Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Where does the $ go? How will it be spent?

The Dark Side Of The Ice Bucket Challenge

By Selena Owens, Sept. 2, 2014,

I’m not one to get all crazy about latest fads, especially ones that call for being doused in frigid ice water. Concerning the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (IBC), I feel that there are more comfortable ways to bring attention to debilitating diseases without going to such extremes, which are more sensationalized than sensible in actually educating people.

Initially, I watched some really funny ice bucket challenges by people who sincerely participated to raise awareness – and money – for ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. I cringed when the ice water overtook its subject, and I laughed at the comical responses. And then the craze just didn’t stop. Social media blew up with videos of politicians, celebrities, athletes and kindergarteners that got on board with this phenomenon.

So I began to think about the IBC: Whose idea was this? Why would people so easily agree to being drenched in icy water? Who participated and who didn’t? Why do people feel obligated to take the challenge if offered to them? What’s the purpose of calling out three other people to take the challenge? Is there an underlying meaning we are not aware of in taking this challenge, or is it simply crazy summer fun, an innocent passing phenomenon that we’ll forget about at the first sight of an autumn leaf?

No doubt that when it comes to culture and making a societal statement, symbolism and messaging is top tier. Entertainers aim to present their message to the masses. We see it in movies, in Super Bowl performances, in the Grammys: In every song or dance, symbolism is the end game. With that in mind, I investigated the phenomenon behind the ALS IBC, and I discovered the IBC to be darker rather than enlightening and quite cultic instead of a lighthearted attempt to understand a debilitating disease.

Let me explain.

Let’s begin with the bizarre, rather dark “drowning accident” of Corey Griffin, the 27-year-old IBC co-founder. Griffin died last month when he left a very successful ALS fundraiser and “dove off a building at Straight Wharf in Nantucket at 2 a.m. on Aug. 16 and drowned, according to the Boston Globe. ‘He floated to the surface [and] then he sank. He did not come up again,’ the report says. Corey was pronounced dead at 3 a.m. He had helped raise $100,000 for ALS research on the night of his death.’”

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