Pouring water on the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’

Peyton Manning and John Elway did it. So did LeBron James, Coach K, Nicole Ritchie and Tony Romo.

I always knew Romo and Ritchie had a lot in common, but that’s a story for another day.

Robert Griffin III, Aaron Rodgers and Butte High Bulldog superfan Davey Dunmire have also done it. So, too, have Dale Earnhardt Jr., Dez Bryant and Oprah Winfrey.

It’s the “Ice Bucket Challenge,” and if you are on Facebook you have likely seen it a zillion times by now. It is the latest in a laundry list of reasons why I am once again rethinking my participation in the Facebook world.

At the very least, it makes me wish Facebook would add a “dislike” button.

For those people lucky enough not to be involved in social media, the “Ice Bucket Challenge” goes like this: Somebody challenges you make a video of yourself dumping a bucket of ice water over your head and posting the video on your Facebook page.

If you don’t accept the challenge, you are supposed to give $100 to an ALS charity of your choice. If you do the ice water approach, you are supposed to publicly challenge others.

The “Ice Bucket Challenge” is slacktivism at its worst, and that is saying a lot.

Slacktivism allows people to feel better about themselves for absolutely no reason whatsoever. They can post a comment with a hashtag on Twitter or “like” a comment on Facebook, sit back and feel like a hero.

Slacktivism is Michelle Obama going on Twitter and posting a photo of herself holding a sign that says “Bring Back Our Girls” instead of rolling over and saying, “Hey Barry, how’s about you do something about those kidnapped girls in Nigeria?”

Slacktivism is posting “#SuperstormSandyRelief” instead of writing a check to the Red Cross. It is clicking that you “like” the Special Olympics instead of volunteering your time.

If Facebook and Twitter were around in the 1950s, the civil rights movement would have been stopped in its tracks. Instead of starting a movement, Rosa Parks would have rotted away in the slammer for refusing to give up her seat on the bus.

Meanwhile, instead of marching, millions would have “liked” and “retweeted” things like #FreeRosa and “YouGoGirl.”

The “Ice Bucket Challenge,” which was also done by David Ortiz, Jason Garrett and Lefty Rundle, though, is taking slacktivism to an extreme.

While the “challenge” has apparently raised millions of dollars for ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, it clearly isn’t because of the people who elect to dump a bucket of ice water over their head with a false sense of self satisfaction.

Those people are choosing to dump that bucket of ice water over their head INSTEAD of donating money.

It is the exact opposite of the Pintler Polar Plunge, where people jump into Silver Lake west of Anaconda to raise money for the Special Olympics. In February, no less.

The “Ice Bucket Challenge,” which started in July and caught fire in August, is a fun way to cool off on a hot summer day. It’s the first cousin of the “Diving Board Challenge,” the “Chips Ahoy Blizzard Challenge” and the “Ice Cold Beer In The Shade Challenge.”

That is quite a bit different than spending weeks getting people to sponsor you before you break a hole in the ice and jump into a lake.

Granted, all of those who “accept” the challenge on Facebook have good intentions, and most have a good heart. Some “Facebook friends” of mine have even offered to make a donation and pour ice water over their heads, putting them on the express train to Heaven.

A bunch, though, have been patting themselves on the back and congratulating others for saving the world — and their money — by accepting a cool “challenge” on hot day.

These are the same people who are too cheap to drop a dollar in the bucket at the Folk Festival.

Sure, most of us don’t have a Benjamin to give away, and those slacktivists certainly aren’t hurting anything by taking an ice shower.

Those celebrities with the buckets of ice water, though, are another story.

I don’t want to see Tom Coughlin, Colin Kaepernick or Steven Spielberg dump a bucket of ice water to themselves for ALS. I want to see them on the internet writing really big checks to an ALS charity or any other charity.

Now those would be videos worthy of a click of the like button.

—Bill Foley, who has successfully ignored every challenge issued to him on Facebook, writes a column that appears on ButteSports.com on Tuesdays. Email him at foley@buttesports.com. Follow him at twitter.com/Foles74. 19 comments



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19 Comments

  • The Iceman
    August 19, 2014, 7:25 am

    Come on Foles. I gotta make a buck. Something like this comes around once in a lifetime, and you gotta try to melt it all away. You dirty !##$@!^54. May the Bears go 1-15.

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  • Greg Leetz
    August 19, 2014, 7:46 am

    As I do see your point. I can’t see how boosting awareness of a good cause is a bad thing. In 3 weeks the challenge earned 13.3 million dollars. Last year at this time they were in the one million range, & I do believe there is a deactivation button on FB as well. My 2 cents anyway. Foles…. I hope the Bears go 19-0

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  • Tane
    August 19, 2014, 9:18 am

    I thought they were supposed to do both. Donate and ice bucket not one or the other…

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  • Bill Foley
    August 19, 2014, 9:38 am

    The rules I saw were $100 or dump the bucket. Probably several variations of the rules floating around.

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  • Jacqui Lecoure Dinius
    August 19, 2014, 12:53 pm

    Bill, I agree with you that Facebook has been completely saturated with the ALS icebucket challenge. However, for me it has been the best thing I have seen on Facebook in two years. You see my cousin was diagnosed two years ago with ALS. He was 24 when diagnosed. The average ALS patient dies within 39 months of diagnoses, he is on month 24. ALS is a horrific, fast moving disease. Within one year most are confined to wheelchairs, have trouble communicating, often needing a computer to project their speech, need help feeding themselves, and soon after most will need feeding and breathing tubes. ALS patients do not have time on their sides. In July when the #icebucketchallenge went viral, it was estimated that only 50% of the population had ever heard of ALS, and of that only a small percentage knew what it was. As of today, you would have to be living like the Unabomber to not have at least heard of ALS. How can you put a monetary value on that? Your right, bull@#$% walks and money talks. The #icebucket challenge has walked directly to the bank to something to the tune of 15 million, compared to 1 million in the same period last year. That is not a drop in the bucket! For my cousin, for the 30 to 50 thousand estimated to be living with ALS that gives hope. Something that the prognoses offers very little of at this point. In the words of Steve Gleason, former New Orleans Saints player, who is also fighting ALS, ALS is not incurable, it’s underfunded. People don’t give money to a cause they have never heard of. That’s why we see celebrity charities raise so much money. It’s called education, and to those who have been affected that’s the most powerful word we have. The entire nation lives in a state of slacktivism, as you call it. Its mere moments like this that bring us to give, that bring awareness. This is ALS’s moment, this is our hope, and this is our only hope at the moment! I think you should join the rest of the viral world and educate yourself. Educate yourself on how important awareness is, on how much actual research can be funded by the millions that have been donated. I think you should dump a bucket of icewater on your head and join us, and then write a check as most have done!!

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    • Bill Foley@Jacqui Lecoure Dinius
      August 19, 2014, 1:11 pm

      OK, professor, knock off the sanctimonious BS. I made fun of the 89 percent of people on the internet who make look-at-me videos without donating money and you try to turn me into the pro-ALS candidate? Of course making money to fight ALS is good. Of course raising awareness is good. So is laughing at pretentious people who make the videos all about them. In short, light up Francis.

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      • Tony Cerise@Bill Foley
        August 19, 2014, 3:33 pm

        Mr. Foley, I found your commentary very uninformed and your, “OK, professor, knock off the sanctimonious BS” when presented with overwhelming evidence of (updating with numbers from ALSA released today) $22.9 Million (and growing) compared to $1.9 million last year in raised funds from 453,210 first time donors, as very juvenile and ignorant. The Ice bucket challenge was been wildly successful far beyond the expectations of ALSA. Sure, there may be thousands of people that have done the challenge instead of paying but there is certainly a strong likelihood that many are doing the challenge AND donating. However, the money is great but unmeasured is the increased awareness of this horrific disease. As a writer of a sports blog I would expect a bit more excitement for the awareness and generosity of hundreds of thousands towards treating a disease responsible for the untimely death of one of history’s greatest ball players. At the very least I would expect you to have disagreed with Ms. Dinius with some class. Maybe you should dig out your credit card, hop online and donate yourself…icewater optional, but in my opinion you could really use a good chilling out.

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        • Bill Foley@Tony Cerise
          August 19, 2014, 3:54 pm

          I love how people act like I’ve somehow in favor of ALS, that I’ve never known anyone inflicted with disease or that I’ve never done anything for charity.
          Tony, when you’ve trained for a marathon, raised nearly $5,000 by yourself to run it and spent about $3,000 of your own money that you never really had to run the marathon, you can lecture me on what to do with my credit card. I didn’t see you name on the list of people who signed up to run with or offer a ride to the blind grandpa who running around the country to raise money to help fund the fight against Cystic Fibrosis. I hope you at least made a large donation, like I did, to his cause because Cystic Fibrosis is an awful disease, too.
          The column was about the people who made the ALS challenge all about themselves and don’t donate money. I think the people who are calling me uneducated or ignorant because they don’t agree with (or don’t completely understand) my opinion are the ones who need to relax.
          Jacqui, sorry about the sanctimonious line. It was out of line.

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          • mofoso fisto@Bill Foley
            September 17, 2020, 1:05 pm

            My first symptoms of ALS occurred in 2011, but was diagnosed in 2013. I had severe symptoms ranging from shortness of breath, balance problems, couldn’t walk without a walker or a power chair, i had difficulty swallowing and fatigue. I was given medications which helped but only for a short burst of time, then i decided to try alternative measures and began on ALS Formula treatment from Akanni herbal centre , It has made a tremendous difference for me (Visit www. akanniherbalcentre .com). I had improved walking balance, increased appetite, muscle strength, improved eyesight and others. 

            REPLY
          • Thato amelia@mofoso fisto
            August 8, 2021, 9:20 pm

            a walker or a power chair, i had difficulty swallowing and fatigue. I was given medications which helped but only for a short burst of time, then I decided to try alternative measures and began on ALS Formula treatment from Tree of Life Health clinic. It has made a tremendous difference for me (Visit w w w. treeoflifeherbalclinic .com ). I had improved walking balance, increased appetite, muscle strength, improved eyesight and others. ]

            REPLY
        • thato amelia@Tony Cerise
          November 25, 2022, 9:19 am

          My first symptoms of ALS occurred in 2014, but was diagnosed in 2016. I had severe symptoms ranging from shortness of breath, balance problems, couldn’t walk without a walker or a power chair, i had difficultyswallowing and fatigue. I was given medications which helped but only for a short burst of time, then I decided to try alternative measures and began on ALS Formula treatment from Tree of Life Health clinic. It has made a tremendous difference for me (Visit w w w. treeoflifeherbalclinic .com ). I had improved walking balance, increased appetite, muscle strength, improved eyesight and others. ]

          REPLY

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