Which unlikely icon will clean up after BP next?

Cameron, Costner and Redford are taking a crack -- we nominate a few more. Ariel, it's your chance to shine!

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Senior Writer

Published June 3, 2010 4:22PM (EDT)

As BP continues to prove it's exponentially better at spilling the oil than cleaning it up, the task of damage control has, in recent days, fallen upon some unlikely shoulders. First "Waterworld" star Kevin Costner came forward with oil separator technology he's been privately developing since the mid-'90s. "Titanic" director James Cameron, who succinctly observed, "Those morons don't know what they're doing," took part this week in a meeting with the Environmental Protection Agency after BP turned down his offers of assistance. And Robert Redford has used the disaster as an opportunity to advocate for clean energy alternatives. 

All of which leads us to wonder: Who will step forward next with a unique brand of expertise on the catastrophe? We may not be on the invite list for brainstorming sessions at the Capitol, but we have a few ideas of our own.

Umpire Jim Joyce

Did you see how he immediately owned up to his massive screw-up on Wednesday, blowing Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga's perfect game? He didn't act like a crybaby and say he wanted his life back. Contrition doesn't turn back time, but it does show a level of understanding that's been sorely lacking here.

Ariel, the Little Mermaid

A job like this calls for someone with inside knowledge of the territory and lots of friends in sub-oceanic places. Not only do we think she can tidy up the spill, we'd wager she can do it in the span of one catchy showtune.

The cast of "Jersey Shore"

Pssst, BP! Just tell them that crude oil is as effective as hair gel and self-tanner, and they'll be down there to absorb the entire supply in time for the MTV Movie Awards.

J.R. Ewing

You don't get to be the most despised and lusted after oil baron in all of Dallas without knowing a thing or two about that Texas tea. No doubt the patriarch of the Ewing clan has some brilliant ideas for, if not exactly fixing the mess, covering it up and making it look like somebody else's fault. See also: Blake Carrington.

Mrs. Doubtfire

She's great at cleaning, she's lovable as heck, and she's phenomenal at lying. BP, need we say more?

Veridian Dynamics

The corporation that inspired the sitcom "Better Off Ted" knows how to weaponize a pumpkin and create cow-free meat. A little thing like "acid-like" goo is practically a no-brainer for these guys.

Rachael Ray

All this lady talks about, all the time, is oil. Don't tell me she doesn't have ideas. 

The Brawny Guy

Who knows more about cleaning up spills with panache than this dude? We'll take 8 -- make it 9 -- million rolls and meet you in the Gulf.

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a senior writer for Salon and author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

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Gulf Oil Spill