Kony Island: why Jason Russell should have read the Fountainhead

Oprah’s post mortem segment with Jason Russell, creator and propagator of the video Kony 2012, the 80 million viral phenomenon, was more amusing than deep.

A few hours after Kony went viral, numerous critics latched onto Jason like starving dogs on kobe beef with quotes such as “There’s a special place in hell for people like Jason”. OUCH.

Consequently, Jason had a nervous breakdown and decided what better way to vent than running through his neighorhood ranting and yelling….in his birthday suit. He was hospitalized by friends and family shortly after the paparazzi got him on tape.

The interview went something like this:

Op:  Wow, we all know how much the public hated you for awhile there, like wow, hide yo wife, hide your kids…*understanding smile*… how are you?

Jas:  I feel like I’m in a much better place now.

Op: Suuuuure… *winks*…are you gay? Were you masturbating in the middle of sunny suburbia?

Jas:  TMZ didn’t catch that on tape *stares at the camera nervously* right?


Have you spent your adult life working with terrified children who preferred death over encountering Kony and his army?

And, just when the world finally realizes Kony Island is a real and terrible place, half of them decide that not only is your organization a fraud, your personal ethics are horrific.

I mean, what kind of parent could possibly film their kids, not just for pageants, but to educate them about real bad guys like Kony?! Vile vile human being.

Jokes aside, for all intents and purposes, the video ACHIEVED its goal. After watching, if you don’t think Kony needs to be brought in or taken down, you can stop reading now. And seek psychological help immediately.

Jason’s son captured your heart. Jacob captured your soul. Kony captured your outrage.

“MAN’S PROGRESS IS THE FOUNTAINHEAD OF EGO”-Ayn Rand, author of The Fountainhead

At the end of the interview, Oprah concludes, “Jason lost himself in the ego and his ego came crashing down”.

Not surprisingly, Oprah, and most of society, portray ego as a terrible sin, an impediment that should be dialed down whenever possible.

This is an extremely limiting perception of ego. Until I read the Fountainhead, I didn’t see it from the other side. 

“The first right on earth is the right of the ego. Man’s first duty is to himself. His moral law is never to place his prime goal within the persons of others. His moral obligation is to do what he wishes, provided his wish does not depend primarily upon other men. This includes the whole sphere of his creative faculty, his thinking, his work. ”

She interprets ego as a necessary truth, not evil; it should be defined as an individual’s revelation in their own achievements, without any need for approval.

Without ego, do you think Oprah would have started her OWN network ? In fact, she could’ve been more aware of her power prior to this venture, her network lost millions of dollars because it turns out that other shows, which don’t feature Oprah, just don’t interest the audience. These shows are missing the key attraction, the queen of talk herself; people want to dine with the queen, not her cronies. Rosie O’Donnell, you’re FI-YERD.

Getting back to the Kony aftermath, I’d argue that Oprah was wrong about Jason Russell. Jason did not lose himself in his ego, or have an excess of it, instead, he failed to embrace, and understand it fully.

If he embraced his ego, he would have held onto his reason, his individuality, his bad-ass creator self no matter what kind of feedback was received. What he did instead is rely on the accolades, the tweets, the validation. He failed to protect his ego from what Rand calls second-handers, the type of people who “…were made to destroy the ego, themselves and others…to destroy the creators. Or to harness them”. Jason Russell was the Stephen Mallory of the Kony Saga, he just aimed the gun at his own head.



A Technews article notes:  “While the video was a huge catalyst, ‘Kony 2012’ was not an overnight success,” said Scott Chisholm, CEO of StayClassy, another longtime player on the Invisible Children team.

“This success happened over five years, with the last two years spent making sure each campaign feeds the next…before the video was made, thousands of young people were on standby, ready to click, like, retweet and otherwise promote it.”

What Invisible Children did well was capitalize on the Google philosophy: tap into communities which already exist…organize it better. The video went viral because they spent years spreading their message within these communities.


Here’s a K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid) from Ben Keesey, CEO of Invisible Children

Are YOU convinced?


According to Ms Bigombe, Kony himself predicted how the war would end: “He would tell me, I know exactly how I am going to die. I am going to die like Hitler. One day people will wake up and find that I have been dead for some time.”

P.S. Not if we Osama Bin Laden your ass first.


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