I’ve debated on whether or not to full write out my thoughts on this. However, after opening up Facebook moments ago, the first three things that greeted me were the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.” Over the past week, I’d venture to guess that most of my Facebook newsfeed was filled with this passing fad. While I have made my case on the air, I’ve decided it’s time to explain my distaste with this soon-to-be forgotten trend in writing.
#1: The “group mentality.” I can’t stand that “they’re all doing it, so I’m going to do it” frame of mind. This goes for movies, music, books, etc. When a massive portion of society is seeing a new film, listening to a new album, or going crazy over a new book, I instantly don’t want to do it just because that entire group is doing it. It’s nice to be a part of a group cause. Nobody wants to really stand out. It’s just human nature for much of society.
#2: The spirit of the “ice bucket challenge” is wrong. In short, see my first point. However, my question is this: Where were all of these people when it wasn’t trendy to dump ice water on your head? Why is it that – all of the sudden – everyone cares about ALS? Now, don’t get me wrong, I think it’s wonderful they are raising record amounts of money. However, what disturbs me seeing all these people doing the challenge because everyone else is doing it. Some people may genuinely care about ALS. But, I see too many people “accepting” the challenge out of a group mentality.
#3: These videos put the attention on that person – not the patient. Social media – the definition should be “self promotion machine.” While I understand the idea is to raise awareness, the “challenge” videos are still saying “look at me” rather than saying “look at the patient, the man or the woman suffering with ALS.”
#4: This fundraising won’t hold up. According to the New York Times, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has raised $41M for the ALS Association since July 29th. Check back a year from now and it will be drastically lower. Then you will see the people who truly care about this awful disease. While it’s a worthy cause for which to raise money, it simply won’t hold up and will sadly eventually largely be forgotten.
Again, my main point is this: my problem is not with the cause. It’s not with the amount of money. It’s not even really with the aggravation of a repetitive newsfeed. My problem is that at the core – the “ice bucket challenge” is momentarily propped up by a passing group mentality.
Let’s hope those suffering with it will not be forgotten.
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