KONY 2012

I rely on only one person to keep me abreast of the international aid and development economics world; and since that one person is on an extended "vacation" (the word means different things to different people, obviously) in southeast Asia, I arrived late to this party:

KONY 2010: he's the worst.

In these days of domestic political strife where you either love one candidate and hate the other, or you honestly can't tell the difference between any of them, it's nice when someone stands out from the pack as demonstrably worse than anyone else walking planet earth today.

But I guess the meta-story has evolved beyond whether or not Kony is a bad man; it's now about whether or not the #KONY2012 campaign is a bad idea.

If, like me, you're a fairly cynical person who's seen and heard it all before, you owe it to yourself to take 30 minutes and watch the video. I will admit that my eyes welled up several times. No tears actually streaked down my face, mind you, but I had to be careful not to blink once or twice in order to avoid such a catastrophe.

If, unlike me, you find yourself constantly striving to do something, anything on behalf of every group of people who ever faced a disadvantage in this world, often without even evaluating your actions or efforts to determine whether your somethings and anythings  are helping or harming their recipients, then you owe it to yourself (and the world) to read Chris Blattman's off-the-cuff remarks. And then take 30 minutes to watch the video. And then, just to be safe, you might want to read this round-up of opinions on the campaign (via Blattman). Suffice to say: nothing's simple here.

I have nothing substantive to add to the debate and discussion, but I'd like to point out how brilliantly executed the whole campaign is. With over 100-million views in less than a week, the video's message is surely getting out there. And the 20/12 strategy of targeting 20 people with cultural capital and 12 global policy power-brokers is genius. The whole campaign may be misguided, patronizing, insulting, or outright harmful to the people of Uganda, but you have to admit: they got people's attention.

On top of all this, in a tiny flourish of detail, I note that they merged the GOP Elephant and DNC Donkey into a peaceful white dove. Has anyone made this visual connection before them? If so, I'd never seen it.

This Wendell Berry quote a friend sent me the other day is apt:
I would rather go before the government with two men who have a competent understanding of an issue, and who therefore deserve a hearing, than with two thousand who are vaguely dissatisfied.
Competent Understanding is in short supply these days, all around the world and especially here at Grandiloquent Bloviator. With patience and perseverance, though, we can keep taking tiny steps toward achieving it.