Talking shit gets attention. That's the premise of several fundraising efforts including World Toilet Day, which aims to raise awareness about sanitation issues around the world. Now, a new "charity" called Give-a-Shit is using scatological shock value to get young people to care about, well, anything, without actually caring.
The site explains:
Well, we’re not offended by bad language. We’re offended by billions of people dying from lack of clean water. We’re offended by the rainforest being devastated by human greed. We’re offended by famine in Africa. So if we have to talk shit, then that’s what we’ll do.
The farthest the campaign goes toward making a difference is to raise the issue that maybe we should drop our verbal aversion to discussing fecal matters. That's something legitimate sanitation campaigners have long argued would help efforts to bring clean water around the world, in the same way talking more freely about sex enables family planning.
The most you can "do" on the site is tell your friends to go to the site by clicking on neatly tweetable categories like whales, child labor, bees, and hurricanes. What exactly it means to give a shit about hurricanes isn't so clear beyond clicking a tweet button with a link back to the site. But is cursing the way to fight apathy? As of Tuesday morning, almost 3,000 people gave a shit about apathy, roughly the same as gave a shit about "age concern" even though what that means is not explained at all. Hopefully, MTV will expand this campaign to real action soon.
Twilight actress Nikki Reed recorded a scatologically ridiculous promo video that starts off "I may be famous, but I actually give a shit."
After an unnecessary toilet scene, mock office-worker testimonials, and even a short bit with a foul-mouthed toddler, the perpetually grinning Reed concludes with what is presumably the broader message. "We are young and we care. By harnessing the power of our most natural act, we can move mountains. There are billions of people in this world. Imagine what we could accomplish if we all gave a shit."
Imagine what this site could accomplish if that meant anything other than tweeting about it from the can so everyone else knows. If you want to actually take action, here are some great ways to volunteer and to donate. Tweet about that.