Written by Nathan Mattise
Some people call me a hipster when it comes to music. I like bands with names including an adverb, an adjective and a noun (Neutral Milk Hotel). I like bands you can find on Noggin (Dan Zanes). Despite my eclectic taste, I can’t stand Fall Out Boy.
For those unfamiliar with the musical travesty that is FoB, here’s the quick rundown. They make the type of punk-pop fusion loosely associated with mascara and middle school girls. Their lead guitarist self-released pictures of “lead guitarist jr.” over the internet. The best song I’ve heard from them was on a DDR soundtrack (the only reason I will designate it as “best” is because my residents played the game repeatedly until it was ingrained into my head against my will).
So in short, it pains me to say this, but I became a Fall Out Boy fan during the VMAs last week.
Pete Wentz and crew stuck their necks out for an organization called Invisible Children in front of millions upon millions at the VMAs. Normally I wouldn’t care about some band giving a shout out to some organization from their home town, except Invisible Children isn’t stationed in FoB country. They’re centered in LA and Uganda, and FoB is set on helping out in the latter.
Invisible Children is the brainchild of three Californian college students. They took a video camera and little else to Uganda after hearing about the terrible situation unfolding there. The country is caught in a civil war between the government and an insurgent organization called the Lord’s Resistance Army. The insurgency is led by (pardon my French, perhaps the sickest fuck on the planet) a man named Joseph Kony. Kony (in a short and likely inaccurate description) believes he is a spiritual leader who is destined to take the country in the name of the Lord. He’s done this by building a rebel army entirely made of children he’s abducted at a young age. He abducts them, mentally breaks them and then trains them in military tactics. It’s estimated he’s abducted 20,000 children since the rebellion began in 1987.
This is where the phrase Invisible Children comes into play. In order to avoid the torture and tragedy that comes with being abducted into the LRA, the children of Uganda (literal children, ages range from maybe 6 to 16) cannot stay at home with their parents on a nightly basis. They leave their homes daily, walking with their friends carrying sleeping bags over countless miles until they reach the main city in Uganda. Here they sleep in the streets together, hundreds of them, in an effort to avoid being abducted over night.
Take a look at the trailer for the upcoming movie if you want a more elegant retelling of the above paragraph. I don’t know about you, but it makes me sick to my stomach that this occurs anywhere in the world today.
As a college student, as a young person, as a citizen of the world… societal messages constantly telling me that we can change the world, we can be the change in the world, we can make a difference. The message is all well and good, but until you find something that can truly motivate you to realize that power, what good is it? It’s not often I get preachy in any rant I write, but with my entry into the real world less than a year away, it’s time to realistically think about what I can do. Right now it’s wearing a bracelet, spreading a message. But in May? The possibilities are endless.
(Links today via – Wikipedia, InvisibleChildren.com and YouTube)