Western pundits and journalists sure are selective in choosing what does or does not count as newsworthy across the continent of Africa. Of course, Uganda is always a sure bet. Just look at all that international press “Kill the Gays” drums up every time it comes back before Parliament.
If Jason Russell’s public masturbation meltdown means anything at all, it surely has nothing to do with Ugandans or central Africans as such. No, if anything, it illuminates the cluttered and – let’s face it – histrionic mind of the collective American public. Though many of us have been scratching our heads for years about the misinformation that Invisible Children spews in the name of “public awareness,” it wasn’t enough to trouble the public in general when the “Kony 2012” film hit the internet. In just a few days, the video amassed tens of millions of hits and quickly became the most wide-reaching viral video of all time.
Misinformed poverty porn: It’s an entire genre in the world of “consciousness-raising” NGOs, as any foreign correspondent, researcher or professional do-gooder can attest. I saw Invisible Children’s first such contribution to the genre years ago, an hour-long film also dubbed “Invisible Children,” purporting to explain the Northern Ugandan conflict and the child solider problem to viewers. Then, as now, the NGO had stirred up a firestorm of passion to stop the injustice. That film, like the new “Kony 2012,” obscured the geopolitical context of the conflict in favor of a simplistic “good vs. evil” narrative about saving the children.