Ice bucket stunt leaves Rebecca wondering why people feel the need to show off online
We seem to be a generation of people who believe you have to do something stupid in order to do something good.
Take this Ice Bucket Challenge: a silly gimmick by which individuals make themselves feel momentarily better about their existence by dumping a bucket of – yes, you guessed it – ice cold water all over themselves.
Why ice cold water was chosen is anybody’s guess but the stunt has raised more than $50m for an American organisation, at least.
From this side of the Atlantic, it crept up slowly. A few smatterings of celeb dumpings online, random American friends taking over our Facebook feed. And then as more people were nominated by our US friends, it made its way to our shores. It’s the Ebola virus of the campaign world: the chink in our armour is not our immune systems after all, but our egos. Spreading slowly over the past two weeks before really gaining power you will now have endured countless Facebook posts and – ridiculously – you will have been subjected to news coverage of various celebrities ensuring they remain accepted by polite society by partaking in this.
I can’t help but cringe every time someone I know posts a status of themselves, half-naked and dancing around under a rain of ice water, all – supposedly – for a good cause.
And some of these people are my best friends.
These are reasonable, good people who I should not feel any animosity towards. So why do I?
On the surface, one should rejoice that so many people are selflessly giving to charity. If it were selfless. Remember, these people are nominated to undertake this by their buddies so would feel guilty – and what’s infinitely worse – feel ostracised by their peer group for failing to stand up to such a dare. Secondly, they receive attention for their good deed. As their video LIKES ramp up, I can just imagine their smug faces, leaning over their Sunday roasts safe in the knowledge this is a job well done while all around us the world is silently falling apart. Well, you may ask, does it matter whether they’re receiving attention or not, their act still raises money for charity? Indeed. The leader of Oxford-based organisation, Giving What We Can has indicated that the phenomena may well encourage “moral licensing”’.
Which is a bit like alcohol licensing in that you should require a licence to promote anything that promises to make someone feel better about themselves in the short-term, with no acknowledgement of the long-term fallouts.
It has been proposed that some people might use taking part in the challenge as a substitute for other charitable acts and that by attracting donations for ALS, the challenge is “cannibalizing” potential donations that would have gone to other charities.
Absolutely. I’ve nothing against Motor Neurone Disease – although UK donatees should be mindful of whether they’re donating to the Brit-based charity or the US one.
I appreciate that people half-think they’re doing a great thing. In some ways they are.
But it also smacks of ego-maniacal self-congratulating: a wet T-shirt competition for the masses to promote their goodness and their half-naked bodies and finally, somewhere waaaay down the list they vaguely remember to promote a cause.
- Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone’s contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.
- Feast for the senses: Getting a taste for Lisbon
- Eager to take on the Eiger – on the Swiss Grand Tour
- The Rosewood Hotel is the name on everyone's lips, but is it all pomp and no circumstance? Katherine MacAlister visits the new London hotel to find out.
- Tentaphobe Katherine MacAlister tries out the new Coleman range of inflatable tents
- Carry on camping... with Eurocamp in France
- Racing for life: from sick bed to transplant games medal glory
- So many spas, so little time. Katherine MacAlister hits Bath and finds it hard to tear herself away
- Partying like an Irishman in New York City for St Patrick's Day
- Hot stuff this summer: From chillies to stargazing, there's all manor of fun at Waddesdon
- A concert in heaven
- Georgina Campbell surrounds herself with jewels and marble while staying at The Bulgari in Knightsbridge and grew quickly accustomed to the innate luxury at the five star hotel.
- Katherine MacAlister relaxes in style at the Palm Beach Hotel and Bungalows in Larnaka, Cyprus