Friday, March 9, 2012

The Weekend is Within my Grasp

. . . but I'm not sure it's gonna be any more relaxing than this past week.  We've got a lot on tap for the weekend, and I'm still not healed from my vicious flu/virus/whatever-it-was of March 2012.  The fever's gone, but my cough is epic and it's incited a mighty sore throat.  Wouldn't it be nice if the world just kinda stopped when we were sick, so that we could get better on our own time?  Yeah . . .

I did take two days this week off (Monday and Wednesday).  After being out on Monday miserable with fever, I decided to take some medicine and rally on Tuesday . . . which was a terrible idea.  I got to school to find this note from my substitute:

which made me frustrated and sad, and frankly, I was in no shape to be at work anyway (my fever was 100.6 at the time).  So despite my students' lack of success with substitutes, I called in sick again on Wednesday, which was a really good thing since my temperature was back up to 101 by Tuesday night. Ugh.  Here's a funny conversation that happened while I was attempting to teach class on Tuesday:

student: Ms. Kiefer, why aren't you wearing any makeup?
me: I feel terrible and I have a fever; makeup is the least of my concerns.
student: Put on some makeup.


I had time to do two noteworthy things while I was home sick: 1. Watch the movie version of The Help and 2. Read all about the controversy that is KONY 2012.  I'm sure most of you know all about it by now, but just in case you don't, here's the run down:

Invisible Children released this video in the hopes of raising awareness about African war criminal Joseph Kony, who has abducted tens of thousands of children and turns them into sex slaves and child soldiers:


When I first saw the video, I thought: "what an incredibly powerful film, and what an inspiring use of social media to get people riled up about an unthinkable injustice."  The film really is well-done.  It's convincing, engaging, and a good mix of the personal and the political.

But immediately after, I started to see all the backlash: the articles accusing Invisible Children of misrepresenting the situation, the groups pointing out that Invisible Children is partnering with the terribly corrupt Ugandan Army, the financial accusations that Invisible Children, a nonprofit, has spent millions on travel and film-making as opposed to direct relief.

1. Here's a critique of the KONY 2012 movement by Michael Deibert.
2. Here's a response from a Ugandan man that I found to be particularly good.
3. Here's the tumblr site dedicated to providing alternatives.
4. An article from The Atlantic.
5. And Invisible Children's response.

So what do you think about all this?  I'm still soaking it all in and considering the different perspectives.  Ultimately, I think the awareness resulting from IC's KONY 2012 video campaign is pretty tremendous, but a lot of the criticism resounds with me.  Social/political action is a seriously complicated issue, huh?

Happy Friday.  And let me know your thoughts on KONY 2012--I'd love to hear!


Dee Stephens said...

Hope you feel better! That sucks about your students!
and, your TA!
I haven't read much about KONY. So negative.

undomestic chica said...

I KNEW you would have something to say about Kony. Love it. I've read a bit about the criticism but haven't even watched the video yet. I personally probably would donate to IC, but I do commend the video for bringing attention to a horrific situation that many people might not know about otherwise.

Leeann @ Join the Gossip said...

Honestly, I have to look into the whole KONY situation. I don't think it's wise for anyone to just believe anything they see online, especially if it's so mass and just keeps spreading. It's important to research - so thank you for these links!

You poor thing! I can't believe you're still sick. You must have that horrible virus that lasts FOREVER :(

TracyZLesh @ Then I Got To Thinking said...

Your sub seems a little negative... not a fun thing to deal with when you're sick!!! ugh!

As far as Kony - I am in the same position as you. I agree with the heart of the issue, but not so sure I agree with the whole organization. It's an interesting argument from the other side.

I hope you're feeling better - yay for the weekend!

drollgirl said...

ACK! i hope you are all better soon!

and that student's comment?! lol. how horrible.

i am not sure what to think about this KONY 2012 thing. it is very complicated!

Matthew Snope said...

Aint been following the KONY deal but the accusation about money going to filmmaking over direct action seems quite petty and absurd. If filmmaking brings more people to the issue, that brings more awareness, $ relief. Most nonprofits are quite efficient in having most donation $ go to where it directly impacts who it seeks to help. Can you imagine corporations doing this? The mentality of nonprofits is directly opposite of corporate, profit-minded, for-profits.

Meghan said...

I hope you are feeling better, Claire! I definitely need to read more about KONY, but one thing I DO find pretty amazing is the power of social networking - all of my students saw the video on Twitter and were abuzz about it last week!

SSS said...

I'm sorry to hear you aren't feeling much better. I'm a lover of the cherry Chloraseptic spray for sore throats (the green tastes like a slow, licorice death). Cough is usually the end sign, so I hope you're in the home stretch!

As for Kony, while I absolutely do not deny the atrocity of it all, I kind of see all of this "making [him] famous" business a bit like those cryptic Facebook statuses that say, "I like it on the coffee table," to raise breast cancer awareness, only on a much bigger scale. Sure, all of this "Kony 2012!" brings about awareness, but then what? All of these people perpetuating his celebrity aren't also writing their Congressmen, I am certain. So he's been made famous for what? For someone ELSE to do something? It really does feel very "icky" and just seems very Savior Complex-esque. Of course, I hope he is brought to justice, but I hate the feeling that America is here to save everyone, when we hardly have it together.

Deidre said...

I have not yet watched it - nor have I spent too much time looking at the backlash .. I hope to soon.

Jax said...

I hope you're feeling 100% soon! While the note from the sub is frustrating, it's also a little comical.. My mom is a teacher in a less-than-desirable area of town and she says taking off is hell b/c her students terrorize the substitutes...haha... Sheez. You teachers really need to make more money. A LOT more money. *sigh*

I did the SAME thing with the Kony vid. I even posted it on fbook..but then immediately took it down upon reading an article about the backlash. I was torn...and still am actually.

Kristen said...

1. I have been up in the northwoods for the past week which is like living under a rock so I haven't heard of this... I need to find time (good luck!!) to read more about this.
2. Ugh to your fever and being sick. I am sending virtual chicken soup your way. Sick blows. Period. No mincing words. And so sad about that note from your sub.
3. Make up convo with the student? Kinda hysterical.. what atttitude from that child!!! I NEVER wear make up these days. No time, don't care, doesn't seem to matter, I have a million excuses. I am so glad I live far away from your make-up encouraging student!!! I can't imagine what he/she would have to say to my mug in the morning!

Marz said...

Seeing that note from your substitute confirms to me what an AMAZING, patient and passionate teacher you are!!! To deal with your student's shenanigans every day (the make up comment made me laugh! kids say the darndest things!!!) and still enjoy coming into the classroom - those kiddos are lucky!!! :) I hope you're feeling better now Claire! Some of my co-workers were hit with that same flu/virus and I was so happy not to get it - especially while Micaela was in town! What a trooper to try and work on Tuesday even with a fever!

What did you think of the movie version of The Help?? I looooooved it! But I never read the book, so I'm interested to see how you thought they compared. Such a powerful movie!

I love you presented every angle of KONY. You are a teacher - I learn things from you all the time!!

Miss and love you!!! xo

melifaif said...

Do subs always leave feedback letters??? lol. Anyway - hope you get better soon. AND...and am like you re: KONY 2012 issue at hand. Great to bring light on a crazy mass murderer and evil doer...but it sure does make me go hmmmmmm?????

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

I'm still torn on Kony. I saw the people who made the video in an interview and that cleared some of my questions up. I didn't know till the interview that it was filmed and their information was compiled over about 10 years.