Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Of ice buckets and challenges

Social media is awash with videos of people doing the ice-bucket challenge. I haven't looked up the origin of this movement, and quite honestly I'm not that interested. I'm not saying I don't care about ALS (or Motor Neurone Disease as it is more commonly known here in the UK). I'm just not that interested in how it all began.

What is fascinating is the way peer pressure and social media seem to be working. I haven't been nominated, and there's no point nominating me anyway because I'd probably just ignore the whole thing. Again, not because I'm some sort of callous uncaring individual but because I'm an individual who makes their own decisions and choices. And who's to say whether I have or have not made a donation anyway.

As I understand it, the basic idea of the challenge is to drench yourself in ice water or make a donation to the charity. I'm rather hoping that everyone who soaks themselves also chooses to make a donation and not just a soggy nomination of three other people. If you've yet to see Patrick Stewart's challenge yet, then find it, watch it and think about it. Without words he makes the point wonderfully well.

Then read some of the comments. You won't get too far before you come across those who miss the point entirely. Perhaps we need a few more silent videos of people writing cheques to remind people that this isn't just about getting wet, but there's a serous side to it all as well. In the meantime, if pouring ice cold water over yourself is something you want to try, then make sure you put plenty of ice in the water first. Just using cold water is surely cheating!

You can donate to the Motor Neurone Disease Association in the UK through their website

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