I wonder how much of me is like Astroboy and how much Astroboy represents me?

I have no idea how this advocacy on Facebook started. But there was a campaign that took over the profile pictures of  its users. The campaign ends today. I was surprised last night that most of my friends have changed their profile pictures with cartoon characters from their childhood. I thought “what’s going with the users?” Offline, my cousin told me to check his profile.

I cropped and copied his shout out. So I thought, it was a campaign against child violence. I see that the campaign was able to cascade some awareness. How much of that comes  in measurable degrees, I could not tell. Numbers may speak of the weight or impact of the campaign. We can actually count how many changed their profile pics. Probably millions. The craze started Dec 2nd and ends today.

There is something wrong with this message that has been passed through from several FB users.

But after that, what? Understanding the message against child violence is clear. The impact as to the numbers of FB users who heeded the call could be statistically significant. So, what was the meaning of the act, and what does the cartoon character imply to the person and to the users?

First, the act of changing the profile pic is a demonstration of one’s awareness to what is going on in the online community. That there is indeed interaction going on in the network. That the network is not drifting into passivity or becoming too individualistic. That the network still holds a social influence among the community members. How does this activity translate into consciousness, that is different from being knowledgeable or having awareness?

How powerful is the cartoon media to hold up a child's imagination and attention?


Second, the action suggests that the message got through FB users rapidly appealing to the impulse rather than the consciousness. This implies how fast the network works as to the sharing knowledge and cultivating awareness. As to the question of consciousness, I regret to say that the campaign somehow fell short. If you are against child violence- change your profile picture.  How can that change the lives of child who is a victim of violence? To me, its like a simple poll, reflective of a problematic democratic process of dividing the house to avoid argument. It was like, something’s going on, there’s something new happening in FB, and you should not be left out. A propaganda using the bandwagon.

Third, the campaign is undebatable, but something simply logical to the very surface. Besides, the task was easy and personally appealing. We all have gone through childhood. We all love the memory of a happy childhood. Cartoon characters are what every child who were born at the time after the television was invented would dare love to relish their childhoods with icons. The campaign is iconoclastic, destracting our attention from something to another. Mystifying to shadow our consciousness from the realities of child violence and where social violence is coming from.

Unguided by an adult... what does the child learn from the boobtube?


I appreciate the effort. I like it because I got personally engaged in trying to find an icon I knew from my childhood. I committed to the act of changing my profile pic because the campaign does not deviate from my good nature. The most essential question I hunger for an answer is what do we do to solve the issue of violence against children? This was not answered by the campaign.

Looking back at the shout out that appeared on Facebook walls, it reads: “THIS IS FOR VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN”. Rethinking, I regret my action. I professed for something that is socially evil, and not supportive of children’s welfare after all. This I believe so because of the words written there. The shout out was copied by my cousin from his nephew, and my nephew copied it from someone’s wall, who copied it also from another’s. Retracing would help track who is the source of this campaign.

Images of anger, fighting and strenght... how much can a child understand the meaning of violence?


The campaign’s intent, immediately seemed noble and worthy. That is how most people probably understood it to be. Deconstructing the message, I felt fooled by a cunning evil mind. The only remission to the anger that I feel now is if the source would admit committing grammatical and syntactic error in calling out that message. That he should be able to justify why he said what said as to how he said it,

The first part of the message is an immediate call to action that prompts the reader to do something: “CHANGE YOUR FACEBOOK PROFILE PICTURE TO A CARTOON FROM YOUR CHILDHOOD”. This suggests a simple and ordinary act that FB users do. Moreso, it is fun and personally gratifying, especially if the user has not changed his profile pic for a while. The next part of the text reads: “INVITE YOUR FRIENDS TO DO THE SAME”. This pushes the reader to think that he is not one in the action, that this is indeed social. That there is power in number. Then the text reads: “UNTIL DEC. 6”. The deadline is motivating to be prompt in the action.

Further, the text reads: “THERE SHOULD BE NO HUMAN FACES IN FACE BOOK”. The use of
 the modal “should”  suggests intellegently and does not demand. But, it comes too strong. A face is an integral part of the human identity and not just physical body. A change of face is explicit of one’s control over identity, a power that is drawn from within. But how many of us did actually think why should change our human faces to something that is from fantasy. The message seem to imply a call to live our lives in fantasy rather than face the reality.

He must just be curious, but where did his interest in the gun come from?


The next part of the text relates to the evasion of one’s mind by an external source: “ONLY INVASION OF MEMORY” . I guess the campaign evaded not my memory but my individual capacity to think rationally and be mindful of my actions. The message was a traitor, like a hypnotic spell for me to go back to part of my life history. Indeed, the campaign succeeded in evading FB users mind, and the network was invaded with memories of childhood.

Now I argue, how much of these memories really made those who changed their profile pic conscious of violence done among children. The campaign was evasive to the unthinking and reason-defeating, that it turned the users interest back on cartoons, which prolonged exposure to them works like an opium to young children. It is a promotion of a fantasy and violent culture that is argued to affect children in some negative ways. A child can not differentiate what is fantasy from real at a certain years of his development. In the campaign, we got so engrossed with the entertaining memories of our childhood, but we failed to open our eyes on the reality of being desensitized to violence in our society, be it to children, women and any one else.

The last part of the text, which was most shocking to me is that: “THIS IS FOR VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN”. Remember the kid in the United States who was fascinated with ROBOCOP? That kid shot someone dead using his father’s gun. Remember kids model and fight the way cartoon heroes do. Remember that prolonged watching cartoon takes away physical activity and devoid a child of quality time to learn and play. Remember that watching TV takes away a child’s interest from doing what he should do. PAY ATTENTION, to the message that you read, BEFORE YOU ACT. The message reads, that the campaign is for – violence against children. Taking from the text, for the context was really ambiguous, and the source indeterminable, the campaign promotes VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN.

Tsk! Tsk! Could Astroboy find the trouble maker and bring him to justice?

  1. skysenshi says:

    A few instances do not necessarily equate causality. I liked retracing my childhood, including the pains that went along with it. I didn’t have a happy childhood…there were forces outside of my parents’ control and the violence was triggered by their absence (the yayas would hit me with a belt buckle, claw at me, etc. then tell my mother that I fell while playing…I also had to deal with their manyak kids). I dealt with it through escapism…which included locking myself up in my room, immersed in fiction and fantasy (these included cartoons).

    The Facebook meme was fun and I don’t regret doing it, for whatever reason. It reminded me of where I came from and allows me to look forward to where I am headed.

  2. rod rivera says:

    I honestly found the meme was cool and socially proactive. I also believe that reliving or reveling on our fantasy worlds can help us see a glimmer of hope, as these creations constructs for as reality or hyperreality that we can hope for.

    I am not also sure about how true was that pedophiles were behind it. But there is a danger in putting a tint on the glass house. The memes as you call are images that could hide the pervs in cloaks. Then again, similar to your idea, a few instances could not mean causality. I hope that with this fun thing others had experienced the same impact as it did to you. How many groups committed to children’s welfare have benefited from this? After that shot of fancy awareness, what comes next? Or shall we later see a surge in viewership of cartoon shows and increased sale in toys that represent cartoon icons? Capitalism could be a suspect?

    I had to admit I responded to a perverted message, and that perverted message crawled in the internet. While I checked the global posts in facebook, I could not trace the original message. But I sure others got correctly structured message with the same meaning I understood– FIGHT CHILD ABUSE, FIGHT VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN.

    I must have assumed too fast, but the evidenced snippet I got would be interpreted the same way as I did.

    Thanks Bea, now I understand you more. 🙂

    • skysenshi says:

      I might have to agree with you regarding capitalism being a suspect. There are so many factors at play that fascinate researchers like us. The impacts on each individual are so diverse, we practically don’t know where to start. But I like how you framed this blog, especially when you used again that photo of the kid with the gun.

  3. skysenshi says:

    Oh, btw…this is one other reason why we shouldn’t always be skeptical about online advocacy: http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20101207/sc_livescience/childrenscharitiesbenefitfrommysteriousfacebooktrend

    A charity benefited from it. 🙂

  4. […] Regrettable Invasion of Memories on FB December 2010 5 comments 5 […]

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