By now, I’m sure you’ve heard of the whole viral campaign #KONY2012, which was started by the guys behind Invisible Children. If you haven’t, then I suggest Googling it (or just click on the link). Now you’d think that the campaign would receive strictly good press because of the cause and the awareness it is spreading about said cause, but unfortunately, that’s not the case. To tell you the truth, I’m not 100 percent behind #KONY2012 myself, mainly due to the guy behind it all, Jason Russell.
This guy is pretty much as annoying as he looks like he would be. Russell, a USC film grad, looks like your typical hipster douche from a wealthy southern California family. I mean, if that picture isn’t enough for you, the man named his child Gavin. Oh come on, Jason, you’re making it too easy for us.
Now, I’m not saying that this campaign is all bad, because by no means is it. It’s good that the awareness is coming out. But the way in which Russell is presenting himself and profiting off Kony and the LRA is pretty tacky. Even though it seems like Invisible Children is non-profit, it is profit, and Russell is pocketing millions off the merchandise he sells, like those “cool” leather bracelets with the words “INVISIBLE CHILDREN” etched into them. In fact, the Today Show reported that only 32 percent -THIRTY TWO PERCENT -goes directly to help kids in Uganda.
Russell also has this messiah complex that is not only so strong that you can see it when he poses like a modern day Jesus in pictures with all those Ugandan children, but it’s downright off putting. Some quotes regarding the recent Kony video and movement:
We view ourself as the Pixar of human rights stories
The truth about Invisible Children is that we are not an aid organization, and we don’t intend to be. I think people think we’re over there delivering shoes or food. But we are an advocacy and awareness organization.
No one wants a boring documentary on Africa. Maybe we have to make it pop, and we have to make it cool.
They are getting in touch with the Academy Awards. They want this to be up for an Oscar.
Oh, and here’s some excerpts from an interview he did with PMC Magazine last year:
PMC Magazine: Who am I?
Jason Russell: I am a rebel soul: dream evangelist. I am obsessed with people. I tell stories by making inspiring movies that move people’s emotions, and then I take those emotions and transform them into action. My middle name is Radical. I married my best friend. We have known each other since we were six and seven. I have a three-year-old boy named Gavin Danger & a one-year-old girl named Everley Darling. I truly believe I am the luckiest person on earth because of my family, friends and the ability to go to a dream factory every day for work.PMC Mag: Who is your biggest hero?JR: If Oprah, Steven Spielberg and Bono had a baby, I would be that baby.
Like, seriously? Who does this guy think he is? Oh wait, he thinks he’s the second coming of Jesus Christ. Or Moses. What I think he fails to understand is that you have to let your work speak for itself. BE HUMBLE. No one really warms to someone who is a privileged faux radical that talks about his adventures in making sweet documentaries about how he saved an entire group of children. For crying out loud, get a hold of yourself and your delusions of grandeur. What you’re doing is great, but you aren’t the only one doing it, and the way you’re profiting off of it is actually not so cool. Just like your dumb hipster haircut.
So how does this guy who comes off as the annoying guy everyone loves to hate, still end up creating this viral video campaign that has 75 million+ views with tons of support behind it? Well, my friends, the answer is simple. He’s good looking.
I know that this may come as a shock to some of you, but really, it comes down to the fact that this guy is attractive and he just so happened to make an emotional appeal. That’s really what it is. Even Jon Stewart said admitted it.
It really shouldn’t come as a shock to us in our world, which elevates physical good looks into something more than they probably should account for. There are multiple examples of people getting away with things or receiving credit when they shouldn’t, just because they are good looking. Amanda Knox (there’s still something fishy about that whole case), Brad Pitt (really can’t act, I’m sorry but it’s true), Anna Kournikova (can’t play tennis, sorry), etc. You get the gist.
That’s why I have created “Learning with Hotties!”
“Learning with Hotties!” is a series of simple fact sheets about current and past world events put in bullet point form with a picture of a hot person on it so you’re more likely to look at it and hopefully remember it. Or you may just remember Kate Upton’s boobs or Zac Efron’s hot arms. Hopefully this can be like the whole Pavlov’s dog experiment, where once you see something, it triggers your memory.