Unless you’ve taken residence under a rock (or, in my case, under an office desk) for the last two to three weeks, you will have heard of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
I was genuinely oblivious until my best friend nominated me to participate in the latest ‘raise craze,’ in throwing a bucket of ice-water over myself to promote awareness of ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) and encourage donations for research purposes. In the time it’s taken me to catch on to the trend, no doubt The Guardian have run a thoughtful piece by a person afflicted with the disease, Vice have done the expected ‘we-took-it-to-the-fucking-extreme-and-jumped-into-a-lake-in-the-South-Pole,’ and our favourite friends at The Daily Mail have done what they always do: ‘YOUNG-MARINE-FREEZES-TO-DEATH-AFTER-BOTCHED-ALS-ICE-BUCKET-CHALLENGE.’ So apologies if you have had quite enough literature on it for one day.
Before I explain how I feel about the Ice Bucket Challenge, it’s important to talk about the cause itself. ALS or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is a progressive neurodegenerative disease which affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Sufferers experience weakened muscles, impairment of mobility, and difficulty breathing, swallowing and speaking. Eventually, the person’s respiratory functions will deteriorate to a point of no return, and many will die from the disease. There is no cure for ALS, but researchers are working to develop drugs that can control the disease.
The Ice Bucket Challenge itself has been criticised, and labelled as just another bout of ‘slacktivism.’ In other words, the participants couldn’t really give a toss about the disease, and the real focus is on egocentricity; ‘look what a generous and charitable person I am everyone.’ First it was the No-Makeup Selfie, now it’s dumping a bucket of ice over your head.
F*ck the haters I say. So what if you’re posing without makeup to promote Breast Cancer awareness, and so what if you’re throwing buckets of ice around to encourage ALS donations. So what if you’re standing on your head and dangling your piss flaps to raise awareness for Cervical Cancer? Though The Daily Fail might tell us one guy got hypothermia and died as a result of the Ice Bucket Challenge (and we later discover he actually died from completely unrelated causes,) as long as nobody is harmed, does it really matter how money and awareness is raised? Before this raise craze, public knowledge of ALS was relatively limited. Thanks to some good nature, some camaraderie, and a few buckets of ice, somewhere around $41.8 million has been donated for research purposes, and the disease is finally in the public consciousness. Are you really going to sit there and talk to me about ‘clicktivism’ and the waste of water? If so, the problem is with you.
I have donated to the cause, as I have donated to other charitable causes that have moved me in some way, and kudos to everyone who has. However, I won’t be participating in throwing a bucket of ice water over my head. For no other reason than it’s f*cking freezing, and I’d rather that my nipple erection stayed well out of the public consciousness.