Ice buckets and the human condition

By | August 28, 2014

Right. I am definitely heading hard and fast towards being a misanthropist. And people are making it easy too.

This last month saw the advent and exercising of the “Ice bucket challenge”. For those of you who don’t live on the interwebs, it’s a social media driven awareness campaign for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Take a moment and go and read up on it. It ain’t pretty. So loads of people the world over have been dumping buckets of ice water on themselves and challenging others to do so to raise awareness of this disease and to raise money for research and assistance towards ALS. Now, in my experience I’ve noted that people tend to fall into one of 4 major categories when they see or hear about this challenge.

1. The carry on’s

This is probably the majority. The people who see the challenge and then (by appearances) do nothing further. They carry on with life. They don’t do the challenge and you don’t know if they donated or not. I have no problem with this group. If you had to donate money or talk about every cause and charity that comes across your timeline your family would starve and their lives would be filled with almost nothing but misery.

About these people you can say nothing. Because you know nothing. Some of them do and donate nothing, others do and donate to various causes. You just don’t hear about it. No one but they themselves know. Kudos to them.

2. The full on supporters

These are the people who do do the challenge. They tell you why they’re doing it. They challenge others to do it. And they donate. From the efforts of this group, the ice bucket challenge worked. But more on that later.

3. The broken telephones

These people also do the challenge. But they don’t say why. Often times, they don’t know why. The message behind the challenge gets lost with them. The No-makeup selfie a few months back suffered badly from this group.

In future, if you happen to find yourself doing a challenge and you don’t know what it’s about, please spend 2 minutes on Google, find out what is going on, and put the message back.

4. The attackers

Ah. You lot. I wish text communication such as this blog would allow me to display the disdain and vitriol that I feel towards the vast majority of you. You don’t want to support the cause. Fine. You think there are more pressing issues that deserve the attention. Ok. I can understand and accept this. Opinions differ. You don’t have to agree or support the initiative, but please, Shut the fuck up! And no, I’m tired of being nice about it. So sit back and tremble as I go on a mouth frothing, fist shaking, foot stomping rant about you sacks of human excrement. And I’m going to destroy your arguments as well. Because I multitask like that.

Here’s the problem: Something good and decent is being done, and yes, perhaps for only a small percentage of our earthly population. And your response is to attack it? People are stepping up to the plate, and trying to help fix something and instead of going ‘Hallelujah! At least someone is doing something’ you instead spew criticism and bullshit? Do me a favor! Don’t look now, but your callous heartlessness and lack of compassion is showing. The next time you have the audacity to ask what is wrong with the world or what is wrong with people, go look in the mirror. Because you, my little retarded waste of space, and your ilk are a root cause.

I have volumes of names and insults (most of them probably true) I can throw at you but let’s rather get down to brass tacks, look at these attacks and criticisms and then cover why you’re wrong and should be ashamed of yourselves for spreading this garbage. Time for a list within a list

1. You don’t have to X to Y

10653483_744069798984361_1706890951639678645_n

This sums it up

I’m going to cover this one first, because it has a double meaning. It could either be in support of the movement: “Hey, you don’t have to do the challenge to donate, so support the cause” or it could be a criticism. The method of delivery tells me it’s most likely a criticism. For the people who fall into the first category, please make it clearer that that’s what you meant. For those using this as your criticism, by how far a margin can you miss the point?

Technically it’s correct. You don’t have to do X to do Y. But look up the word ‘awareness’. Wait, I might be overestimating you. Here, let me do it for you: Awareness. Get a grown up to explain it to you.

2. Water is a precious resource and you’re wasting it, there are people who don’t have access to water etc.

 Right you are. And the people who are doing something to help need to continue their fine work and we should support them more. It is a prominent issue that people deal with daily. People are dying because of it. It is very very very important. And you use it as a fucking excuse.

For years you barely hear a peep about saving water and how lucky we are for having access to clean running water. Other than that it’s pictures of pool parties. Fun days at the water park. Picnics with cooler boxes filled with ice that will be chucked out later without a thought. Turn your running water at home off for a few hours and it’s bitch and whine time about how much you are being inconvenienced. Not a faint glimmer of a mention how fortunate you are to at least have running water.

When you can use it as an excuse it’s all about the poor communities with no water and how we’re facing a crisis. Otherwise, fuck ’em. They have no impact on your life. No meaning. For you.

“But I’m serious!” you might yell at me in your annoyingly whiny voice. Are you now? Of the dozens of people I’ve seen who went down this path, only one, count them, one made any mention of doing something about it

This dude. And he’s at least nice about it

 No one else bothered to even mention, Wateraid, Charity Water or The Water Project. Nothing about Miya or Water is Life.

And water is being wasted? Seeing as most of these challenges are done outside, is it not feasible that the water evaporates? Returns to nature? The water cycle taught in schools ring a bell?

Think "Big Picture"

Think “Big Picture”

10527728_10154569903745173_3226506429862419791_n3. It’s pointless slacktivism

Really? Really really? A no make up selfie campaign raised 8 million pounds in 6 days or, the ice bucket challenge raises 96 million dollars in less than 30 days. It’s easy enough to go find the numbers.

Until such a point where you actually get off your lazy ass and show us how it is done, check your facts and sit quietly in your corner. You can still end up useful. Grow some fungus on your ass, science is making great strides in fungal technologies

4. But there are bigger diseases or problems…

…so why are we even bothering to support this one? Read this article by Scott Gilmore. His take on it is that there are diseases that kill more people and receive less public donations. Heart disease being the example he bases his numbers on. I’m not going to cover why this article makes Mr. Gilmore sound like a horrible human being. His numbers are accurate. His reasoning is fucked up. You see, he does leave out one critical piece of information. Pushes that button hard so you feel like shit for donating to the wrong cause!

But, hang on…public donations are not the biggest source of funding for most medical research. There is research grant money, government funding and big pharmaceutical companies spending money on it as well. You’re not taking all the funding sources into account. And you’re especially not taking funding source impact into account. According to the American National institutes of health, the non-donation funding in 2013 for ALS was 39,000,000 dollars (39 million). For heart disease it was $1,230,000,000 (1 point 2 billion) or 31 times more. Now if you take Gilmore’s figures and make a little comparison, you find that public donations in 2013 for ALS (at $23 million) was 58% of their research funding whereas public donations for heart disease (at $54 million) was 4.3% of their funding. So if you take research funding and public funding for the year into account, more than half of the ALS monies were from public donations whereas the heart disease public donations were not even 5%.

Don’t forget, it’s not the money that will have a direct impact on the people suffering from these conditions, it’s the research. You have to ask how much impact the money has on the research. When you break down the numbers like this it becomes much clearer why a lot of these rare diseases and other ‘smaller population impact’ causes need the public donations so much more. Because in many cases, without these donations the people trying to do something about it would not be able to do it at all. So the next time someone tries to tell you not to donate to a cause because it’s not popular enough, look at the numbers and ask yourself how close would the lack of donations bring that cause to closing up shop completely?

But there is an even bigger issue that Gilmore and other orgasms-that-should-not-have-been like him are bringing to the party. They created a new ‘ism’. We already have enough issues to resolve with racism, sexism, cultural bias, religious bias and the whole gamut. Now, using tricks from the same arsenal as all the others, they gone and created ‘disease-ism‘. The underlying current now starting to go around with people thinking less of other peoples suffering based on the popularity and prevalence of the disease they have.

The Human Condition

That there are people hating on these efforts at doing good does not surprise me. There will always be haters. It’s that there are so fucking many. Every day John and Jane Averages pissing all over what is a positive cause. Not some terrorist or warlord in a far off country. Not some politician or billionaire who demands more resources instead of human rights. No, normal people. Every day people. People I know. People you know. Shit, there’s a very high chance you’re one of them.

And people wonder why I think we as a species needs some culling.

Mr Sinister

 

(For related reading and more things to consider, go do some research on Parkinson’s disease and its awareness)

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