A slick and captivating documentary has been spreading wildly on Facebook within the last week. This video, KONY 2012, centers on war criminal and mass murderer Joseph Kony, who is the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, and there is no doubt that this is a very bad guy. However, there’s something off and misplaced in the newly-found outrage among Facebookers.
First, a very brief item about Kony and the LRA, since people who have seen the video are no doubt familiar with the LRA leader by now. The LRA has been abducting children, murdering and raping its way around Uganda since 1986. The LRA has no identifiable ideology or purpose other than to maintain the power of Joseph Kony.
In the aftermath of September 11th and the ramping up of the “War on Terrorism,” the United States has paid special attention in trying to put an end to Kony’s rampage. The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for Kony and other members of the Lord’s Resistance Army. The United Nations has launched covert operations to capture or kill Kony. The Obama Administration has made capturing Kony a priority, when Obama deployed 100 advisors to aid African governments in apprehending Kony. All of these facts are stated in the video.
The United States and the world government has not exactly been laying down on the job, yet the video asserts that if everyone in the world knew who Joseph Kony was then he would have been arrested by now. Continuously, the video asserts that its main point is to move people to action. What action, exactly? The action, the video says, is to ultimately provide technology, arms and assistance to the Ugandan Army.
In recent decades, American leftist groups have concentrated on organizing city-based constituents: urban communities of color, urban working class whites and college students. This falls in line with areas that the Left has usually organized, and it has been successful to varying degrees; however, there is a noticeable lack of trying to organize rural workers, farmers and the like.
This lack of organization is for a variety of reasons, which are important but not as important as the consequence. The consequence being: rural communities ignored by the left have allowed right-wing organizers to come in and take advantage of rural commitment to their church, family values and rural lifestyle. Due to this, rural communities and small towns are frequently the political targets of culture battles. The most recent example of this culture battle in the news comes from Ohio, where a small town (Uniopolis, Ohio) faces disincorporation due to budget cuts.
(Make no mistake that budget cuts are a culture war right now. Programs are being cut because of the perception that programs meant to help poor people are wasteful, while tax breaks for the rich are helpful. As Warren Buffet made clear, “there’s been class warfare going on for the last 20 years, and my class has won.”)
Due to the success of “No Country for Old Men” and “The Road,” Cormac McCarthy has become a hot commodity in Hollywood as of late. It’s a success that’s been building up for quite some time. From the 1960s to the early 1990s, his books were oft read and discussed by academics and hardcore lit fic readers, but that was really it. Then he published “All The Pretty Horses” and he became a famous commercial author. Then Hollywood made three of his books into movies, all with varying degrees of success. Now, McCarthy has recently sold a script that is now being produced by Ridley Scott. This is the first time a script of his has been used since 1976’s “The Gardener’s Son,” which was shot for PBS.
Popular success has brought renewed interest in his older, denser books. “Blood Meridian” has been a victim of development hell for at least a decade, with no current plans to go through with the movie version. “Outer Dark” was made by a small indie production company, but it isn’t currently available for public consumption.
Part (or perhaps most) of the reason that “Blood Meridian” isn’t sweeping the Oscars right now is because it isn’t necessarily Oscar material, and it could be argued that it’d be hard to get it in theaters – even for audiences who have gone through the ultraviolent ringer with Quentin Tarantino and, earlier yet, Sam Peckinpah.
The debate about a “Blood Meridian” movie is epic. There are countless arguments for and against making the movie and, at this point, it’s almost like beating a dead mule. For the time being, I’m going to leave that alone and explore his other stories, except to say that I think “Blood Meridian” would be an impossible feat for a two hour movie, though I’d be more willing to root for a mini-series on HBO or Showtime. There: that’s my contribution to the dead-mule-kicking.