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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21, 2012
MANAGING EDITOR: Leah Spagnoli - 815.753.9643
KONY inspires thoughtful conversation in youths
Eric Lee | Northern Star
What’s with this music?
touch that. Also, compare that to the record holder for most albums sold in a week (N’Sync’s No Strings Attached ) at 2.42 million in the year 2000; she didn’t even come close. Since these are the only genres that yield record sales worthwhile to major labels, other genres, particularly all forms of rock, have taken a major hit. Granted, wellestablished rock acts like Green Day, Pearl Jam and The Offspring continue to make records and sell reasonably well, but truly good new rock music has become a rare occurrence. The last awesome rock album that came out was Rise Against’s ﬁ fth album release Appeal To Reason. That album pumped out truly amazing songs such as “Savior” and “Audience of One” that were huge hits on the rock charts, and it was Rise Against’s most commercially successful album until the release of Endgame in 2011. However, Appeal to Reason was released in 2008 and is still 450,000 copies short of going platinum (1,000,000 copies sold), something a band like Limp Bizkit was able to do with their sophomore album Signiﬁcant Other six times back in 1999 and 2000. The commercial streamlining of music has also stiﬂed creativity, and every new pop hit is a clone of the last. Almost all pop music today consists of the same dance beat and hooks that are repeated way too many times. Just because a melody gets in your head easily doesn’t mean you’re going to be happy about it. Where did the good, thought out and best selling music go?
The music industry has certainly changed over the past 15 years, and not at all for the better. The advancements of technology have allowed digital distribution to expand exponentially, in particular illegal downloading, and it has caused actual record sales to plummet signiﬁcantly. Just 10 years ago, it took millions of album sales to reach No. 1 on the Billboard records sales charts. These days, moving a few hundred thousand units in your ﬁ rst week of sales is enough to get you to No. 1. One of the major effects of illegal downloading is a narrowing of the playing ﬁeld of music genres that are commercially successful. The remaining three genres that still actually turn a proﬁt are Rap/Hip-Hop (Drake, Lil’ Wayne), Country (Lady Antebellum) and Pop (Lady Gaga, Adele). And even someone as popular as those artists mentioned are now, his or her level of popularity in the late ‘90s and early 2000s would have yielded up to three times as many record sales. It’s difﬁcult to argue that Lady Gaga is not the biggest music artist of any genre right now. Her second fulllength album, Born This Way, sold 1.11 million copies in it’s ﬁ rst week. That seems pretty good, but she’s the only artist these days that can even
Whether you support Invisible Children or criticize their business practices, you can’t deny the recent video’s, “KONY 2012”, viral success. In just two weeks, their YouTube video reached over eight million views and collected 1.3 million likes from viewers. Packed with an empathetic message, critically acclaimed production value and an inspiring call to action to arrest Joseph Kony, Invisible Children succeeded in garnering media attention for its cause. What’s even more exciting about “KONY 2012” is the trend of youth involvement (or interest) in government and politics. Of course it’s a far cry from an 18 year old running for local or national ofﬁce, but it is at least a crack at breaking down young American’s political apathy. In just two weeks, the video managed to build a strong Internet presence. On YouTube, featured videos’ top comments were related to the “KONY 2012” video. On Twitter, not only was it the number one trending topic, it also gained the support from major celebrity ﬁgures. Singer Justin Beiber retweeted to his 18 million followers, “#Kony2012 is number 1 trending topic on Twitter worldwide!! See why… It might change ur life.” Entertainment mogul Oprah Winfrey tweeted to her 10 million followers, “Thanks tweeps for
Courtesy of Invisblechildren.com
sending me info about ending #LRAviolence. I am aware. Have supported with $’s and voice and will not stop. #KONY2012.” A mention from Oprah alone is enough to get any bandwagon’s wheels rolling, but just as quickly as the video gained steam; it fell under ﬁre from Internet critics. Like any other hot topic, the media’s spotlight can and will expose imperfection. Many viewers expressed concern over where their donations were going, oversimplifying a complex issue and the accuracy of their claims about Uganda. Invisible Children has since issued a statement in response to those criticisms. So, did this backlash do any major harm? Not at all. In fact, the immense amount of criticism may have helped the cause even more. Buying a bracelet and action kit from Invisible Children won’t end any wars, but that was never its aim. These items were tools for social awareness (if Twitter, Facebook and YouTube weren’t enough), and with people questioning the credibility of the
organization, many more people have independently researched the issue for a better understanding. Moreover, younger people are looking deeper into the issue. Something teenagers would’ve considered, “too boring to be concerned with” is now a topic of conversation. Where do Invisible Children, supporters, critics and interested viewers go from here? I encourage everyone to follow the saying “sunlight is the best disinfectant.” Invisible Children should also continue to address any misconceptions and misunderstandings it has caused. As far as the inspired youths of today looking to give Kony a piece of their minds, I encourage you to continue to research and spread the information you learned about Uganda. I‘m looking forward to seeing the wave of political and social issues that will follow Invisible Children’s suit. Like “KONY 2012” creator, Jason Russell said, “we’re not just studying human history, we’re shaping it.”
Eulogy for a dear childhood friend, AIM
The Daily Reveille, Louisiana State U. via UWIRE
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A piece of my childhood died last week. I used to spend hours pecking furiously at the keyboard, chimes ringing back and forth as hours raced by while I communicated with my friends in an amazing new way — over the Internet. AOL Instant Messenger became a gateway for a new enterprise of communication. It was texting before texting. It was social networking before social networking. It was revolutionary for its time. Last week, The New York Times reported AOL would be closing the doors to its West Coast ofﬁces, notifying roughly 40 employees they would be out of a job by the end of the month. While some may scoff at my dismay for the termination of the once-great instant messenger, if you think about it, AIM inﬂuenced much
of the way we use the Internet today. Back before texting and smartphones ruled the world, online instant messengers were the only way to quickly communicate with another person beside picking up the phone. AIM users could also customize their font size, color and background, giving them the ﬁrst opportunity to have their own online persona. People were ﬁnally able to freely express who they were on the Internet. AIM also led to sites like My Buddy Proﬁle, where users were able to customize a proﬁle with activities, likes/dislikes, quotes and anything else they wanted people to check out. Sound familiar? I’m not saying Mark Zuckerberg got the idea to create Facebook directly from AOL, but shortly after My Buddy Proﬁle arose, Friendster became big. After Friendster there
was MySpace. And we all know that after MySpace died, Facebook took over our lives. Texting was the leading cause of AIM’s downfall. Why sit on a computer all day waiting for someone to sign on when a quick text could do the same thing? Before it goes away forever, I encourage everyone to sign into your AIM proﬁle one last time. Hell, if someone is actually online, send them an IM and see what happens. While certainly outdated in this day and age, it’s sad to see something once so popular and widely used become discarded as nothing but a piece of technological history. As you sign onto Facebook or send someone a text message, remember that none of this would be possible without the existence of AOL Instant Messenger. Rest in Peace, AIM.
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