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Tue Aug 19, 2014, 03:39 PM

Slate Writer Gets Schooled on ALS "Ice Bucket" Challenge

Last edited Tue Nov 23, 2021, 07:32 PM - Edit history (10)

It started with a group of golfers raising money for various local charities. It took off when one of the golfers donated to the ALS (Lou Gherig's Disease) Association. And now it's spreading like -- well, a disease.

It's the ALS "Ice Bucket" Challenge, in which you are publicly tasked with either filming yourself getting ice water poured over your head or donating to ALS, after which you can challenge three people to do the same. It's quickly navigating through all sectors of the celebrity universe -- here's the rock band Bon Jovi (co-starring New Jersey governor Chris Christie and Boston Patriots owner Robert Kraft):




The ALS Association says it's received ten times the donations they had at this time last year. But not everyone is pleased, such as Will Oremus of Slate.com:

Facebook has become saturated with videos of people dumping buckets of ice on their heads...Watch the golfersí videos and youíll see the stunt was really just about getting their friends to film themselves doing something dumb for no reason. The charity part was an afterthought...

And the campaign is clearly working: The ALS Association told Fox Boston that it has raised $1.35 million in the past two weeks. It raised just $22,000 in the same period last year. Thatís welcome news for the 12,000 Americans who have the disease, which is devastating and ultimately fatal, and for their families and future generations.

Yet itís hard to shake the feeling that, for most of the people posting ice bucket videos of themselves on Facebook, Vine, and Instagram, the charity part remains a postscript. Remember, the way the challenge is set up, the ice-drenching is the alternative to contributing actual money. Some of the people issuing the challenges have tweaked the rules by asking people to contribute $10 even if they do soak themselves. Even so, a lot of the participants are probably spending more money on bagged ice than on ALS research...

Just donate the damn money, whether to the ALS Association or to some other charity of your choice. And if itís an organization you really believe in, feel free to politely encourage your friends and family to do the same. Congratulations! Not only have you contributed to a good cause, but youíve done your part for the environment by conserving the energy and fresh water required to make and transport large bags of ice.


Well, Mrs. Bo Stern, for whom ALS is not a just another trending passing fancy, begs to differ:

...Critics complain that the challenge is really about feeding our American narcissism and does nothing for ALS awareness or funding. They assert that people should just quietly donate their money and move on with their lives. I get that theyíre cranky, but I think maybe they donít realize what itís like to face this insidious disease, and then realize that itís nearly invisible to the rest of the world.

As I watch my husband become entombed inside his own body, I feel desperate for people to understand that this sort of inhumane condition exists. But for some reason, while everyone acknowledges itís one of the worst fates imaginable, funding for research and patient care is nearly nil...

Thatís why the celebrity faces and personal challenges happening in the ice bucket challenge are so effective at bringing in money. And if someone gets to look good while plunking their $50 in the ALS tip jar, I have zero problem with that. We are in for the fight of our lives with this monster, and the VERY LAST thing I want is for people to give quietly, anonymously, and then slink away. Raise the roof! Raise a ruckus! Call all sorts of attention to yourself! I will be happy for you and every Facebook like you receive as you nudge ALS an inch or two closer to the collective public consciousness.

(So) fear not, dear reader -- this, too, shall pass, and your Facebook newsfeed will go back to cat videos and kids singing Let It Go...


And if Mr. Oremus feels that having water poured on your head because you donated to charity is egotistically or environmentally incorrect, Mrs. Stern suggests these "alternative" challenges:

  • Pick up a 10-pound weight. Now imagine itís your fork and move it from your plate to your mouth repeatedly without shaking.

  • Strap 25 pounds to your forearm. Adjust your rearview mirror.

  • Before you eat your next meal, take a good, long look at the food...Now, imagine never being able to taste it Ė or any other food Ė for the rest of your life.

  • Install a text-to-speech app on your smart phone or tablet and use it exclusively to communicate for one day.

  • Sit in a chair for just 15 minutes moving nothing but your eyes. Nothing. No speaking, no scratching your nose, no shifting your weight, no changing the channel on the television, no computer work. Only your eyes...

  • Imagine that this is your life. Your only life...



You see, Slate, it's not about the donors, it's not about social media, it's not about social media trends, it's not even about the ALS Association. It's about the people that the ALS Association are now in a better position to help. Game, set and match, Mrs. Stern -- well played!


rocktivity

On edit: Steve Stern passed away in June 2015.

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Reply Slate Writer Gets Schooled on ALS "Ice Bucket" Challenge (Original post)
rocktivity Aug 2014 OP
cyberswede Aug 2014 #1
BobbyBoring Aug 2014 #2
caraher Aug 2014 #3
Paka Aug 2014 #4
rocktivity Aug 2014 #5
rocktivity Aug 2014 #6
rocktivity Aug 2014 #7
rocktivity Jul 2016 #8

Response to rocktivity (Original post)

Tue Aug 19, 2014, 04:10 PM

1. Big rec!

My grandmother had ALS.

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Response to rocktivity (Original post)

Tue Aug 19, 2014, 06:05 PM

2. K and R!

Both my mother and Ms Borings mother died from it. Both in less than a year after diagnosis. Nothing helps. It just runs its course and kills you.

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Response to rocktivity (Original post)

Tue Aug 19, 2014, 09:35 PM

3. Turns out there are other gripes about the ice bucket challenge

Thanks to a RW Catholic FB friend, I've learned there are folks objecting to donations to the ALS Association because they fund stem cell research! She posted a video of a priest telling why he wouldn't donate to them before challenging a bunch of other clerics, calling for donations to some Catholic group that does ALS work (apparently without supporting stem cell research), and dumping water on himself. The idiot suggests that somehow the research leads to abortions, which is just plain stupid - what woman is having an abortion for the purpose of providing fetal tissue for medical research?

I also read a piece by a philosopher that was more of a general argument against campaigns that focus on any one cause (the gist was that a big effect is not to increase by much total charitable giving but to redirect what individuals offer, so that if ALS raises an extra $3 million it likely costs other charities $1.5 million in donations they otherwise may have received). I don't find this terribly compelling, even though in general I'm sympathetic to the argument that "feel-good" giving doesn't match resources to causes in a way that logically leads to the greatest social benefit.

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Response to rocktivity (Original post)

Wed Aug 20, 2014, 06:21 AM

4. Huge K&R!

My sister has ALS now. Watching this dreadful disease take it's toll is a terrible thing. She is still able to move her body, but it went very quickly to her throat muscles and she struggles to eat. There are very few foods she can actually swallow and she is wasting away before our eyes. Without smoothies she might get no nourishment at all. Thank you Mrs. Rice for the awareness.

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Response to rocktivity (Original post)

Thu Aug 21, 2014, 12:26 PM

5. Ice Bucket Challenge Video Update

Last edited Sun Aug 30, 2020, 04:33 PM - Edit history (2)



It's the Bon Jovi ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Video 4-Pack -- singer Jon Bon Jovi, keyboardist Dave Bryan, drummer Tico Torres, and guitarist Richie Sambora all in one video for your convenience! (Also available as a MP3).


rocktivity

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Response to rocktivity (Original post)

Sat Aug 23, 2014, 12:18 PM

6. "Thanks for the recs" kick


rocktivity

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Response to rocktivity (Original post)

Mon Aug 25, 2014, 11:51 AM

7. 8/25 Update: ALS Foundation Reports Donations

Last edited Sun Aug 30, 2020, 04:36 PM - Edit history (2)

in the amount of 62 MILLION DOLLARS!

Time to choose a new disease, perhaps?


rocktivity

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Response to rocktivity (Original post)

Thu Jul 28, 2016, 01:32 AM

8. 2016 Update: ALS-Funded Study Yields Breakthrough

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