Learn to use the Internet (and a little sense): A response to Kony 2012

If you’re reading this post, then you’re obviously on the Internet. If you’re reading it any time close to when I’ve posted it, that means you’ve certainly seen the Kony 2012 video, whether you’ve watched it or not. And by now, chances are pretty good you’ve seen some counter-information as well, suggesting that maybe throwing your support blindly behind the people who made that video isn’t all that great of an idea. Maybe you’re wondering what you should believe? Who, if anyone, you should be supporting? Whether or not a Facebook status update can, in fact, lead to the downfall of an African warlord?

I’m here to help. Sort of.

Now, I am not here to explain this situation to you. I don’t really have time to dig deeply enough into it to offer an informed opinion. But if you’re curious, you can easily figure it out yourself, because, see, as I pointed out waaay up there at the top of this post, you have the Internet. Combine that with a tiny bit of sense, and I bet you can figure this out for yourself in the same amount of time it took you to watch that video in the first place. Google the guy, read a couple of articles about him, familiarize yourself with a tiny bit of the history of Uganda, and maybe learn a little bit about this charity that wants your money, and you are well on your way. Yes, this takes more time than clicking “Like” on a video posted on your wall, but you will come away knowing that your opinion, wherever it ends up, is approaching being an informed opinion (which, by the way, is the only kind of opinion worth a shit).

There was a time when a certain degree of ignorance when it came to stuff like this was excusable. Way back in the ’80s, you’d be at the mercy of whatever your local library had on hand, as filtered through your own miserable skills at looking things up and/or the ability and willingness of a librarian to help you (note: in my experience, librarians are always happy to help, but people rarely ask for whatever reason). Now? Shit, type the name into Google, hit enter, and a world of information spills out, all while your boss is paying you to look busy! Skim his Wikipedia article, read a couple of Time pieces, maybe even go deep and bust out some article in Foreign Policy and all of the sudden you are the smartest person in your newsfeed!

It’s not hard if you have reading comprehension skills equal to those of a bright 9th grader. You don’t have to be some computer wizard: type a simple question or even a string of keywords into Google (“Joseph Kony Uganda” for example) and info just appears, as if by magic (computer magic!). Within the first three pages of results (30 or so links), you should have everything you need to start forming an opinion. If you really care, you can always go deeper. And if you don’t care enough to do this? Then shut the fuck up about it. I don’t care to hear another half-assed, ill-conceived, and ignorant opinion about anything. Not when you a literal world of information is just a few clicks away. Failing to do this, on any topic you opine about, is a sign you’re more interested in hearing yourself talk than in the truth, and that just tells me I shouldn’t be paying any attention to what you have to say.