Wednesday, 27 August 2014

ICE, ICE, baby

I've been experiencing all sorts of ups and downs when it comes to this Ice Bucket thing.

When I first saw celebs doing it, I thought oh, you narcissistic twats, what's this then. I had to ask someone what the fook it was all about. And then I had to look up ALS. So I guess, from that point of view, it worked to raise my pitiful awareness.

It was originally a thing where you donate money OR you take the ice bucket challenge so I was very confused as to why people were just doing the ice thing anyway. But then it was celebs so that makes sense. We, the sheep proletariat, are preprogrammed to have an orgasm every time a celeb does anything wacky or zany and then we share it on social media and then we have a giant circle jerk where we tell each other how awesome we all because we care. How do we know we care? Because we SHARED.

And then everyone in the world started doing it and my feed, so carefully cultivated to only follow the choicest cuts of friend news, has been deluged in buckets of bullshit. And THEN I thought oh dear, I'm just being a cynical, whiny old bitch aren't I? Doing that thing I do of hating something because it's popular and just not understanding how the apparent narcissism fits in with the whole shebang.

And then people started sharing the things that say if you think the ICE bucket thing is whack, you're a bit of a dick because at least people are raising money and what are you doing, you horrible keyboard warrior.

And then I started thinking well, OK, I guess any charity money raising is a good thing and it is obviously a heinous disease and all research must be a Good Thing. And then Pamela Anderson pointed out that a lot of ALS research inexplicably uses animal research and someone else pointed out that a lot of the money donated this way goes back into some kind of 'awareness' pot, rather than to research itself and so what is it all for really? And then I had a small meltdown.

Is it really about raising money. Have 60% of my Facebook friend group suddenly become enormously altruistic about something that they've never mentioned before? Is that a bad thing? Am I being a party pooper? And, goddammit, why have I not even been nominated? I am so far out of the joiny-in loop that not one person has nominated me. Either that or I have no friends. Or my friends feel the same way I do and aren't doing it. Or I am very unpopular. All of these things are possible.

And maybe that's what social media is for anyway - maybe it's good that we all have a way to tell ourselves we're awesome and tell our friends they're awesome and if some other people benefit then where's the harm. But then someone mentioned Africa and the waste of water. But it's OK because Matt Damon did it with toilet water. Not used, presumably.

And then I read this, and it summed up what I meant to say in this blog post but am too scared, middle class and worried about what people think about me to say it. But then, I'm just one more voice howling into the social media wind anyway, so it doesn't really matter what I say about anything.

Do read this though. I think it interesting:

http://www.macleans.ca/society/health/why-the-ice-bucket-challenge-is-bad-for-you/

And for all my lovely friends and all the people I don't really like, who quietly donate money month after month, year after year, and all of those who do stuff for charity all the time and don't make videos about it, I salute you all. Ice bucket challenges and social media fads will come and go (Kony. Never forget), but the slog of putting effort in for your chosen cause is a lifetime thing and that is something worth more than any Facebook like.




1 comment:

  1. Yes, totally agree. One thing I don't get is why you would donate OR do the challenge, that's not really helping anything is it? Plus my Facebook feed has gone a bit 'look at me' rather than 'I'm doing this for charity'. Some aren't even mentioning the charity for goodness sake.
    One thing India did which I thought was really nice was the Rice Bucket Challenge where you give a bucket of rice to a poor family. Now that's a proper campaign.

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