I Don't Like The Ice Bucket Challenge

20 August 2014

There, I said it.

But to clarify; I'm not against research and working towards a cure for Motor Neurone Disease, or funding such programs.

Putting aside the fact that apparently the original challenge has the Ice Bucket option to avoid donating to the cause, and the Zizekian objections I have against charity in general, the main reason why I don't like the Ice Bucket Challenge is in the way it's being utilized as advertising for celebrities.

Just take a quick scan of the headlines about Ice Bucket Challenge. How many mention ALS in the headline first, instead of look who just did the ice bucket challenge! Guess who they called out! Ooooh!

Watch the actual videos, and there's very little context as to why they are being subject to a bucket of ice water (there are exceptions to this - Steve-O, of all people). Instead, it's more of a giant stream of people-you-should-know "doing their part", and in doing so, getting a massive amount of media attention.

We shouldn't care more because Lady Gaga did it. When the Taiwan nightly news shows clips of Mayday and A-Mei getting all cold and wet, and no time on what ALS is, how you can help, or where to donate to the cause (sorry Jay Chou, just pointing at the camera and saying "donate" doesn't cut it), it almost undermines the whole point of the challenge.

I don't like it because it's a reminder that it's not enough to just fund important medical and scientific research, but it takes a bunch of "famous people" to drive people to want to fund it - where that money really should have just come from fairer tax funding and better distribution of wealth.

I'd like to help, but I'm not going to dump a bucket of ice water over me. I'll do something much more useful - by sending you here.

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