Earlier this week, while my media class was working in groups on an upcoming project, one student turned to me and said, “Kony 2012. You’ve got to check this out. A major event is happening right now in how media works. I’m not saying it’s good, but you should check it out.” Later during that same period, other students started talking about it; some had shared it from Facebook, some were talking about celebrity posts on Twitter, some were thinking about doing something in response to this piece. The next day, I even heard 7th graders talking about it in a Middle School class that I teach.
Indeed, this week, a phenomenon burst into the scenes of social media, non-fiction moviemaking, and how moving images are functioning in our world today. I would recommend for teachers and students to look at the Kony 2012 movie using the questions for Chapter 6, “Recording and Presenting Reality,” on pages 237-238 of Moving Images. Notable subjects for discussion of this media document are the presence of director Jason Russell in the voiceover and images; the use of his young son as one of the primary figures in the images; the digital techniques used in the movie; and marketing methods employed by the filmmakers and this group. Here is an excellent article from the New York Times on the phenomenon of the Kony Video going viral. In addition, here is a one of the rare news pieces appearing in major media – in this case from Democracy Now – about the deployment of troops to Uganda by the Obama administration in October 2011.