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The Perfect Cheer: Adult Supervision Revisited (WOO!!!)

April 22, 2009

If the following YouTube video is what “more adult supervision” of the Save Darfur movement gets you…stop…turn…and run immediately and at full speed in the opposite direction. DO NOT LOOK BACK.

Okay…

ARE you ready?

Are YOU ready?

Are you READY?

It’s been a long, loong, looong time since I’ve seen the staff of a multimillion dollar advocacy organization (or, for that matter, a middle school cheerleading squad) engage in such a sophomoric, amateurish stunt. Jeez, Citizen Fowler, memorize your lines or, at a minimum, pretend you’re not reading directly from the sheet of paper in front of you!

In case you missed it, here’s the transcript:

Fowler: Are we ready?

SDC Staff: Yes.

Fowler: Are we ready?

SDC Staff: Yes!

Fowler: Who are we talking to?

SDC Staff: President Obama.

Fowler President Obama!

SDC Staf: President Obama!

Fowler: End the Darfur genocide.

SDC Staff: End the Darfur genocide.

Fowler: END the Darfur genocide.

SDC Staff: END the Darfur genocide!

Fowler: End the DARFUR genocide.

SDC Staff: End the DARFUR genocide!

Fowler: Do we want peace?

SDC Staff: Yes.

Fowler: Do we want peace?!

SDC Staff: Yes!

Fowler: Do we want protection?

SDC Staff: Yes.

Fowler: Do we want protection?

SDC Staff: Yes!

Fowler: Do we want justice?

SDC Staff: Yes!

Fowler: Do we want JUSTICE?

SDC Staff: Yes!

Fowler: Peace.

SDC Staff: Peace!

Fowler: Protection.

SDC Staff: Protection!

Fowler: Justice.

SDC Staff: Justice!

Fowler: When do we want it?

SDC Staff: Now.

Fowler: WHEN do we want it?

SDC Staff: Now!

Fowler: WHEN do we want it?

SDC Staff: Now!

Fowler: Can President Obama do more?

SDC Staff: Yes he can!

Fowler: Can he do more?!

SDC Staff: Yes he can!

Fowler: Yes he can!

SDC Staff: Yes he can!

Fowler: Yes he can!

SDC Staff: Yes he can!

Fowler: We are SAVE Darfur.

SDC Staff: We are Save Darfur!

Fowler: And we are VOICES for Darfur.

SDC Staff: And we are VOICES for Darfur!

Fowler: We are SAVE Darfur.

SDC Staff: We are Save Darfur!

Fowler: And we are voices for Darfur.

SDC Staff: And we are voices for Darfur!

Fowler: Thank you for coming out today. And let’s keep the pressure on and see this thing through!

SDC Staff: WOO!!!

[Fowler and SDC Staff erupt into wild self-applause.]

“Thank you for coming out today”? If I came out today for this, I’d be apoplectic.

This…this…”video” is yet another example of poorly conceptualized and executed “advocacy” by the Save Darfur Coalition. Did SDC even have a clear objective in mind when they developed this “tactic”? As an activist, what am I being asked/encouraged to do? “See this thing through”? For that matter, what can President Obama do? “More”? Or was the goal simply to “look busy”? Or maybe to recruit more young people into the movement? Because there’s nothing like old-school kinda-call-and response on an out-of-focus YouTube video to impress the young folks. And why not at least focus the camera? Was the director striving for a grittier, unfinished indie film feel? Or was it to hide the identities of embarrassed professionals? I’m guessing it’s the latter.

Here’s a heartfelt request: Dear Save Darfur Coalition, please step away from the trendy technology (you know…the Google, the Twitter, the Facebook, etc.) and get back to the far less glamorous hard work of advocacy…and please, oh please…keep Mr. Fowler from mugging for the camera (no matter how dangerous that might be to your health) and leading the perfect cheer for Darfur. And just in case you need some extra motivation, I’ll lead you in our own lil’ call n’ response. Okay? Here we go…

Me: Are we ready?

You: Yes.

Me: Are we ready?

You: Yes!

Me: Who are we talking to?

You: Jerry Fowler.

Me: Jerry Fowler!

You: Jerry Fowler!

Me: End the Save Darfur buffoonery.

You: End the Save Darfur buffoonery.

Me: END the Save Darfur buffoonery.

You: END the Save Darfur buffoonery!

Me: End the Save DARFUR buffoonery.

You: End the Save DARFUR buffoonery!

Me: Do we want effective advocacy?

You: Yes.

Me: Do we want effective advocacy?!

You: Yes!

Me: Do we want increased accountability?

You: Yes.

Me: Do we want increased accountability?

You: Yes!

Me: Do we want professionalism?

You: Yes!

Me: Do we want PROFESSIONALISM?

You: Yes!

Me: Effective advocacy.

You: Effective advocacy!

Me: Increased accountability.

You: Increased accountability!

Me: Professionalism.

You: Professionalism!

Me: When do we want it?

You: Now.

Me: WHEN do we want it?

You: Now!

Me: WHEN do we want it?

You: Now!

Me: Can Jerry Fowler do more?

You: Yes he can!

Me: Can he do more?!

You: Yes he can!

Me: Yes he can!

You: Yes he can!

Me: Yes he can!

You: Yes he can!

Me: We are Darfur activists.

You: We are Darfur activists!

Me: And we are VOICES for Darfur.

You: And we are VOICES for Darfur!

Me: We are Darfur activists.

You: We are Darfur activists!

Me: And we are voices for Darfur.

You: And we are voices for Darfur!

Me: Thank you for coming out today. And let’s keep the pressure on and see this thing through!

You: WOO!!!

[We erupt into wild self-applause.]

Here’s to hoping we never suffer through something like this again…

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