March 11, 2011

A Guide To Dealing With Japanese Earthquake Guilt

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What is the issue?
As powerless as I really feel, I might as well write – for lack of anything better to suggest – that if you have enough cash on hand and want to help Japan out, here’s a start.

A 9.2 magnitude earthquake struck Eastern Japan today, which triggered a seriously apocalyptic tsunami and a 6.6 magnitude aftershock, all of which have claimed the lives of hundreds, possibly thousands. As nightfall hits Japan, the first search and rescue efforts have started, and so the body count can only increase. A terrifying, humbling and serious state of affairs indeed. Yet here we are. In front of our computers. Looking at the internet. Here’s how to allay some of that guilt you’re inevitably bound to feel upon not doing anything at all (and, well, being essentially powerless to) to quell the very real suffering that Japan’s experiencing at this very moment.

Appear really depressed tonight

Wherever you go tonight, if it’s social/ public, look really sad. Just look really, really sad. When your friend or the girl with whom you want to have sex asks you why you look so down, mumble your confusion about why the world seems so fucked up. As the night progresses and you continue to consume alcohol, make sure to have a low-level outburst in which you yell loudly that you don’t know what to do, that you feel so bad that you can’t do anything, that the people of Japan are dying. People will consequently think you actually care, despite the fact that you continue to give your money to not Japan but corporate alcohol manufacturers and are actually using the posture of “empathy for others” to get laid.

Converse only about the Japan earthquake, from now until Tuesday

Tonight will be your debut of conspicuous empathy for others – refuse to talk about anything other the situation in Japan. Extrapolate this behavior to Saturday, when you should also change your Gchat status to a link to Japan earthquake coverage and Gchat with people only about the rising death toll and horrific destruction in Japan. On Sunday, blog about it, and on Monday, appear devastated at the water cooler and at meetings, referring to the earthquake way too often.

Stay glued to your laptop

Aljazeera, CNN and Gizmodo are all running excellent live/ continually updated coverage on the earthquake in Japan. Keep open tabs of all three and refresh/ cycle through these pages repeatedly in a conspicuous public area. Make sure to angle your laptop screen for maximum stranger visibility. For the most guilt reduction, have a number of fake cell phone conversations where you say loudly that you feel so bad for the victims of the Japanese earthquake, that you just can’t believe any of this happened, and that, frankly, you’re “pretty bummed out.”

Change your Facebook profile picture to a profile picture that an aid organization has provided

Make sure to seek out an organization dedicated to Japanese earthquake aid whose mission is to somehow help the people of Japan by providing Facebook users with profile pictures. These profile pictures somehow indicate that the people of Japan are being helped by the extreme propagation of these profile pictures. Change your profile picture to the one they’ve provided. Alternatively, donate an incremental amount of money to an organization dedicated to Japanese earthquake aid who will give you a Facebook “badge” which you can post to your profile. For high amounts of guilt reduction, donate around 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., as this is statistically when the most people are using Facebook and will enable the maximum number of people to see that you care.

‘Get the word out’

‘Getting the word out’ is the easiest and perhaps most efficient method to assuage your guilt. ‘Getting the word out’ is simple – Tweet “DONATE TO RED CROSS HUMANITARIAN EFFORT IN JAPAN [tinyurl link],” or “To the people of Japan: My heart goes out to you.” It (‘getting the word out’) creates the impression with all your Twitter followers/ Facebook friends that you’re like, affected, by others’ pain and suffering. That you care. Enough to put it in your Twitter stream, just after posting “Whew tonight at Johnny’s is gonna be effin hot!!!” No one will think to question your stance on empathy for others.

Donate

Unfortunately, this is one of the tougher options, because you’ve decided to live in New York City or some other big city, and as such willfully pay more than double the rent and double the price of food and drink than everywhere else in America – just to ‘be in a big city,’ which, less face it, is a sort of privilege. As such, you’re basically living on your last dime. And, well, you have to take care of yourself, right? So in order to alleviate the most guilt for not doing anything about Japanese people trapped under huge cinderblocks, just waiting there, right at this moment, wondering if they’re going to get rescued, is to donate, basically, the rest of your money to Japan. And be sure to tell everyone about it at the party tonight, insinuating, you know, that they could buy you a drink or two because you “donated your last cent to Japan.” TC mark

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