The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is Totally Making My Summer
Yes, I have heard that there are those who find some sort of fault with this viral fundraising campaign.
What is the #ALSIceBucketChallenge, you may ask?
First of all, let's go back to the fund raising part of this whole social phenomenon. Each participant who takes up the challenge is now expected to make a monetary donation to ALS research, as well as dowsing themselves in ice cold water, including visible ice.
Those passing on the challenge, once named, are expected to donate $100.00.
Apparently, nearly $23,000,000 dollars has been raised during the past few weeks as the challenge went viral across social media. This includes over 450,000 new donors, according to Victoria Taylor writing for the New York Daily News.
Though often called Lou Gehrig's disease after the 1920s and 30s baseball star, most people today would associate ALS with theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, whose perfectly-performing mind is in complete contrast with his paralyzed physical body.
The spotlight now showing on this condition can only help all of us with the advances in scientific and medical knowledge that will come as a direct result. The trickle-down theory of charitable donations, if you will.
The other complaint about the Ice Bucket Challenge is that people are only really doing it for the dare part. I guess the participants are having too much fun as they go through a little mini-ordeal, challenge other people to join them and then everyone donate? Is social activism supposed to be the territory of earnest hippie people, or can't regular folks also do something altruistic?
You may point out that many of the participants aren't regular people at all but celebrities. You may cynically feel that taking up the Ice Bucket Challenge is a form of personal promotion for all of the shivering actors, musicians, sports figures, writers, filmmakers and politicians.
This is how I feel about it:
Social media turns every regular Joe into a celebrity, and every celebrity into a regular Joe.
The Ice Bucket Challenge shows everyone in their backyard, driveway, on their deck, on their steps, in their bathtub -- anywhere that can become a splash zone. Everyone goes through the same process: while being videotaped, the participant accepts the challenge, either fills his or her bucket with ice themselves or waits to have the water dumped upon them, gets dowsed, then challenges a few other people to take part.
To me, this phenomenon is a great leveller, showing that Thor actor Chris Hemsworth is just as susceptible to reacting to freezing cold water as anyone else.
It also shows the impact of crowd funding, where everyone's $10.00 or $20.00 contributions certainly add up, and that you don't have to be Chris Hemsworth with a Hollywood marquee paycheque to make a difference.
My favorite part of this whole thing? Watching people shriek, gasp, jump up and down, catch their breath and otherwise realize they just made their way to the other side of a not-that-easy challenge.
People like to be tested, and the Ice Bucket Challenge is a great summertime way to do it.
Here are a few of my favorites so far.
Do you have a favorite Ice Bucket Challenge moment?