You know you’re getting old when you see stuff happen on the World Wide Internets Web and you don’t understand it. For me, this has been the case with the Ice Bucket Challenge. It’s where people pour a bucket of icy water on themselves, record it on video, and then challenge three other people to do the same. The three people challenged have 24 hours to complete the challenge. If they fail to do it in the allotted time, they’re supposed to donate $100 to ALS disease, research. If they carry out the challenge, they only have to donate $10. You’re also expected to post a video of your dumping to prove you did it and to publicly challenge three more people.
If I understand the Ice Bucket Challenge, and chances are, I probably don’t, people are choosing a bucket of ice water instead of making a $100 donation to a worthy cause. The Ice Bucket Challenge seems like a weird version of Truth or Dare, where the truth is donating $100 to ALS research and the dare is always a bucket of ice water and donating only $10.
If the goal is to get more money for ALS research, wouldn’t it be better if no one dumped ice on themselves? As far as I can see, this stunt only helps the ice industry, Big Ice, and Google, which owns YouTube. The Ice Bucket Challenge videos I’ve seen always start with a commercial for a cell phone provider or some car I don’t want to own.
ALS is a terrible and horrifying disease. Whatever money is put towards ALS research, it’s not enough. Personally, I’d like to see the United States take what it spends on military defense and use that money on finding cures for diseases like ALS. If we really want to spend money on defending people, we should spend it on stopping what actually kills them. The chances I’ll get killed by a member of Al Qaeda are really quite remote, but the chances I’ll get killed by cancer or heart disease are actually quite high.
Instead of donating $10 or even $100 towards ALS research, we should be pestering our elected officials to flip what we spend on military defense, $931 billion for the fiscal year 2013, and medical research, $29 billion in 2013.
That, of course, will never happen, so I guess we should all just dump a giant bucket of ice water on our heads and call it a day.