Fad Activism and Five Concerns with Kony 2012

Fad Activism and Five Concerns with Kony 2012:


Joseph Kony

I can’t stress it enough, before straddling the Kony pony do some research on the campaign.

Over the past few weeks the Kony 2012 campaign produced by Invisible Children, Inc. has gathered a tremendous amount of attention from North American social media platforms. The newfound exposure is credited to a 30 minute documentary also entitled Kony 2012. It asks individuals and communities to bring awareness to the LRA and Joseph Kony in an attempt to have him incarcerated. The documentary asks for donations while encouraging social activism and public awareness.

Let me start off by saying that I personally believe Joseph Kony should be arrested and tried for the atrocities he and the Lord’s Resistance Army have committed against the people of Africa. The crimes inwhich he is guilty of are unquestionably horrifying and need to cease. However, I see many problems with the integrity and effectiveness of Invisible Children, Inc. These include:

1. The co-founders unsubstantiated paychecks.

2. Lack of transparency in terms of funding.

3. Support of violent resolution.

4. Focus on awareness rather than action.

5. The materialist sentiment of the “Action Packs”.

1. In June 2011, at the end of the fiscal year, it was revealed that the cofounders of IC, Bobby Bailey, Laren Poole and Jason Russell took home a combined pay of $262,287. This is over 2.9 percent of the not for profit organization’s total revenue. Leading to approxamately $90,000 annually for each of the founders. As the founders of a charity this is unquestionably a ridiculous and selfish salary; especially when you consider a majority of their expenses are already covered by the organization.


The founders of Invisible Children, Inc

2. Invisible Children, Inc. is a not for profit organization which refuses to be externally audited. This should most definitely raise the eyebrows of anyone donating. Why is this charitable organization not allowing any outside sources to audit their financial records? This is inexcusable.

The organization has three goals:

a) Document and make the world aware of the LRA. This includes making documentary films and touring these films around the world so that they are seen for free by millions of people.

b) Channeling the energy and awareness from informed viewers of IC films into large scale advocacy campaigns that have mobilized the international community to stop the LRA and protect civilians.

c) Operate programs on the ground in the LRA-affected areas to provide protection, rehabilitation and development assistance.

Invisible Children, Inc. spent 8.9 million dollars last year. Disconcertingly, only 2.8 million dollars ended up making it to Uganda. After film equipment, travel, advertising and a cornucopia of other questionable expenses, a mere thirty-one percent of the funding actually goes to Ugandan relief efforts. This ratio is unacceptable, over two-thirds of the money donated is not going into the country. This raises warranted concerns about the legitimacy and integrity of the organization.

3. Even the money that gets into Uganda raises enormous contention. This controversy stems from IC’s support of direct military intervention. They continue to financially aid the Ugandan governments and other military groups. Unfortunately, the government of Uganda has also been accused of crimes against humanity.

4. Talk without action accomplishes nothing. Facebook statuses, hash tags, and viral videos aren’t stopping the rape, murder and indoctrination of thousands of African children. The people of Uganda don’t need awareness, what they need is aid. Preferably not from a government that is also accused of rape and pillaging. Fighting fire with fire can only lead to more turmoil.

5. Another huge seller for IC has been the infamous Action Pack. It includes a t-shirt, two bracelets, button, stickers and posters. Unfortunately, wearing Kony 2012 campaign t-shirt, button, or bracelet won’t show how much you care about the Ugandan children. This is because a majority of the money isn’t going to them in the first place. Wearing clothing dedicated to a political cause does little to create real and effective change. Wearing a Kony 2012 t-shirt will however show an individual’s support for violent resolution in Uganda.

I’ll finish by saying that I think awareness and activism are both necessary, especially within North American society. Nevertheless, it is absolutely pathetic that it takes a viral video to motivate and create change. It is disheartening to see people catering to a social fad, but not doing their homework on the real issue. A majority of people are not basing their support for the Kony 2012 campaign based on research and love for humanity but rather just sheepishly following the masses because “it’s the right thing to do.” Violent intervention is not a viable way to create a stable environment for the Ugandan community. Fighting violence with violence is not going to better the situation. Donating your money to support an organization that lacks charitable understanding and transparency will not remedy anything.

Thanks for reading.
Christian Cantarutti

Here is a link to the Financial Records released in June 2011 by Invisible Children, Inc: http://c2052482.r82.cf0.rackcdn.com/images/895/original/AR11_small_final2.pdf?1325722694


A Look into Broadcast Engineering Technology

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions…

The journey begins on the third floor of Loyalist College. I found myself wandering the halls looking for the office of a Mr. Eric Heidendahl to conduct an interview about the content of the broadcast engineering program. Mr. Heidendahl is a tall, older man dressed in a blue, button-up shirt and jeans.  He introduces himself with a smile and handshake. Thirty-five year veteran Heidendahl has been teaching the broadcast engineering technology program for the last four years at Loyalist. He has ample field experience and has worked in cooperation with multinational corporations including Camwest, Hitachi, Sony and Quantel. Heidendahl’s knowledge of the industry is truly phenomenal. He freely shared knowledge on the logistics and curriculum, and one by one he answered all my questions concerning the BRET program. Both his insight and compassionate personality allowed for an enriching experience. During the interview Heidendahl was adamant that students considering the program, “identify what your passion is, what it is that makes you happy, and go after that”.

The Broadcast Engineering Technology program strives to educate students in the field of radio and television broadcasting. Students will learn how to design, build, manage and maintain broadcast systems, facilities and IT networks. Recent digital innovations have revolutionized the media world. While speaking with Heidendahl, he stressed the economic need for media outlets to switch from analog equipment to digital.

The program is specialized in a vast number of fields. It covers radio and television facilities, cable television operations, specialty channels, post-production facilities, audiovisual systems, satellite distribution systems, aswell as a variety of other unique and highly specialized skills. Employment is readily available for installation and service technologists, systems integration engineers and field service technologists

Qualified Broadcast Engineering Technology graduates are in heavy demand today. If you possess a strong numerical sense and are keen on technology, then the broadcast engineering program is definitely for you! It offers students a wide range of technical skills as well as virtually guaranteeing employment after course completion. Companies all over the world are looking for qualified and skilled employees for their companies and establishments alike.

The demand for new broadcast engineers is increasing every day. With a large number of engineers retiring now and in the close future, many new openings have appeared in the industry. This is making the demand for skilled workers unnaturally high. With this lack of skilled workers, comes a raise in pay. Television stations, radio stations, and other media outlets are willing to shell out big dollars to have a skilled engineer on-call. Due to the industry’s lack of professionals, it is quite common for the business to provide broadcast engineering employees a company vehicle to ensure they are able to commute to work. With so many experienced engineers leaving the field, it has created a great opportunity for new graduates to fill their shoes.

The broadcast engineering technology program is divided into three areas of study: electronics, IT and dedicated broadcast systems. The program also aims to teach students a multitude of skills.  These include creating a strong independent work ethic, producing material on par with industry standards, learning to be flexible and adaptable as well as building cooperative working skills.

Later that day in the afternoon; I sat in with a math class taught by Mr. Brent Seres. The students involved in his lesson were all extremely engaged and clearly had a passion for mathematics and technology alike. While in the classroom, I realized that this program simply isn’t for me. The particular class was so heavily math based that I couldn’t see straight. The constant trigonometry, complex formulas and mosaic-like charts provided a stern feeling of discontent and uneasiness. The program bases itself heavily in computer code as well, which is a field I have limited interest and zero experience in.

There is a very limited creative freedom in the program, which is an element I need in my life. I realize the demand for broadcast engineers is incredibly high, and finding employment would be very easy but without an element of self-expression I wouldn’t feel rewarded. The heavy paycheck is also a large motivator but it cannot make up for the overt lack of expression. The program sees itself as media agnostic. Meaning it really has nothing to do with the content portrayed on the airwaves. It surrounds itself solely with the engineering and maintenance of the technology in the Broadcast field.

I am extremely grateful to have been given the opportunity to research and walk through the Broadcast Engineering Program. It allowed me to heavily investigate my prime prospect for next year. Through this investigation I realized that the BRET program would be a poor fit for my personality. It is clearly heavily rooted in arithmetic, which is one of my biggest weaknesses. After much consideration, I think it is in my best interest to not enroll in the Broadcast Engineering Technology program due to the many negative factors.

Warning: Extremely Volatile – A Facebook Page Review

Warning: Extremely Volatile – A Facebook Page Review

Breaking Bad is an Emmy Award winning television series aired on the American Movie Classics Network. The AMC network primary airs films but features a limited amount of original programming. These productions include critically acclaimed series like The Walking Dead, Mad Men and Hell on Wheels. The official web domain and Facebook page dedicated to the Breaking Bad series is exemplary by today’s social networking standards.

Breaking Bad primarily follows protagonist Walter White. White is a high school chemistry teacher living in the heart of New Mexico with his wife and two children. He is diagnosed with stage III lung cancer and given two years to live. White’s medical prognosis, along with his motivation to gain financial security for his family, lead him to the world of methamphetamine production. The series chronicles the journey of an ordinary man in this extraordinary situation.

AMC’s utilization of Facebook as a marketing and networking tool is absolutely outstanding. They effectively maintain a sense of community, and generate hype through the use of social media. Their Facebook page provides videos, interviews, photos, sneak peaks, summaries, forums, games, and longer descriptions involving the series. AMC is extremely dedicated to keeping the Breaking Bad fan base in touch with the characters, directors, and writers involved with the show. They consistently update their domain with new material surrounding the show. AMC also uses Facebook as tool to sway traffic from one page to another. Whether you are surfing ‘The Walking Dead’ or ‘Mad Man’ webpage, a ‘Breaking Bad’ link won’t be too far from you. This is an effective way to generate new viewership.

The American Movie Channel’s Facebook pages are all excellent examples of how to successfully employ the many opportunities social mediums have to offer. AMC possesses a substantial web presence and they have a firm understanding  of the benefits social networking has to offer. They continue to impress their followers with frequent, relevant, and free content.

Visit Breaking Bad’s Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/BreakingBad

Don’t think twice, it’s alright?

Managing ones online reputation can be a daunting task. Going out with colleagues, having a bit too much to drink, or having an opinion someone doesn’t agree with can now destroy an entire career, and/or degrade everything a person has ever worked to accomplish. Censorship and self-regulation is a strong part of any individual’s or business’s daily routine in our society of political correctness. If these entities expect to be successful, they must remain neutral and indifferent while using social networks and other mediums. Due to the potential backlash surrounding social media, it is completely understandable why people and companies alike are frightened of a negative online reputation.

The story of someone’s life being flipped upside down for the worse because of a poor decision on Facebook or Twitter has been told a thousand times. A person writes a contemptuous message about their job online, only to find that they have no job the next day because their employer has read the message. It can’t be stressed enough how important it is to recognize the content you are posting, and the intended and unintended effect it may have on your peers. The age of an anonymous internet is dead and what you post and write online follows you forever.

That being said, the obsession with reputation today is seen by some as a human fault. This paranoia by masses of people over how they are perceived by others can be incredibly destructive to the ego of any individual. Investing a great deal of thought and time into a project or opinion, and then having your audience or consumers reject it can destroy a person’s sense of self. This is especially true in the world today where one’s reputation can be can be lost without deserving, simply manufactured and often goes without merit.

Reputation management has been a part of society since the dawn of civilization. Whether it is right or wrong, people will judge you based on every single decision and action you make in life and there is no getting away from it, not even online. Opportunities can be squandered because of a foolish decision on the web. All in all, it can be said that people will get a more realistic and sincere online experience when people think twice about what they say.  Maybe Bob Dylan was wrong on this one folks.

Personal Branding

The timeless concept of personal branding describes how we market ourselves to the world around us.  Branding is becoming increasingly important to maintain relevance in the fast paced world of social media and business today.  It allows a person to market themselves to a specific demographic, provides a means of expression, and offers a medium to connect with like-minded entrepreneurs.

This year alone, each of us will be barraged with approximately 3300 emails.  Even more astounding, is that by the time a child reaches legal status today, they will have watched and listened to well over one million commercials.  With this disturbing lack of time, comes an increased importance in the process of personal branding.  Today individuals and businesses must lure in their demographics with creative, intriguing, and engaging material and productions.  Otherwise they will simply move onto something more attractive to their interests.

Each individual, business, and institution has its own personal brand and it follows us wherever we go.  Within five seconds of meeting someone, their opinion has changed about us eleven times.  This means that the future of our encounter could be sealed before even speaking a word.  Everything from the clothes we wear, to our body language, to the way we interact with other people is influencing our personal brand.  It is a collection of other people’s impressions of us.  This means that how we market ourselves, is far more significant than our own opinion, product, service, price, and intelligence.  However, these obviously play a role in the overall branding process.

When it comes to my own personal brand; it is incredibly difficult to illustrate.  Thinking of myself as a commodity rather than a human being makes my stomach turn.  That being said, I think my brand is subconsciously marketed to laid back, mellow, and honest people.  My blog tries to educate on American Delta blues music and it reviews social media outlets.  The blog prides itself on personal honesty, regardless of whether that honesty is politically correct, or socially acceptable.  With so much processed bubblegum bullshit in today’s world, the ‘Media, Melody and Man’ blog is a place for people to find refuge.

At the end of the day, people will purchase our ideas and personality, long before they`ll buy our merchandise or services.  Personal branding allows people and companies alike to make an emotional connection with their target audience.  With the networking capabilities offered in today’s society, it is now possible for small personal companies and multinational corporations alike to engage and reach out to their audience in dozens of unique fashions.    This recent metamorphosis has truly revolutionized the world of personal branding.

The Process and History of Terrazzo

For the sound story assigned to us, I chose to discuss the topic of Terrazzo flooring.  I chose this topic because I have an interest in the process and because my family has proud history in the industry.  My great grandfather started a Terrazzo and Tile business in 1936 after immigrating to Canada.

Terrazzo is a composite material poured into place, much like concrete, and then formed to the necessary specifications of the job, although in most cases it is used for flooring.  It typically consists of marble, quarts, glass, or granite in the form of small chips.  The chips are mixed in a basin, with either an epoxy or cement base for strength and flexibility.  After the Terrazzo mix has hardened in place, it is ground down to expose the chips.  It is ground several times with several different machines, each with a unique function and with various different grits on the grinding stones, a process that is quite specialized and time consuming.  After the grind, it is thoroughly cleaned, sealed and waxed to avoid staining of the freshly ground chips.

At the core of Terrazzo is sustainability.  It is much easier to refinish then to replace and can be resurfaced multiple times to its original luster.  Even Terrazzo floors hundreds of years old have needed little more than a surface refinishing to be restored to its former condition.  It is known to last as long as the building with proper maintenance and care.

Terrazzo has a strong and proud history still very rich in the Venetian Region of Italy.  The marble and various other materials used in the process were gathered from the scraps of upscale tile jobs by Venetian construction workers.  This was both an economically viable and environmentally friendly process for the labourers and masons in the area.  To bring out the shine in the floor, they were known to seal it with goat’s milk to preserve the luster, another very environmentally sustainable process.

For thousands of years the mixing and grinding process was done by hand with simple handheld tools, grinding stones and raw man power.  The grinding process was done without water to keep the dust from the air.  This unfortunately caused tile and terrazzo mechanics to have severe respiratory problems.  Thankfully, today the process is much safer with the advent of electricity and mechanized tools.