Initially, I really didn’t want to be the guy writing the article that slams the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Honestly, I didn’t.
Just let people have their fun and keep your pretentious and miserable little nose out of it, I said. What harm could come from this trend, right? It’s for a good cause…
Well, maybe not so much. It was actually that little good cause statement that inspired this article. It’s almost ironic that by the time this article is published, nobody’s going to care about the ice bucket challenge anymore.
As it is with all of these trends, give them about a month and they’ll have run their course. Dare I say you’ve seen a lot fewer of these videos plaguing your walls? I don’t think I’ve seen one in about a week; which is actually relieving.
But getting back to the issue with this latest trend, what is there to hate about fund-raising and awareness spreading towards a charity? Well, this is where my stance becomes hard to defend. If I were to have loose lips, which I may be guilty of, it could be insulting and offensive.
Obviously, there are very good things about what the Ice Bucket Challenge has done. This campaign has a lot of people talking about ALS. Good. This campaign has raised over $100 million for ALS research. Great. This campaign has so many people caring and doing good for the world. Amazing! Wait, what? Is that really true?
Well, that’s what all of these videos would have you believe. They all say things like, I’m doing this for a good cause! The philanthropist then proceeds to dump a bucket of ice water on their head: sacrificing their very comfort in the name of charity and in the name of good.
They’re doing it for a good cause.
It’s reminiscent of a similar campaign that spread across our social media like wildfire two years ago. Remember when we were all going to change the world by sharing a video telling us the atrocities of a man named Kony? I wonder what ever happened to him…
Or how about in a couple months when all of us guys grow a moustache and embrace how embarrassed we feel. We’ll put ourselves on display solely because we care so much about colon cancer.
My favourite was the recently released video called ‘Look Up,’ where a man exploited the growing popularity of spoken word to write a (very poor) poem telling us all about how bad social media is.
Remember when that video surfaced on your twitter? On your Facebook? On your Instagram? Remember how valid that video was? How we all realized how bad social media is, via social media?
Before I proceed any further, I want to step down from the pedestal and admit that I’ve taken part in these trends before. I’ve had the moustaches, I’ve shared the Kony video, I’ve believed in the power of social media to ‘make this world a better place!’
As I’ve grown in my misanthropy and cynicism, however, these trends really just make me bitter. I guess my university education is working.
I try to justify my past experiences with these social trends as having fun, because that’s truly all I’ve looked at them as.
It was fun to have a moustache for a month, just like I’m sure it was fun to dump some ice water on your head. I look at them as a distraction from some of the issues in the real world, but I never grew the moustache because I thought I was making this world a better place.
I’ve since given up on these things because when you actually start to look at them for what they are, you see right through them. It’s marketing, it’s trendy, and it’s narcissistic; not to mention insignificant, irrelevant and pretentious.
Nobody is dumping unclean water on their head for ebola. Nobody is dumping rubble on their head for Gaza. Nobody is dumping blood on their head for Iraq and Syria in response to ISIS. The sad part is nobody will, because we used up our yearly activism on ALS.
I can’t deny that there has been some good that has come from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. My issue lies with people genuinely believing they’re doing this for a good cause.
You’re doing this for the same reason people were doing neknominations, but at least those chugging alcohol didn’t have the audacity to say they were doing it for anything more than self-indulgent narcissism. #slacktivism.