So, bout that Ice Bucket Challenge, eh?You literally couldn’t miss it, even if you wanted to, and I actually, for once, really don’t want to. And I’m not just saying that for sopping wet Tom Hiddleston reasons. (…honestly).
I absolutely hated #nomakeupselfies. Sure, it was raising money for cancer research and that’s all to the good, but it was mainly making money for an organisation that pretty much poops £££ already, comparative to some charities in the same space. But more than that, I disliked it for what it was and what it said about us as a society. Here was a “challenge” involving taking a photo of your own face.
I mean…really though.
Forgetting the sheer vanity of that for a second, let’s also remember that the challenge was mainly “accepted” by women because let’s be honest, the vast majority of men don’t wear make up, and it played on the idea that not wearing makeup was something…noteworthy. Because god forbid a woman should exist on the planet in a sort of natural state and not be feeling that she’s making a big political statement, amirite?
But the ALS challenge (for Motor Neurone Disease, or Lou Gehrig’s disease) is crazily brilliant because it isn’t just fun to watch famous folk and friends do something daft like drench themselves in iced water, it actually very momentarily replicates the freezing and lack of control you have over your muscles as a sufferer of a degenerative disease. Fun and empathetic? Someone out there was an evil genius to spot the link and jump on it. Yes, some slebs aren’t getting a good plug in for the charity, but lots ARE and it’s raised over $22 million for a charity that probably wouldn’t see that kind of income in a long time…never mind over the course of one heady week.
I know in days of Ferguson and Gaza and IS in Iraq and James Foley and all the heaping, bloody, barbaric things happening in the world, this can seem…inconsequential. Frivolous maybe. Wasteful, even. There’s often a sense of hopelessness that can fall over the whole idea of online activism at times; how often have you thrown a link out into the void (the same one that thousands and thousands of others are too) and known deep down that no matter how loudly you try to shout about the subject matter, or how deeply you feel the injustice or horror or truth of a matter, that pixelated point won’t make the slightest bit of difference to the outcome? But these buckets of water are turning into literal buckets of cash that will fund real research, that one day years from now will mean the difference between life and death for the diagnosed.
So I’ll leave you with this video I saw today – of 26 year old Anthony Carbajal who did the ice bucket challenge but then went on to explain why it’s a seriously good thing for him. Watch it to the end, especially if you’re lairy about the whole shebang…maybe it’ll persuade you that it’s a good thing after all.