The 21st-century 20-something

Monday, August 11, 2014

#IceBucketChallenge: Why You, In Fact, Are Helping

I'm in a sort of an 'everything-is-annoying-me' kind of mood today, so I'm perfectly happy to have stumbled upon this particularly bothersome article about the recently cool, hip thing to do: The
Icebucket Challenge.
Photo courtesy of

This blog post written for HuffPost by Ben Kosinski hit me just the right way to make me ponder, yet irritate me enough to post a rebuttal.

He introduces the Ice Bucket Challenge efforts as a form of slacktivism, a term created for 'activism' that requires little or no effort, such as signing a petition, and is usually done on the Internet. Got it? Good.

Well that bothers me immensely because I think it is counterproductive and pretentious to refer to one form of spreading awareness as more valid than any others. Anyone putting any effort forth to get the word out about a cause, whether it includes donating or not, is something to applaud.

These are hard times in the U.S. of A. and not everyone, especially kids my age (ya know, post-college in a mediocre job that allows no quality of life with $20,000 of student loan debt) can afford to be philanthropists on the side. So we do what we can to help. And sometimes that means, we pour a bucket of ice water over our heads in the name of spreading awareness about ALS.

See Ben, I think you misread the goal in this. Spreading the word is meant to create hype, and encourage the more wealthy citizens who can afford to donate to do so, often times because it's trendy. And this is exactly what people have accomplished, considering as you mention, the ALS Foundation has received four times the amount of donations as this time last year.

Yet, you still find a way to sneer your nose at the efforts by stating: "What if the thousands of people who spent money on buying one or two2 [sic] bags of ice actually gave that money to ALS? It would be out of control." Again, missing the point.

If people were just posting on Facebook "Hey, donate to ALS, yo," and donating the $2 they spent on ice without any challenge or video documentation, it wouldn't have nearly the effect it's been having. It wouldn't have gone viral, and the donations wouldn't be pouring in. So I think discrediting this effort is pretty asinine.

And yes, a good portion of the people doing this challenge probably didn't care one bit about ALS research before this became 'a thing.' They're doing it because it's cool at the moment. I myself have done a bit of eye-rolling at this, but at the end of the day who really cares why people are doing it? It's working. And that's all that matters.

I should also make it clear that I have not been nominated to do this, but can sincerely say I would do it if I were. And yes Ben, I would feel like I was contributing even without a monetary donation. And I don't think there's anything wrong with that.


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