Of course, there are many people who actually care about these issues, devoting their actual time, efforts, and resources to their cause of choice for an honest-to-their-deity attempt at its permanent advancement. You might not be one of those people. Instead, you may latch onto whatever topic is being popularly discussed at the moment and focus on it with all the intensity of a lifelong crusade…that is, until the next one comes up. It’s a more common practice than you’d think…proof, in light of recent events, is available on your friendsite of choice.
You may believe that exploiting social issues and other important goings-on for cheap thrills such as social networking approval and other unimportant goings-on is a somewhat distasteful thing to do, something only a prolific sycophant or a fuckin’ douchebag might consider as a means of garnering attention. (We may believe the same thing in that case.) Then again, you may not and just want the same cool t-shirt the people who give a consistent fuck get to wear. This one’s for you…here’s “Inactivism: A Field Guide to Posing Against the Machine”.
Step 1- Find a cause. It doesn’t matter what it is, whether it actually affects you or not, or whether there are similar and equally, if not more important issues closer to your home than you like to think about. It just has to be discussed a lot right now. As I mentioned before, there’s plenty to choose from. There’s always an illness or an evil dictator to go all Two-Minutes’-Hate on. Anything involving race usually makes waves…make sure you’re one of the first web surfers you know on it. Point is, you get to choose your own bandwagon ticket, so pick a trending tribulation and go for it.
Step 2- Don’t educate yourself too much. Otherwise, you might find out what you’re talking about and develop your own opinion. You don’t want that…there’s a chance you might disagree with most other people and you won’t be as popular. As you likely have a personality that most people like a lot more as long as you say what they say and nothing else, that’s not a gamble you’re in a position to take.
Instead, find out just enough about the topic to make a broad but easy-to-digest generalization about it, maybe draw a vague parallel to something that’s kinda like it and also bad in the opinion of many people. Perhaps learn and repeat a cute little slogan…that’s an easy way to get a few likes. Hell, even if you don’t know a damn thing about it, don’t let that stop you from breaking the ice with the subject…you’re probably dense enough to do it.
Step 3- Show your role, don’t shut your mouth. This is the fun part for most people, this is where you get to really be a part of something, like chanting “defense” at a football game, a fire drill, or a mass bridge-leaping competition. You’re in this thing all the way as long as everyone else is, right? You know what they say in Rome…if everybody else is going to the bathhouse, why not? Get convinced. Get concerned. Most importantly, get connected.
Log on to your favorite social network and drop knowledge on the subject off the top of your head in your updates (probably breaking the knowledge in the process). Change your profile picture to an appropriate image…that’s a good way to show how much you care, if strictly literally. Even better, make a new one by adding relevant text, even if it’s only relevant to you. Be sure to approve of and share EVERY WORD that is spoken on the subject…the message doesn’t matter, #onlythispartdoes.
Got an unrelated personal project that you want to be as popular as the issue at hand? Don’t be afraid to randomly invoke such concepts when promoting your work. Nothing shows how worldly and credible you are like referencing current events in your likely outdated and subpar material...people actually concerned with the hot topic just love that shit. Also, if you promote parties, it just wouldn’t be right if you didn’t turn whatever serious social matter into a cause for celebration, complete with drink specials…for example, nothing says “stop the violence” like cheap alcohol in a public area.
Step 4- Get the merch. How’s anybody going to know you pretend to care in real life if you’re not wearing anything that says so? Bumper stickers are usually a treasure trove of answers to questions that don’t fit on bumper stickers. T-shirts are always a popular item…and a fashion statement, if the logo for whatever the shirt is talking about looks cool. (You know, like those red shirts with that guy with the beard and hat or those green ones with the cool arrows that all point at the back of each other.)
It’s important to note that you DO NOT have to know anything about the cause to represent it. Do you know why those yellow LiveStrong wristbands existed? No, but you probably owned one anyway. It showed you cared about…something…and all your friends and favorite celebrities wore one, so why wouldn’t you? Get yourself some visible evidence that you care…it’s a great conversation piece, and some of the proceeds might go to whatever you’re supporting. Or not…but who cares, that’s a pretty sick headband, broski.
Step 5- Take it to the seats, but never the streets. You see, what you’re doing is simply appearing to care. You’re just performing the theatrics of a committed person, going crazy for your cause as long as it’s the cool thing to do. However, realize that your entire role comes from the sitting position. Sitting in front of the computer typing about it, sitting around talking about it, sitting idly by as the topic passes from popular attention and thereby becomes irrelevant…it’s all from the comfort of whatever seat is most convenient.
Taking a stand, on the other hand, is less convenient. It involves things like boycotts, marches, sit-ins and other forms of…uh…direct democracy…but that kind of stuff is so 1776. I mean, it made a brief little comeback in the 60’s, but still…that’s old-school and could get you hurt if you ain’t really about that life. The thing to do now is takin’ it to the tweets with picture memes and holding click-ins and such…it’s easy and safe. Plus, there’s no chance of getting stuck in a spot in a crowd where nobody can see you caring if you take a picture of yourself alone in your bed or bathroom in your full armor of concern.
Sure, it won’t do a single damn thing for whatever it is you claim to support, but everyone you “know” will see that and know you’re behind something (behind a lot, actually)…and that’s exactly what you want, isn’t it?
Hopefully, you enjoyed this guide to really looking like you care. Of course, should you ever wish to not be a total fraud and actually find something to give a damn about that’s not on Twitter today, it’s even easier to look supportive. Until that day, I hope this helps. For umf, I’m AJ…thank you, and good night.