In the last few days, there's been plenty of buzz about Zack "Danger" Brown, the kid from Ohio whose Kickstarter to make some potato salad has raised over $45,000, far outstripping his original goal of $10. What began as a good internet chuckle has snowballed out of control, gathering some serious online controversy in the process, with many declaring that Brown now has certain responsibilities in light of his potato salad fame. Some have demanded he donate his sudden windfall to charity and others insisting the money is his to keep. To my mind, though, when you get right down to it, there's only one conscionable choice: he's got to use his newfound fame and fortune to do something about the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine.
As rocket strikes intensify and civilian casualties mount on both sides, it's clear that things are bad as ever over there in the Middle East. And with the potato salad guy's sudden elevation to the public eye and a pool of resources at his disposal, it'd just be irresponsible for him not to at least try his hand at resolving one of the greatest human rights dilemmas of our day.
Now more than ever, we need the kind of practical optimism that turns $10 into $45,000, and the willingness to tackle new challenges, like cooking up a batch of homestyle potato salad for the very first time. This potato salad guy's fresh face and outsider status might be just what we need to put the peace process back on track. God knows we don't need another politician in the mix.
I'm not saying he's perfect for this role. Far from it. I know barely anything about this guy; all I know is that the situation can't continue as it has for the past half century. He claims "Danger" is his middle name, so he's clearly incredibly clever and creative, and in several morning news appearances he's stated that he's committed to doing the most good possible with the money. Why should we hold him to anything less than that? If he's not prepared to at least try to bring about a lasting cease fire and hammer out a two state solution, he shouldn't have launched a prank potato salad Kickstarter page in the first place.
I'm throwing the gauntlet. Zack-o, here's your chance to put everything you've got to the test. You've got funds to pay for a flight to Tel Aviv, obtain visas, get language training or hire interpreters, and enough left over to treat Israel and Hamas's top negotiators to succulent bowls of your famous potato salad. However, if you shirk your obligation to the embattled people of Gaza, you will be a new Cain on this earth, more scab than man, and you will be hounded to the end of your days no matter how far you run.
Now, just because I'm charging him here to fulfill his highest moral calling doesn't mean I believe Zack has to wade into the mire of Israel/Palestine. I think we'd all be just as satisfied if he brought hope and democracy to the Crimea, threw the yoke of oppression off the people of North Korea, brought back our girls from Boko Haram, or halted ISIS's relentless march towards Baghdad. Any one of those would totally cover him karmically. And if he wanted to pocket a little of the cash in the process for his efforts, well, that'd be just fine. :)
It was a little luck and a stroke of good fortune that set Zack on this crazy ride of his; now, with $45,000 in his pocket, it's time he took the wheel. After all, with a great side dish comes great responsibility! Now go fix the Middle East, you little shit.
(Follow Dan Abromowitz on Twitter)