wife.

With several icons (some lamer than others) and their share-happy followers generating significant online buzz, Invisible Children’s now-viral “Kony 2012″ campaign has introduced a new villain to the mainstream, while simultaneously placing a New Orleans Saints-like bounty on his head.

The non-profit organization’s video boldly asserts that eliminating Ugandan guerrilla leader Joseph Kony will only become a reality if we first make him a star. While Invisible Children co-founder and filmmaker Jason Russell has already succeeded in educating and inspiring millions, his ambitious project has stirred controversy amongst those who believe his story doesn’t paint the whole picture.

Regardless of how you feel about Invisible Children’s message, dialogue alone signifies progress.

At the very least, the Kony 2012 campaign illuminates how our attention span-challenged generation will respond to activism that is sexy and social. The film also acknowledges that Celebrity has an unique ability to influence media and (potentially) policy.

Kim Kardashian isn’t exactly John Lennon, but it’s encouraging to see our cultural ambassadors shine a light on something meaningful. Lennon famously used his platform to become a global representative of love and tolerance. Perhaps making Kony a universal symbol of evil will serve as significant and long-lasting call to action. You may say I’m a dreamer, but all we are tweeting is Give Peace a Chance.

 

The Republican Field of Schemes

“Is this Hell. No…this is Iowa.” My take on Bachmann’s win and the Republican Field of Schemes.

http://hypervocal.com/politics/2011/the-republican-field-of-schemes/

 

Convey it Forward

While today is the sixth anniversary of ABC’s LOST debut, tomorrow (September 23, 2010) is devoted to discovering answers far more important than what “The Island” truly was.

Social media guide Mashable and the African fundraising brand/campaign (RED) have partnered to make Thursday the first ever “Social Good Day.” This effort aims to explore the ways social media outlets can be used to inform, inspire, and unite individuals and organizations looking to change the world.

Those behind this movement hosted The Social Good Summit on Monday to kick off United Nations Week. The meeting has generated discussion and excitement for a day that will help create significant and long-lasting global reform through the digital networks we use daily.

For just over a week, Mashable and (RED) have asked their Twitter followers to post ideas for unique applications of new media and ways to support their cause. I was thrilled to see that one of my suggestions (“Wear something RED on September 23. Support Africa and our collective future”) was ReTweeted to over 1 million followers today. I’m proud and optimistic about the progress technology is allowing us to achieve.

While many believe services like Twitter highlight the mundane over the meaningful, there’s no reason both can’t coexist. We are more connected now than ever, and with great power comes greater social responsibility to mankind. At the very least, Social Good Day will be a terrific reminder of this truth.

While I frequently use social media to promote my activities, ideas, and (of course) my blog, I will now give a conscious effort to fill my 140 characters with more character. This is one way we can all be a part of change.

Can idealistic Tweeting save the world? It’s certainly a good start.

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*I encourage all social media users to participate in what will surely be a monumental day. Support Mashable, (RED) and people throughout the world who need your voice.  You can start by sharing this post with your friends via Twitter, Facebook, blog, e-mail, etc.

Palin and Suffering

Sarah Palin is more dangerous than Dick Cheney with a loaded AK-47. Last week, while speaking (or “tweeting”) out against plans for a new mosque near NYC’s Ground Zero, the former Alaskan governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee proved what many have  suspected all along-that she is both ignorant and intolerant.

Palin’s comment, “Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate,” is equally as offensive to Muslim-Americans as it is to Noah Webster’s memory. Sure, Palin may be a self-proclaimed “maverick,” but using imaginary words isn’t nearly as brave or rebellious as it is stupid (either “refute” or “repudiate” would’ve been appropriate in this context).

Instead of simply revising the tweet, Palin suggested she was embodying the linguistic spirit of history’s most esteemed writer. She added, “ ‘Refudiate,’ ‘misunderestimate,’ ‘wee-wee’d up.’ English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!”

Huh?

While Mrs. Palin may have been trying to make light of her mistake, her messages were written in bullshit, not Iambic pentameter. Yes, her overt prejudice is more of an issue than her foolishness, but a public figure with her track record needs to be more conscious of what she’s saying, and how she’s saying it.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg responded to Russia’s favorite next-door neighbor by asserting, “Sarah Palin has a right to her opinions but I could not disagree more. Everything the United States stands for, and New York stands for, is tolerance and openness.” He added that constructing a mosque would be “a great message for the world.” He’s right. A symbol of diversity, peace, and understanding would undoubtedly help America progress towards a future more rich in these very things.

Insensitivity to 9/11 victims and their families understandably concerns some, but Sarah Palin’s social and political relevance frightens me much more. While she may have our “hearts” in mind, this doesn’t mean we can stop using our brains. Oh, Sarah…”pls refudiate.” Maybe then we’ll have something worth celebrating.


Bandwagon on the Run

With the US eliminated from World Cup competition, it’s now time for Americans to repeat what most of us did after 5th grade- abandon our interest in soccer.

It was fun while it lasted, but feigning love for a sport in the name of patriotism is exhausting and unfulfilling. I love America as much as the next guy (unless the next guy’s John Mellencamp), but buzzing Vuvuzelas, inexcusable blown calls, and tie games made my colors run faster than Landon Donovan.

Buzz off

Sure, the World Cup gave us all a great excuse to get drunk, paint our faces, and find a television substitute for American Idol, but there’s a profound difference between supporting your country and following the team that represents it. In fairness, though, it’s easy for this truth to be lost on an overcrowded bandwagon.

America, F**K Yeah!

For those who really do love soccer, I’m sorry. The World Cup is an amazing spectacle and I’m sure you got a real “kick” out of seeing your homeland valiantly compete against the world’s elite. At the same time, however, the phony soccer love generated by the masses must leave real fans feeling uneasy. While the sting of America’s loss to Ghana affected the masses for about four minutes, this outcome will last with you for the next four years.

As part of a consumer nation, it’s fitting that we Americans are so quick to buy into things and/or people (think President Obama) that are hot in the moment. Our inherent fear of missing out is equaled only by our quickness to jump ship when our collective dreams don’t live up to our often impossible-to-meet hype. Many times, this makes us appear attention-span challenged and ungenuine. No one ever said life in the Land of the Free has no costs.

With the Gulf Coast drowning in oil, controversial immigration reform nearing, and our growing involvement in two wars, I wish the public would give World Cup-like attention to issues that are more American! Even pretending to care can help our nation progress towards a brighter future. I guess phony patriotism is still patriotism, after all.