Billion Dollar Idea #2: The “Don’t Give A Shit” PoliceFiled under World Improvements
Tim stands alone in the kitchen of his law firm, adjusting his tie and waiting for the coffee machine to spew out his espresso. The door swings open and Carol strolls in. “Hey Tim!” says Carol. “Hey Carol,” says Tim. Tim wants coffee. Carol wants a conversation. “How was your weekend?” asks Tim, begrudgingly. He’s just trying to be polite. Hopefully Carol will say “It was good” and that will be the end of it. “Amazing. My cousin Monica came in from Westchester and ---
BAM! The window shatters into a thousand shards. A SWAT team rappels down the side of the building and starts pouring into the kitchen. In a matter of seconds Carol is against the wall in handcuffs. “You’re under arrest,” growls a cop. “For what?!” shrieks Carol. “For saying something nobody gives a shit about.”
Meanwhile, on the other side of town, Bob plops down on his couch in his underwear and begins shoveling Fruit Loops into his mouth. He flips on the TV. It’s tuned to CNN (his girlfriend likes to watch Anderson Cooper). There’s some breaking news about a bomb going off in a market place in Syria. 36 children died. Bob yawns and picks up the remote control. He pulls up the guide, and changes the channel to catch the end of Swamp People.
BAM! The front door is battered open, right off its hinges. An entire SWAT team marches into Bob’s living room. In a matter of seconds Bob is on the ground, his hands cuffed behind his back. “You’re under arrest,’ growls a cop. “For what?!” shrieks Bob. “For not giving a shit about something important.”
We fade to black. The logo comes into focus.
You’ve just watched the first commercial for my second Billion Dollar Business Idea: The “Don’t Give A Shit” Police. This brutal paramilitary organization will have a dual mandate: to arrest people for either 1) saying things no one gives a shit about 2) failing to give a shit about important shit.
Let me walk you through the business model so you can make an informed decision about whether or not to invest.
People who borrow your time to relay pointless information are everywhere. They’re telling you about this thing this guy said at work, describing a dream they had last night, sharing their Fantasy Football score, or showing you pictures of their French bulldog. Their inconsequential observations are making you want to Vincent Van Gogh your own ears off and they must have their tracheas confiscated right away.
Then there’s people who don’t give a shit about all of the horrible, fucked-up things taking place all over the world that could easily be prevented if anyone was actually paying attention. They’re not clicking on that article about Darfur, steering the conversation topic clear away from those Cambodian land mines, or falling asleep during a documentary about sex slavery. They must be made to give a shit.
The “Don’t Give A Shit” Police will both protect and punish apathy, drawing upon time-tested methods of oppression (surveillance, show trials, musical performances by Billy Joel). Success will be evaluated against hard quantitative metrics --- PBS Specials watched, Twitter feeds starved. Small talk will be enlarged by over 70% within the first three months. Donations to Amnesty International will double. The self-interest rate will fall to historical lows. Anyone who has ever worked for the E! Network will serve consecutive life sentences in a Siberian labor camp. The skies will be filled with planes transporting volunteers to Haiti and you will never, ever have to see another video of someone else’s child. I realize my very own website may not survive the purge --- but that’s ok, I will sacrifice The Daily Ranter on the altar of progress.
It’s going to be a brave new world, my friend.
You’re probably wondering, “But Peter, what will the org chart look like?” Well, I’m glad you asked. Two Executive Directors will oversee the separate divisions of The “Don’t Give A Shit” Police. I have asked Nick Kristof of The New York Times to head up the “beat people into caring” department. Whether he’s raising awareness of female subjugation or genocide in the Congo, Nick’s record on trying to get people to give a shit speaks for itself. Just imagine what he’ll be able to accomplish with his own gang of violent thugs.
As for the top job in the “incarcerate people who say shit no one cares about” department, there’s really only one man for the job. That’s right, I’m looking at you, Lieutenant Daniels from The Wire. Cedric Daniels knows what good pow-lice work looks like, and I can count on him not to juke the stats with low-quality Facebook rips. Because sure, it’s tempting to fill our prisons with people who post on Facebook that they just landed in LaGuardia, but it doesn’t really turn the tide in the war on “why the fuck would I care what you listened to on Spotify?”
By now you’re probably getting a little annoyed, “Ok Peter, stop, I get it. Even if I thought this was a good idea, which I don’t, what would be the main source of revenue? Who would pay the salaries of your merciless henchmen?”
OFFICER, ARREST THAT CURIOUS READER! A few decades in Siberia should address his concerns!!!
Does anyone else have any fucking questions?