Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Theoretical Apathy, Pessimism and Cynicism

Though it would be rude to simplify the general opinion of our whole class, I'm struggling to get through all of the pessimism and disapproval. 'Optimism is cruel,' 'activism is slactivism,' 'there is no hope for the world' and I have to post some blog about it to pass a class. People are starving and we're talking about how bad the people trying to help them are for not doing it perfectly. I guess sustainability is the goal...

I can understand how optimism about something that is not a solution may be cruel, and unsustainable. I can also see that in our limited time here on the planet, if we are doing one thing we aren't doing something else; therefor if online activism is less effective than some otherly greater real world activism, and is taking up the exact time and energy that would have gone to that better activism, it may also be cruel or slackful.

If the goal of activism is to get information to a maximum number of people to make change happen "for a moral cause" (which is ever so relative) perhaps against a suppressor, then I think blogging about apprehensiveness toward online activism, pessimism about power and effect, and cynicism about authenticity is slactivism. Kony2012 is not an entirely effective tool for helping end genocide in Uganda (though I'm sure it has more positive effects than we'd like to whine about), however it got a lot of attention, and proved not only that social networks can provide a soapbox for messages, but also that lame ass (yet well edited) hippie liberal one sided videos and their gatekeepers will not go unpunished (even if Facebook wants to be polite and leave out a 'dislike' button). I do not believe that people who click 'like' or sign a petition in a seemingly lazy manner do that instead of going to a more traditional sit-it (a.k.a archaic) style protest, but rather they do that instead of clicking like on that meme that says "This is a cute Puppy." The internet turns lazy unaware people into activists (if only slightly), it does not turn activists into slactivists.

I understand focusing on the flaws of a system to improve it, but calling online activism 'slactivism' because it's easier and more widespread seems envious. Without the ease of the internet's social networking, my laziness and unawareness might get balanced out by my wealth and privilege to bring me to activism without new technology, but not everyone is wealthy and privileged. To participate in more traditional activism, expenses and risks add up, and new technologies balance out those costs and risks to some degree. Would we rather these so called slackers go back to their unawareness while us college kids and other real activists like that do the job right? I think someone getting misinformed about Uganda is not the worst case scenario, because they're more likely to say something stupid and maybe actually learn the truth than if they totally didn't have words like "uganda" "genocide" "africa" etc etc

I guess what I'm bloggering on about is we should focus on causing trends rather than providing solutions. The mainstream entertainment and news media system have been brainwashing us for years, and now we see social media having their own distinct effect on what's trending. I'm just glad that things like Kony2012, SOPA/PIPA debates, Trayvon's trend, and Planed Parenthood v The Board of Susan's Foundation are considered fun to interact with in our life, even if ignorance is more trendy.

We still need activists to work extra hard to get their truth to the people, but the issues of online activism  shouldn't make us shun it, but rather amplify and refine it. Instead of blogging about Ivy League media theory I should be out there making a video to raise awareness about some atrocity I miraculously am driven to solve, or at least sharing a video so someone else can miraculously become a real activist. If a slactivist posts a video in a totally superficially lazy way and that post encourages the worlds greatest realest activists to become that, does the slactivist become an activist or is that just second degree/accessory to activism?

I'm rather bad at ending my blogs and the beginnings and middles aren't much better, but feel free to text me about this if you really wanna make a difference to my misunderstandings or oversimplifications 5082872331, or make a video about how I'm wrong...but please don't do a sit it, I find them ineffective in this day and age.

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