I went on my first tour of the Salton Sea after a lifetime in the Valley, read some anti-KONY 2012 material and ended the day with a scrumptious Doritos Locos Taco Supreme.
Yet all I can think about in the afterglow is how much I hate mimes. What are mimes, really, but French clowns? And, through pop culture and rhetoric, our society has been programmed to abhor the French and fear clowns.
Mimes are a one-stop shop of dislike, a convenient target for my hate, with their fruity berets and smug silence.
On closer reflection, though, a mime reminds me of a life lived in “mental slavery,” as Bob Marley describes it, a worldview confined to four bedroom walls, your personal space or the obligatory mime-built box.
Stereotypes, clichés, groupthink, viral campaigns. All of those are limiting, like your grandmother’s lime green polyester pantsuit, tight and unyielding, ready to burst at the crotch seam the minute she sits.
The Doritos taco, and anything concocted in the Taco Bell labs for that matter, does not exist in nature. It’s an unholy union of processed foodstuffs, pink slime and bong-fueled stoner science made real — hence the idea that a Dorito belongs around a taco. Duh.
Still, we know it’s bad for us, because the socially responsible machinery tells us the Doritos Locos Taco Supreme is what is wrong with America, it’s why a third of us are obese. The responsible use of Taco Bell, however, does not spell the end of humanity and will not immediately raise your insurance premiums.
That’s the damage of groupthink, perspectives based along ideological lines that are easy on the conscience yet hard on the brain and unfriendly to the herd.
KONY 2012 was a prime example of the power of mass marketing to mislead and rally earnest hipsters who got a social conscience through social media.
I don’t need to rehash KONY 2012, because as of Thursday morning, 79,131,257 people have watched the 30-minute viral video on YouTube. But it’s brilliant because it packaged a cause that did not need complicated thinking.
The unspoken subtext to the KONY2012 movement is much more disturbing, and not just because of the evangelical agenda, the money being made by the organization, or the fact that Ugandans are offended by the campaign.
My trouble is the lack of understanding on more complex issues that affect us at home, issues that exist outside of Facebook or the “Colbert Report.” KONY2012 banks on a limited worldview, and when a 20-something can’t understand why they have Occupy anger or who the Koch Brothers are, a pithy quip on Comedy Central or their own status update is not going to get the job done.
I’m arguably guilty of that very thing, riffing on the inanity of Taco Bell and mimes. But the fact is, we are bankrupt of the power to make a difference because we get sidetracked in easily digestible causes and parentheticals. We lack the knowledge to understand what is swirling around us, only swatting at the gnat when it passes directly in front of our noses. Many of us, that is.
Thankfully, I’m not alone in the realization that I exist on a plane where my field of vision has been severely obscured by blinders, confined to a box that limits the possibilities. I am slowly learning that anything can be achieved and understood if I’m merely open to the experience, thoughtful in the reflection and averse to running with the pack simply because it’s the softer, easier path.
Just as I find myself being more open to new experiences and new perspectives — my first trip to the Salton Sea falls in that realm — I see effort by others, too.
The positive in KONY2012 has been the groundswell to find the truth, debunk the myths and bring down the herd mentality the campaign’s creators believed was beyond scrutiny.
Expansion is possible on many fronts, but one: I still hate mimes. They’re just plain creepy.