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/

 

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.

Chill, Hippies.

Hippies annoy me. I’m not talking about the politically-charged, Joe Cocker-loving, tie dye-wearing hippies of the ’60s. I’m referring to  the confused, politically-ignorant, Dave Matthews Band-idolizing, “legalizing Marijuana will save America” quoting, Birkenstock-flopping modern sort.

There was a time when hippies actually fostered positive discussion and action in our country. Nowadays, college-aged poser hippies often make America’s youth appear apathetic and misguided.

“Puffing the Magic Dragon,” wearing Che Guevara t-shirts (why?), disliking George W. Bush without legitimate reason (“he’s dumb” isn’t enough to justify your sentiment), and having a Bob Marley poster in your dorm room doesn’t qualify you as a “true” hippie. Actually, this just makes you a tool.

"Get Up, Stand Up" Now leave your dorm...

"Get Up, Stand Up" Now leave your dorm...

Today’s hippies are essentially walking contradictions of those from decades ago. Instead of taking to the streets with a united goal for change, many now stay home and bitch about problems they know, or do little about. Sadly, most of those who actually do possess knowledge fail to constructively apply it.

I believe that the single most powerful force inhibiting our nation’s political, social, and economic progress is our impracticality. It’s impractical to expect comprehensive reform overnight (with regard to any major issue, including health care, war, corporate greed, etc.). It’s even more so to anticipate action from others when you yourself are unwilling to make compromises.

Vegetarians criticizing meat-eaters for their roles in animal cruelty should instead preach support for the companies who do things more humanely. Environmentalists should put their money where their mouths are, and quit following Phish across the U.S. in their fume-emitting vans (how do all of these “hippie” folks afford tickets to all of these jam fests, anyway?).

Phishin' for Meaning?

Phishin' for Meaning?

Real hippies once knew how to blend their idealism with realism.  They stood together and illuminated a generation’s conscious restlessness through speech, song, and collectivization. To them, Dylan and Marley were ambassadors of compassion and peace, not just for the pot that they famously smoked.

College campuses were once the place for hippies to be themselves. Today, however, it seems like too many students are just the opposite.