It’s all over the Facebooks and the You Tubes recently. Regular people, celebrities, politicians, and everyone imaginable dumping buckets of ice water over their domes as a part of the “Ice Bucket Challenge” to raise awareness and funding for ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease). And I have to say, I don’t get it.
The idea seems simple: a participant will post a video or photo online of him/herself performing the stunt and challenging various friends or associates to do the same. It usually goes something like this: “I’m Joe Smith and I’m taking the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I Challenge Bob Smith and Julie Smith to do so as well, or donate X dollars to ALS research.” Then the bucket is dumped, the participant screams, and hilarity ensues.
So.. wait… dump the ice water on your head OR make a donation? I asked about this on social media and was corrected by my niece, “Around here you make at least a ten dollar donation to ALS and then do it. By “around here” I’m guessing she means the Phoenix area, where she lives.
So, the gist of it seems to be make a donation or dump the bucket on your head, but most people are dumping the bucket AND making a donation. So it’s not so much dump the bucket or make the donation as it is do both. So my question is don’t these people know they can donate to a cause without imitating the Titanic?
It has definitely gone viral by now, like Ebola is threatening to. George Takei (Star Trek), the 70+ year-old spokesman for gay rights and darling of Facebook did it and he challenged Buzz Aldrin. Buzz, in turn challenged Tim Allen and some others. Who knows who Tim will challenge? Perhaps his Toy Story buddy Tom Hanks? It goes on and on.
It has become so accepted and expected, in fact, that reports of those few people who are refusing to do it for whatever reason are being looked down on by seemingly the entire internet. Pamela Anderson, for example, declined the challenge stating that she has disagreements with the ALS Association’s history of animal testing. Anderson, a long time member of PETA, wrote recently on her Facebook page, “Sorry, I can’t bring myself to do your Ice bucket challenge. I enjoy a good dare, It’s always good to bring awareness – in fun, creative ways, I don’t want to take away from that. I thought instead, I’d challenge ALS to stop animal testing.”
Also Kevin McCullough, radio host and member of the American Family Association (AFA) (a conservative Christian organization) spoke out against the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, saying it is essentially “killing babies” because ALS is involved with embryonic stem cell research.
On the AFA website, McCullough wrote, “The funding of embryonic stem cell research means that children are created and at their earliest stages of life they are destroyed so that the stem cells (from usually the base of the brain) can be harvested to perform tests with. …That is in essence philosophical cannibalism and moral persons should have no part in it.”
Of course, that is not really what transpires to harvest embryonic stem cells at all, but when have facts ever mattered to the AFA?
So there may be a few folks stating this whole ice bucket thing is a dumb idea, but largely it has been a resounding success, with the New York Times reporting (on August 21) that the gimmick has raised over $41 million to date.
That’s a lot of simoleans.
Me, I think it’s a pretty dumb idea. If I want to donate to ALS research, I’ll do it without trying to kill myself, thanks. I’m sure they’ll still take my money.