Keeping readers in a constant state of becoming aware creates an indefinite loop that would be laughable if it were not so productive. And while it produces awareness of abused bodies over there, it resolutely refuses to make readers aware of their complicity in those abuses. The material conditions that reinforce the world’s structural violences apparently do not qualify as awareness-worthy.
As a result, awareness makes the reader less educated about what animates a horrible situation and less equipped to respond to it conceptually or politically.[…]
Against this critique, a common defense of Kristof is that by putting us in the scene so viscerally he gives heretofore invisible subjects a human face, thereby allowing the reader to enter into the scene and then act.”
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“Invisible Children has turned the myopic worldview of the adolescent — “if I don’t know about it, then it doesn’t exist, but if I care about it, then it is the most important thing in the world” — into a foreign policy prescription. The “invisible children” of the group’s name were the children of northern Uganda forcibly recruited by the LRA. In the group’s narrative, these children were “invisible” until American students took notice of them.
The New Inquiry’s Elliott Prasse-Freeman in Be Aware: Nick Kristof’s Anti-Politics, which now reads as if it could just as easily be about Kony 2012.
Solving War Crimes With Wristbands: The Arrogance of ‘Kony 2012’ in The Atlantic.
I’m not an expert on Uganda, Joseph Kony, child soldiers, or foreign policy, but the way this video has caught on makes me deeply uncomfortable.