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The Ice Bucket Challenge

I was wondering if ehell would comment about the “ice bucket challenge” movement currently sweeping Facebook. As I understand it, when someone “challenges” you, you have 24 hours to either donate $100 to a charity (ALS research seems to be the most common in the US) or have a bucket of ice water dumped over your head. In some versions, it’s $100 or do the ice bucket and only donate $10. Then you challenge someone(s) else. The majority of the videos are celebrities who can easily afford it. Still, I find the concept of calling someone out in a public way and essentially demanding they donate to the charity of YOUR choice or engage in a ritual of public humiliation extremely rude, besides just being out and out dumb. Yet these videos are all over Facebook and people seem to love them.

It’s currently making the rounds on Facebook among the teenagers and young adults of my acquaintance.   My thought is that, knowing who I see dumping ice water on their heads, it is quite unlikely they donated any money whatsoever due to their own limited financial ability to do so.   I don’t see any information on Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS) so the ice water dumping doesn’t appear to even have a positive educational aspect to it.   It’s merely a summer fad…a video form of a selfie doing something everyone else is doing without any real conviction as to why one would submit to being doused with ice water.

I had a chuckle yesterday when a young friend of mine, a mother, mistakenly thought she had been tagged in a Facebook post to do this challenge. Her response was, “Really scared there that you tagged me and I would have to be like: ‘Hahahahahahaaaa. No.'”    You gotta love that gutsy polite spine.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Josh August 20, 2014, 10:29 am

    Donations are up $23 million dollars as of Tuesday morning. Fad or no, at least the research organization is seeing an increase in funding.


    “I know that many people are wondering what The ALS Association is going to do with these donations,” Barbara Newhouse, the association’s CEO and president said over the weekend. “My answer is this: invest prudently in helping people with ALS and their families and caregivers in the battle against the disease, while resolutely pursuing all avenues to extend, improve and ultimately save lives.”

  • Nicole August 20, 2014, 10:40 am

    Seeing as how it had led to over $20 million in donations in the last three weeks and 450,000 new donors to the ALS Association, it seems to be working. Not everyone has spare money to give, but raising awareness makes a difference. How many people saw something in their facebook feed about the ice bucket challenge and then googled it if there was no accompanying information? Right away the ALS Association pops up.

    This is no different than a dunk tank at a volunteer firemen’s fundraiser, or someone shaving their head if they raise a certain amount of funds. Or my elementary school principal promising to dress up like Old Mother Hubbard and stand on the roof of the school if we met our goal for reading. (We did. When you are 8 years old it is extremely funny to see a 40 year old man wearing a garish oversized housedress and ratty gray wig). Humiliation is a prime motivator for people (Americans?) whether we are avoiding the humiliation ourselves or anticiapting the humiliation of another. No one on Facebook can make you do anything you do not want to do. If you are offended you always have the option to delete and/or block. Otherwise, keep calm and scroll on. Like Admin relates about her friend, you can just say no.

    • iwadasn August 20, 2014, 8:22 pm

      Those situations are very different from the ice bucket challenge. Those are examples of someone else offering to embarrass themselves in order to persuade you to make a donation/read. The ice bucket challenge is an attempt to force you to either embarrass yourself or make a donation. It doesn’t matter that they can’t actually force you to do anything–the attempt alone is rude. If the ice bucket challenge were truly a parallel to the situations you brought up, it would involve people offering to dump a bucket of ice water on themselves if other people agreed to donate.

  • AM August 20, 2014, 10:44 am

    A Facebook friend of mine was “tagged” to do the ALS ice bucket challenge, so he made his own video explaining why he would *not* be donating to ALS research, but would instead donate to the charity of his choice (and showed a check to that organization). Oh, and he did NOT dump a bucket of ice water on his head!!

    I think raising awareness of ANY disease is a good idea, but this ice bucket thing has just become a farce.

  • Ceredwin August 20, 2014, 10:46 am

    I think the best one I’ve seen is Charlie Sheen’s (http://imgur.com/8rlhIUQ) He may be a total lunatic, but it basically says what I’m thinking with things like this.

  • AnaMaria August 20, 2014, 10:53 am

    I read last night that the ice bucket challenge has raised over $13 million for ALS research, and families of people dealing with ALS have expressed their appreciation for the challenge. I haven’t been tagged yet, but I will probably donate some amount if I do receive a nomination.

    My thoughts for those who do participate: think before you tag. If a person usually doesn’t post silly pictures of videos of themselves, then they might not be up for it. Even if you think you tagged the most outgoing, carefree of your friends, respect their right to say no. As far as donations, let people give as they choose. Some people don’t have $100 laying around, and $10 might be a huge sacrifice on their part.

    • ally August 22, 2014, 10:20 am

      Just to use your comment as an example of mentality, and not to call you out specifically, but the tagging thing is my problem. You sy you’ll donate if you’re tagged. If it’s such a good cause, why not donate anyway? Why not do something good and quietly feel good about it. Why do we as a society have to wait to be called out to do something good, and then post about how awesome we are for doing it?

  • Harley Granny August 20, 2014, 10:53 am

    I feel some people take this way too seriously.

    It’s gone around my group of friends and handily raised $15K
    We did the challage but also made the donation.

    It was created to bring attention to ALS.
    The way I look at it if it creates and interest in the cause it’s well worth it.

    No one forces any one to do it.

  • Skeptikal August 20, 2014, 11:01 am

    According to ALS, the ice bucket challenge is working: “As of Wednesday, August 20, The ALS Association has received $31.5 million in donations compared to $1.9 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 20). These donations have come from existing donors and 637,527 new donors to The Association.” from http://www.alsa.org/news/media/press-releases/ice-bucket-challenge-082014.html

  • clownface August 20, 2014, 11:09 am

    While I agree that this is a silly stunt, the silly stunt has raised over 13 million dollars for ALS (compared to last year during the same time period they raised 1.7 million dollars). The videos I have seen have spoken about the disease and mentioned loved ones/friends who suffer/have suffered.
    I agree that dumping a bucket of ice water over my head is not my idea of a good time, lots of people are having fun with it and donating money/raising awareness. if you don’t want to participate/this isn’t a charity of your choice- that’s ok. It’s only FB- no one is forcing you to do either.

  • Ashley August 20, 2014, 11:15 am

    It has raised quite a bit of money for ALS, to the tune of 15 million the last time those numbers got reported that I heard anyway. So that’s good because it means a lot of people are donating and must be passing the info on for others to donate.

    I think it’s fun and silly and if you want to dump a bucket of ice water over your head and give to charity, great! However, I don’t like the calling out aspect of it. I’ve never liked anyone calling anyone out. I’ll use myself as an example here. Several of my friends and family members have done this whole ice bucket thing. I’m sick right now. I just got back from a convention and picked up con crud and I feel like death. The last thing I want is a bucket of ice water over my head. I want a nap and to be warm. So if one of my friends who has done it suddenly decides to call me out, I’m not going to do it simply because I don’t think it will help my illness go away. While I am 99.9% sure my friends would be understanding of that fact, I just KNOW there are other people out there with “Friends” who will continue to give a person grief until that person finally gives in and does it, saying stuff like “Don’t you care about charity, blah blah blah!”

    I also don’t like that it is pretty painfully obvious that there are some people doing it just for the likes. While all of my friends and family who have done it have mentioned how/where to donate, I’ve seen plenty of people who just yell “ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE!” and proceed to get doused and that’s it. Not even mentioning WHY they are doing it. It’s been in the news so I’d suspect most people know why, but lets say someone happens to not know, then the first video they see about it is one of those people just doing it with literally no context or mention of ALS…They might think it’s just some stupid trend. It doesn’t even raise awareness in any way. Even if you can’t manage to donate, at least mention what it’s for…

    • Just Call Me J August 21, 2014, 5:03 am

      ” I just KNOW there are other people out there with “Friends” who will continue to give a person grief until that person finally gives in and does it, saying stuff like “Don’t you care about charity, blah blah blah!””

      People like that are what the “block” function on social media is for.

      I’ve already told people if they tag me for this, or if they hound me after someone else tags me, I will simply block them. This is my standard guilt-trip chain letter policy. I do not like being bullied into doing something not mandated by law, even if I might have chosen to do that exact same something had I simply been asked politely.

  • Victoria August 20, 2014, 11:15 am

    It was originally started to help ALS charities, but as the fad spread the ALS charities were being mentioned less and less. Steve-O wrote a post about it here: http://www.lamebook.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/way-to-go-steve-o.jpg

    May have some naughty words, it is Steve-O after all.

  • Shoebox August 20, 2014, 11:26 am

    Admin has it right; it’s no more or less than the latest social media fad, and a rather clever one really, rewarding people’s charitable impulses with their desire for online attention and ‘likes’. Far from a ‘ritual of public humiliation’, it’s generally seen as a chance to come up with a really awesome/outrageous stunt (one young celebrity chef pulled it using fetid NY canal water, dry ice and several pounds of dead fish). Even if you don’t buy into that aspect, it’s still nothing more than a good-natured goof for a good cause, and as Admin’s acquaintance demonstrates, isn’t hurting anyone with an ounce of common sense.

    So while it’s kind of the OP to be offended on the challengees’ behalf, she’d be far better off merely chuckling and letting it run its course, which should be very shortly now.

    • lakey August 20, 2014, 3:57 pm

      I think that there is the aspect of being publicly asked to donate $100. I don’t like the idea of being asked to donate a rather large amount of money in a public forum. For some people $100 is a lot of money, and if they refuse to donate it, they can feel like they look cheap, or don’t care about the disease. Yes, people can say no to both the ice bucket and the donation, but there is still the question of whether it is rude to put someone on the spot in public. I think it is rude.

      • Margo August 21, 2014, 4:11 am

        The thing is, no one knows, unless you tell them, whether you donated or not. You don’t have to say no, you can simply chose not to respond at all.

        I think you can argue that any kind of request for money is rude, but charities ask for money all the time. I don’t think challenging someone is inherently rude. I think if you challenge someone and then chase them up, or badger them, if they don’t publicly respond, then it becomes rude.

        It’s similar to someone with a collecting bucket in the street. A single, polite request, or shake of the bucket, as you pass, is not rude. Getting in our face, following you, asking ‘don’t you care about starving orphans/ fluffy bunnies / whatever’ *is* rude.

        This is raising a lot of money for a number of charities in different countries. Most of the celebrities I’ve seen do take time to say what it is for, and as was said up-thread, if you don;t know, and google the term, then the charity pops up, so it is also working to make people more aware of the causes involved.

  • JO August 20, 2014, 11:38 am

    I’m sorry, but no. It is not dumb. And it may be a “fad,” and probably lots of people have done this just for that reason. But I have lots of friends who have been challenged and DID donate. Although the accounts of numbers differ, it is undeniable that this challenge has raised lots of money for ALS sufferers. I have also seen a great many of these videos with links to websites, and/or short synopses about the disease, so I believe it is raising awareness as well. If you don’t want to participate, just don’t. You are well within your rights to simply ignore any requests to participate, but neither should you disparage anyone else who participates. Just because some people are in on it because it’s the “cool” thing to do right now, doesn’t mean it’s doing no good.

  • Jelaza August 20, 2014, 11:39 am

    My company did this challenge right. They had an event where for each person who showed up and iced themselves, they (the company) donated $X to charity, and each person got a $5 giftcard.

    • Snarkastic August 20, 2014, 2:37 pm

      They paid you to do charity?

      • Jelaza August 20, 2014, 8:52 pm

        Not me, because I didn’t go. But yes, there were over 50 employees there, and each one got a gift card, and got paid for the time they were there.

        But my point is, I can get behind either “If someone pours a bucket of water on themselves, I will donate.” (using a previous posters dunk-tank-example: like the people who pay to dunk someone in a dunk tank) or “If somone donates, I will pour a bucket of water on myself.” (like the people who volunteer to be in the dunk tank) but “You must donate (to my choice of charity) and/or dump a bucket of water on yourself.” is just rather overbearing.

  • Susan August 20, 2014, 11:43 am

    This is just yet another form of engaging in rudeness for the Sake of a Good Cause. The prior pitch was “I’m running/biking/dancing for Cause A and you can sponsor me by paying B dollars for every C mile/hour I last.”

    Every once in a while I’ll contribute to someone’s thing-a-thon because it overlaps- or at least does not conflict- with my interests and I feel moved to do the person a favor. But my default response tends to be “Glad to see you so excited about your cause. My favorite charity is D, so how about for every dollar you donate to that, I’ll donate the same amount to yours!”

    Haven’t yet had any takers.

    • Rodinne August 20, 2014, 3:24 pm

      So you’re not offering to go do something, like walk 5K or ride 20 miles? You just want people to donate money to your favorite charity?

      There’s nothing rude about a something-a-thon. It’s a time honored way of raising money. I raised money for Reading Is Fundamental by taking part in a readathon forty-some years ago. If you don’t want to support your friends’ efforts, no one will fault you, but demanding tit-for-tat donations when you aren’t willing to expend any effort seems to me to be the real rudeness.

      • Steve August 20, 2014, 7:11 pm

        This makes no sense.

    • Phitius August 20, 2014, 4:39 pm

      I’m so adding ‘thing-a-thon’ to my vocabulary.

  • Jinx August 20, 2014, 11:43 am

    It does seem a little pushy, when you consider it’s a demand.

    I try to not think about the bad if it so much. Those on my friends list who didn’t want to do it merely ignored the challenge, without anyone nagging at them. There’s no way to stop the movement. I vote if anyone doesn’t want to donate, it seems best to just ignore it, discussing your charitable contributions are private if necessary.

    Though naggy, on the upside, people seem to be having fun and ALSA . org boasts a donated $31.5 million dollars this summer (from $1.9 million during the same time period last year).

    So, while some people aren’t learning about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and there is a huge pushiness factor, hopefully the money is being funded towards research towards a terrible degenerative disease.

  • RUsmiles August 20, 2014, 12:03 pm

    This is the first time I have been moved to comment, after following the site for several years.

    From an etiquette standpoint, no one is forcing their friends to humiliate themselves or demanding that those who have been challenged show proof of donations. They are asking their friends (those who have accepted friend requests on social media) to participate in a movement that is raising awareness and funds to help people who have been affected by a fatal illness. As always, people are free to politely decline or simply not respond to the Facebook post.

    As far as the effectiveness of this campaign, the ALS Association has received $22.9 million in donations in the past 3 weeks, compared to $1.9 million during the same time frame last year. 453,210 new donors have contributed to the organization. I think it is unkind to call everyone who has participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge dumb or without conviction. Obviously people are much more aware of ALS and it’s effects than they were a year ago.

    • Marie August 20, 2014, 3:29 pm

      I agree. I think anyone who is quick to dismiss this as “simply a fad”, when it has in fact helped generated millions of extra dollars for a worthy cause, is just jumping to conclusions and not actually doing any research into the benefits of this “fad”. I work for a hospital with a strong ALS research program, and the ice bucket challenge HAS in fact helped with awareness and with donations.

      • admin August 20, 2014, 5:40 pm

        The compelling aspect about etiquette is that the “rules” don’t change from situation to situation just because the outcome of one situation has a feel good ending. Peer pressuring people to donate to a cause they otherwise would not have using social media to achieve that fundraising goal is intrinsically rude regardless of which charity or disease would benefit from such coercion. It’s a *CHALLENGE* which is defined as “calling someone out to take part in a contest or competition” and the use of social media to issue that challenge intensifies the social pressure to conform. Do you really think the ice water challenge would have been as popular as it’s been if these challenges were done in private email? Highly doubtful.

        In any other charitable fundraising context, readers of this site would have ruffled their feathers at the thought of someone demanding they donate X amount of money to their favorite, personal charity.

        • SJ August 20, 2014, 6:09 pm

          Also, the challenges are somewhat public. That rubs me the wrong way.

        • SweetPea August 20, 2014, 6:13 pm

          I think that people are being awfully ruffley at the wording of this. Challenge. Called out. While it is indeed important, and indeed worthwhile, to point out flaws in etiquette we experience, to disallow some wiggle room based on diction and word usage is shameful. Language changes, depending on who uses it. If I were “challenged” or called out in this setting, I would not view this as an insult. You are taking the wording and letting yourself be irritated. This is your choice. Nobody is chasing you with an ice bucket, nor am I going to follow up to see if you donated.

          There are many fundraising and “knowledge events.” There are many ways to raise awareness. It is unfortunate that your feathers have been ruffled, but the op, the admin, and some of the other commenters have got to simmer down, otherwise you are going to wind up swallowed up by a never ending spin-cycle of irritation every time someone does something you don’t like.

          Is this wildly different from the spaghetti dinner event your pastor shares on Facebook, beyond the fact that this has reached a wider audience? No. People can (and do) share the speggeti dinner event directly to their friends/family/whoever. Are we made aware of the dinner event? Yes. Are we asked to participate? Yes . Are we asked to donate? Yes. Are our friends offended when we say no thank you? No.

          This “challenge” has made you aware. You now have the choice to act. You have chosen to be offended instead. Either let it go and say no to the proverbial speggeti dinner, or chose to donate. Choose to ice bucket, or choose not to. Replace the word challenge with request, and understand that words have many meanings.

        • Steve August 20, 2014, 7:14 pm

          This is precisely what many refuse to see. If people disapproved of the charity, they would have no problem calling the tactic rude. End justifies the means.

        • JO August 20, 2014, 8:22 pm

          At least as far back as this civil war (and probably before), ladies and gentlemen at very dignified social gatherings would be asked to remove jewelry and donate it to patriotic or other charitable causes. Fundraising events where people were asked to donate cash or goods to an effort date back hundreds of years, and these were very much public events, where people would be called out individually to do their part. How would anyone ever donate to anything, if they were not asked? So as I see it, the forum may have changed, but ettiquette-wise how is it really any different? More public, yes, but now as then, folks are free to decline as they wish.

          • Kate August 22, 2014, 10:08 am

            Just because something happened a long time ago and no one we are aware of back then doesn’t make it okay or a part of etiquette!

          • Kate August 22, 2014, 10:09 am

            No one we are aware of back then objected, I meant to write.

        • NostalgicGal August 20, 2014, 9:01 pm

          My spouse has gotten a few calls on FB about it, and one can just decline.

          Although at 100F plus and baked brick summer days, he said he wouldn’t mind sitting in a kiddie pool and having a bucket of ice cubes dumped over him.

          One can just decline. If you have FB friends that would then jump on you for not, unfriend them until they buy a clue or just ignore them. I’m for the awareness, I’m for the funds raised, and I’m against the Boorons that are jumping on those that decline.

      • kit August 22, 2014, 3:54 pm

        Well, if it hadn’t been for the answers for this post, I would have never known it was something else than a fad, that is, that there was any awareness thingy behind them…

  • Kimbubbley August 20, 2014, 12:22 pm

    Donations to ALSA are up from $32K last year to over $5 MILLION, this year, over the same period, owing entirely to the ice bucket challenge, according to the ALSA, itself. There are also dozens of videos of ALS sufferers and/or their families applauding the ice bucket challenge as much for the money received as for the awareness raised.

    I, myself, know FAR more about ALS today than I did 2 weeks ago AND I donated money to them, this month, rather than to charities that, on average, garner more attention – St. Jude’s, the Heart Association, cancer charities, or Wounded Warrior.

    Isn’t assuming someone’s financial position based upon their age somewhat rude?

    While I agree that the whole thing feeds into modern social media narcissism, it’s also done a lot of good for a cause whose main claim to fame is a legendary baseball player – other than him, what do most people know about ALS? If you get tagged by someone who obviously doesn’t know you well enough to know that you wouldn’t play along, rest assured that no one is going to appear on your doorstep to force you to either douse yourself or write a check. Ignore the tag and move on.

    I’ve got two friends on FB that feel the same as OP. Both opted to voice their opinion in the comments of the videos that they were tagged in and both were jumped on as “cranky”, “grumpy”, “uncharitable”, etc. by netizens knew them and netizens that did not. Keep your head down, hold your tongue and move on. Consider it a sales pitch that you’re not interested in.

    • Steve August 20, 2014, 2:15 pm

      Thank you for perfectly encapsulating the arrogance of this challenge.

      “I’ve got two friends on FB that feel the same as OP. Both opted to voice their opinion in the comments of the videos that they were tagged in and both were jumped on as “cranky”, “grumpy”, “uncharitable”, etc. by netizens knew them and netizens that did not. Keep your head down, hold your tongue and move on.”

      How dare they! Can you even imagine, someone who disagrees being so bold as to actually voice their opinion? Horrors! Don’t they understand that the ice bucket challengers are on the side of Right and the True, and they are simply Wrong, and so they should keep their opinions to themselves rather than presume to react to being personally called out on a global medium?

      At least the side of Right and Good and True proved its worth with name-calling of complete strangers. Phew.

      Here’s the reality:

      Your opinion of a cause that you deem worthy gives you zero moral superiority and zerorights to tell me what to do or say. Period.

      • Kate August 20, 2014, 8:35 pm

        Thank you Steve! When will people learn that the end DOES NOT justify the means? I posted a comment in the same vein.

      • Surianne August 21, 2014, 2:30 pm

        Steve, aren’t you being just as insulting and rude towards those of us who like the challenge as you accuse everyone else of being?

        • Steve August 21, 2014, 11:44 pm


          • Peas August 22, 2014, 9:07 am

            Care to elaborate how it is different?

        • Library Diva August 22, 2014, 10:00 am

          I think that’s why people who’ve voiced their opinions against the challenge get pushback. They’re not politely saying “Thanks, that’s not my thing.” They’re trying to make the people who tagged them feel like sheep, or like rude people, or water-wasters, or whatever. It’s just as unpleasant as the person who has to chime in about how much they hate cats when you post a cute cat video, or the person who feels compelled to tell you how stupid the movie you’re seeing this weekend is, or how much they hated the place you plan to go on vacation.

          The polite thing to do is to let this stuff pass without comment as long as it’s truly harmless, or if you feel you absolutely must say something, do it in a neutral way: “I hope you like it better than I did” or “Not my thing, but enjoy.” Isn’t it a rule of etiquette that you don’t call others out on their etiquette lapses unless it’s your role to do so (i.e. if you are a parent, or if you are assisting someone from another culture in learning the rules of your own)?

      • Kimbubbley August 21, 2014, 3:01 pm

        Oh, I AGREE with you on that point! Thus, my advice to the OP was to “keep your head down, hold your tongue and move on”.

        Really, doesn’t this fall under “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”?

      • Library Diva August 21, 2014, 3:27 pm

        People don’t like having others rain on their parade (one might say it’s like a bucket of ice water over the head, but that metaphor breaks down somewhat in this case…) If you get tagged and don’t want to do it, the polite thing to do is either ignore it or decline in a non-confrontational manner. If you rail against the person who tagged you as being a rude, water-wasting sheeple who doesn’t know the meaning of charity or originality, don’t be surprised if you get some pushback. People who are having fun with something never want some Debbie Downer coming along and tsk-tsking them. As long as the activity in question isn’t causing any harm, why make people feel bad for doing whatever it is they’re doing?

        • admin August 23, 2014, 9:12 am

          So, the two firefighters who were seriously injured a few days ago during an ice water challenge are just collateral damage for the greater cause of raising money? I think that particular situation needed a Debbie Downer to stop a foolish stunt that HARMED at least 2 people.

          • Library Diva August 29, 2014, 10:14 am

            I’m sorry that they were killed. It was a very sad thing, and someone saying “Hey, maybe you should back that truck several feet away from those electrical wires/not go up so high/do this from a ladder” would hardly have been a Debbie Downer, because they would have been pointing out a legitimate safety concern. It’s a shame that no one did say anything in that case.

            But most people who do this challenge are not putting themselves in harm’s way. They do it in their yards or driveways, generally while sober, rarely while already seriously ill, and the biggest danger they’re probably exposing themselves to is feeling chilly or getting a bruise from a chunk of ice. So why put them down for this? Personally, I find the slew of MLM invites on Facebook much more invasive and potentially damaging to the people acting as “consultants.” But I don’t put them down for what they’re doing. I just politely decline and remove myself from their various groups.

  • Goldie August 20, 2014, 12:32 pm

    It’s currently making rounds on Facebook among, oh, everyone of my acquaintance. So far, thankfully, no one has tagged me. If someone does, I’ll just ignore it. I pretty much share the OP’s view on this – I think it’s pushy, intrusive, and humiliating for those having to publicly admit they do not have the $100.

    • Olivia August 20, 2014, 5:38 pm

      No one has to publicly admit they don’t have $100

  • Calli Arcale August 20, 2014, 12:33 pm

    I’ve seen exactly one ice bucket challenge video that had useful information in it — the gentleman receiving the icewater over the head had been diagnosed with ALS a few weeks previously, has a long family history with the condition (the video shows him caring for his mother, who is in a very advanced state of the disease, which means not only is he caring for her but he’s also getting a glimpse into his own future), and is absolutely ecstatic to have a decent amount of money suddenly getting raised for the disease. So although I personally think the icewater challenge is kind of stupid (why not just donate the money, why do you have to make a spectacle out of it?), I have to admit he’s right — here’s this terrifying disease that doesn’t get much attention, and suddenly it’s getting a lot. So some good may come out of this, and I find that heartening.

    That said, I will not be contributing to any ice bucket challenges. I feel charitable donations should generally be private, with neither reward nor accolades expected in return. If you want to contribute to ALS research, contribute! It’s a very good cause.

    • KissofLye August 20, 2014, 4:31 pm

      Anthony Carabajal is the young man’s name. It’s a really good video. The beginning is so silly and funny with him mimicking the sexy, woman washing a car tropes and then it cuts to him talking about being diagnosed and caring for his mother. I have nothing but respect for him.

      There are also several videos with individuals suffering from ALS (most in fairly advance stages of paralysis) participating in the challenge as well. The one I was a man paralyzed from the neck down who spoke about the disease with his speech synthesizer and then used Texas shaped ice cubes and had them dumped on his head.

      So I think it’s part fad but part brilliant fundraising for a very ignored disease. I can’t bring it in my heart to find it tacky or rude.

  • Aunt4god August 20, 2014, 12:53 pm

    If you do a quick google search, you will find the challenge is greatly helping raise money for ALS research. It’s all in fun, so why put people down for it? If you don’t want to do it, don’t. I can’t do, it myself due to physical problems.


    I’ll just leave you with this article about it.

  • White Lotus August 20, 2014, 1:09 pm

    This seems so weird! The people who are getting ice poured on them are the ones who DON’T donate? So why is that a big deal? Why should NOT donating to a cause be newsworthy? I also don’t get the extortion aspect of this. I do not get this or ant part of it at all. Extortion? I am opting out. If I don’t donate to your preferred charity and you dump ice and water on me, that is assault and I am calling the cops.

    • Tanya August 20, 2014, 8:46 pm

      the challenge is to either donate $100, or donate $10 and douse yourself in ice.

    • Vicki Cole August 20, 2014, 9:18 pm

      Actually, the vast majority of people who take the challenge ALSO donate money. I have no problem with someone “calling out” other people to take the challenge IF there is a definite understanding that those being called out should NOT be denigrated if they choose to not accept.

      As someone who lost a dear friend to ALS years ago, I’m glad that so much attention is now being paid to this horrible disease, and that people are becoming educated about it. I just hope that after the “fad” disappears, people will continue to support the fight against ALS.

      And for what it’s worth – no, I haven’t taken the challenge (health problems prohibit it) but I HAVE donated.

    • Margo August 21, 2014, 4:19 am

      No-one is getting ice water dumped on them against their will. People are *choosing* to do it to themselves, with a view to publicising the fundraising effort.

      No one has to donate, no one has to volunteer to pour ice water over themself or have it poured over them.

      If you have friends or colleagues who would publicly call you out if you chose not to participate then obviously that would be rude of them, but it is not generally considered rude to ask people to donate to charity. I don’t think that phrasing it as a challenge changes that. It isn’t uncommon for charity events to be framed as a ‘challenge’, it doesn’t mean you personally have to accept it.

  • Redneck Gravy August 20, 2014, 1:41 pm

    I have a cousin that died from ALS, my mom died from bladder cancer, my brother has pancreatic cancer, our dad had heart disease (as did his dad), I have had skin cancer a couple of times, had an SIL die from breast cancer, BIL from lung cancer, aunt died from bone cancer, one grandmother from brain cancer, aunt from uterine cancer, had a cousin with Down’s Syndrome that participated in Special Olympics…I’m also a fan of Michael J Fox, who suffers from Parkinson’s Disease. I am sure everyone has a list of worthy charities close to their own hearts.

    It’s a fad I don’t care for but I say more power to ALS – it’s raising them money. I am not participating in the challenge or the giving, that doesn’t make me scroogy, my donations will continue to other worthy charities.

    It’s a worthy cause, give if it suits you, do the ice bucket challenge if it suits you, if not I don’t see that it’s anyone else’s business either way. There’s no way in eHell I am pouring water on me other than in the shower.

  • Dee August 20, 2014, 1:56 pm

    Well, if you are inclined to take up the challenge but refuse to video yourself – because maybe you aren’t a social media attention hound? – then no one will ever know you did it. No one will know you nominated anyone else unless you invite someone to witness it or you call up the people you nominated. Those people only. In other words, you are free to take the challenge or deny it without public humiliation if you simply don’t broadcast it. Of course, that’s contrary to the whole scheme, as this is much less about raising funds as it is about being a celebrity, if only for a day. Refuse to be the latter and nobody will notice.

  • Stacey Frith-Smith August 20, 2014, 2:23 pm
  • Snarkastic August 20, 2014, 2:27 pm

    This post is perfectly timed! I just wrote a tweet posing a similar question: I supposed that while people dumping ice water over their heads was calling attention to ALS, I couldn’t figure out how this helped with fundraising. I seriously doubt everyone across the country is doing this for altruistic reasons. “Look at me! I’m a giver! I care so much! Oh, gee, now what did I do with my checkbook? I could have sworn it was in this drawer…”

  • Livvy17 August 20, 2014, 2:35 pm

    At least this, unlike other “please share!” items, is a call to real action, real donations in the physical world. As so many others have mentioned, it’s resulted in real dollars being donated to ALS.

    I’ll totally support the admin on the etiquette side of things, she’s perfectly correct; but I disagree with the spirit of trying to stamp out real, positive action in the name of politeness.

    • JO August 20, 2014, 8:25 pm

      Hear, hear!

    • Melanie August 20, 2014, 10:13 pm

      I love the way you put it. And, many of us have a polite spine and can refuse things like this if we so choose, and we don’t care if people call us “grumpy” or “cheap.”

  • Freq Flyer August 20, 2014, 2:46 pm

    In our company of 48 people, one recently had to resign due to ALS. He is a wonderful person, well-liked by everyone.

    In his honor, the company president challenged everyone to the ice bucket challenge, including himself. He said the company would donate $10,00o if everyone in the company participated. (Excepting one woman with her broken leg in a cast.)

    So, last Friday, we came to work with bathing suits, t-shirts, shorts and towels in gym bags. The boss told us to all knock off work two hours early, and paid for our time. We changed clothes then we all got dunked. Broken-Leg Lady was the official videographer. In 100-degress hot Southern California, it felt GREAT!

    We did it because we have huge respect and love for our former co-worker who has ALS. He was too sick to be there in person, but he watched over the web. His wife, by his side, told us how much he appreciated our efforts and how great we all looked dripping wet, especially his long-time personal friend the company president.

    No one was forced. Everyone happy to do something fun and positive for our dear friend. Even the lady with the broken leg was happy to participate. Ages ranged from about mid-30s to early 60s.

    • admin August 20, 2014, 5:48 pm

      I have deep issues with a wealthy donor making people, in this case his employees, jump through hoops like trained monkeys before the purse strings are loosened. If you are going to give 10K to a worthy cause, then do it but don’t debase the act of charity by insisting people must perform before you write that check.

      • S August 20, 2014, 9:02 pm

        They didn’t jump through hoops like trained monkeys, Freq Flyer said everyone was happy to participate. Sounds wonderful to me.

      • Vicki Cole August 20, 2014, 9:21 pm

        Maybe the boss knew his employees well enough (this sounds like a small business, so it’s very likely) to know that the challenge would be fun for them, and would also give them a feeling of having done something for their former co-worker. There’s also the fact that everyone got two hours of paid leave!

        • admin August 21, 2014, 5:26 am

          Does the engine of your charity need to be oiled with the dangling carrot of two hours of paid time off from work? I don’t think you see what I see. I find it disconcerting that one’s charitable giving is prompted by the receipt of some tangible benefit whether it is 2 hours of paid leave, a gift card as someone mentioned earlier, public kudos/attention, etc.

          • Peas August 21, 2014, 6:59 am

            IT sounds like they were happy to make this gesture towards their coworker even without the incentive. Why do you have such a problem with people WANTING to do this?

          • admin August 21, 2014, 9:21 am

            I have a problem with a person who has the financial means to donate $10,000.00 but withholds it until some number of people execute a specific action.

          • j. August 21, 2014, 10:31 am

            I see where the admin is coming from here. If it’s the check, and not the ice bucket, that actually helps the charity then why not just write the check? I think of this every October when there are so many breast cancer things going on… there is a yogurt company that will donate 10 cents for every used foil lid you mail back to them. But if you read the fine print they already have a set amount they are planning to donate, like $150K or something. If that’s the case, why not just write the check and not have to traffic in licked yogurt lids (eeeuww!) ?

      • Lacey August 21, 2014, 9:10 pm

        I agree. You say you weren’t forced, but what would the office/boss’s reaction be if someone didn’t want to participate?

    • Steve August 20, 2014, 7:30 pm

      The system keeps eating my comment.

      This is not just rude, it is morally repulsive. A person with power over others’ livelihoods forces them to strip and humiliate themselves in public “for a good cause?” And you say no one was forced? What naïveté.

    • Specky August 20, 2014, 8:38 pm

      The president said he would make the donation ONLY if everyone participated? No pressure, eh? If he was happy to make the donation, he should have happily made the donation without pressuring subordinate employees to participate.

      • Bri August 21, 2014, 10:17 am

        “He said the company would donate $10,00o if everyone in the company participated.” No where does it say ‘only’ and no where does it say he wasn’t going to donate anyway. From the sounds of it this is something everyone was wholeheartedly a part of and happily did.

        Reading the comments on this post, it’s starting to sound like some people are just *looking* to be pissed off.

      • PrettySticks August 21, 2014, 10:34 am

        Considering that this poster was actually present at the event (and participated him/herself) and says that everyone was in good spirits about it, I really see no reason to dispute that. Sure, the president *could* have just written the check himself without challenging the staff, but then the donation would have been from him, one rich guy. Instead, he found a way to make it from the whole community of coworkers, and it seemed the gentleman suffering from ALS, as well his colleagues, appreciated the sentiment. Why the need to harsh on it?

        And I do not get the sense from the story that if 46 of the 48 employees had shown up and doused themselves, the boss would have taken a head count, said “No dice!” and torn up the check. And I’m pretty cynical.

        • Steve August 21, 2014, 1:59 pm

          Sure. And nobody ever minds a money dance or a cash bar or a Honeyfund at a wedding, or the bride would know about it!

        • Kate August 22, 2014, 10:19 am

          There is such a thing as peer pressure. A lot of people on here don’t seem to understand why some of us dislike and would refuse to participate in the challenge. Some commenters have mentioned the negative reactions and name calling of the so-called charitable people who are doing the challenge towards those who won’t do it.

          In this economy, who is going to dare step a toe out of line and be the two that the other 46 all dislike or think less of, even if those 46 are being rude and in the wrong?

  • froyo August 20, 2014, 2:47 pm

    When I saw the ice bucket challenge for the first time, I immediately googled “ALS” and read what it was—so even if you see it on social media without any real reference to the disease, it has actually promoted a great deal of education. I say God bless it!!

    • PrettySticks August 21, 2014, 10:33 am

      Considering that this poster was actually present at the event (and participated him/herself) and says that everyone was in good spirits about it, I really see no reason to dispute that. Sure, the president *could* have just written the check himself without challenging the staff, but then the donation would have been from him, one rich guy. Instead, he found a way to make it from the whole community of coworkers, and it seemed the gentleman suffering from ALS, as well his colleagues, appreciated the sentiment. Why the need to harsh on it?

      And I do not get the sense from the story that if 46 of the 48 employees had shown up and doused themselves, the boss would have taken a head count, said “No dice!” and torn up the check. And I’m pretty cynical.

  • Twik August 20, 2014, 3:18 pm

    I don’t see the humiliation part of it. If you decline, I doubt many people are going to be going “Twik didn’t participate!”

    It’s a goofy fad, yes, and it’s generating some money for a good cause. Compared to other fads such as setting yourself on fire, I think it’s harmless.

    • admin August 20, 2014, 5:23 pm

      What is your opinion regarding this media article placing pressure upon the POTUS to accept the ice water challenge after he declined? http://www.inquisitr.com/1417359/obamas-ice-bucket-challenge-has-potus-being-a-party-pooper-could-his-denial-harm-als-research/

      Obama is being referred to as a “party pooper” with questions as to whether his lack of participation will hurt fundraising for ALS.

      • Olivia August 20, 2014, 5:42 pm

        The rudeness here is in the media and the general way in which journalists like to create drama and conflict out of nothing. I don’t see how this is the fault of the people engaging in the ice bucket phenomenon.

        • Olivia August 20, 2014, 5:46 pm

          And just to add how completely unprofessional and blatantly terrible that journalist is, they state in the article that someone died from participating in the ice bucket challenge which upon reading the link, is not even the case.

      • Vicki Cole August 20, 2014, 9:23 pm

        And if he DID participate, there would be many, many people criticizing him for offending the dignity of his office. Poor guy can’t win. And considering how much hatred there is in this country toward President Obama, maybe he felt that by doing it himself, he might cause others to take the attitude of “Well, if that (insert insulting term of your choice here) did it, I certainly don’t want to!”

      • Kimbubbley August 22, 2014, 10:58 am

        THAT’s poor form and wrong.

        But, I think that this is the fault of the INDIVIDUAL people that are DOING the name-calling. This WHOLE argument, for me, comes down to, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything, at all.”

        Don’t like the challenge and, in some cases, can’t even be bothered to research all of the good that it’s done? Fine, keep scrolling.

        Got challenged and don’t want to partake for any reason, at all? Fine, keep scrolling.

        Don’t like that someone has opted not to participate? Fine, keep scrolling.

        People (barring public figures) that have folks that have access to their feeds that would “call them out” or otherwise ridicule them for opting not to participate have a friend and acquaintance problem, in my view. At this point, I’ve probably got a dozen people that have posted that they are NOT going to participate in the challenge because they prefer to donate to XYZ charity for their own reasons. The ONLY one that’s gotten ANY flack for it was the one person who opened with, “I’m not doing the challenge and I don’t think anyone should be donating to ALS if it’s not something that’s near and dear to them. Instead, we should ALL donate to a cause like the ____________ that has an impact on EVERYONE.” The charity she named is one that has television commercials and celebrity endorsements, affects only a segment of the population and has an operating budget 17x larger than ALS. A lot of people tagged her for that.

        • admin August 23, 2014, 9:05 am

          No, in the case of ALS research that uses embryonic stem cells I do think people have a right to vocally oppose that type of research and raise awareness by being vocal opposed to a fundraising challenge so that people are aware of how research money is used. I did not realize prior to posting this earlier last week that ALS research was a deeply controversial subject for some people and viewed as profoundly immoral.

  • Booklover13 August 20, 2014, 3:27 pm

    I don’t hate the ice bucket challenge, but I don’t think that $15 million, or how ever much it is, is really all that great. You see there is a place that ALS gets a lot of help from, the National Institute of Health (NIH). Places like NIH (see NSF) get a lot of funding from the government that they can then distribute to research. This is a great system because the people assigning the money actually understand what is going on. Over the last few years the government has cut overall a billion dollars from this organization. All this awareness and donating is great in the short term, but will do little in the long term. The cutting of research funding is problem. Its a vicious cycle and not good for many of these sick people. I have a feeling if it was dump water on your head or write/call/email your congresspeople about medical research the ALS Foundation would receive much more success with their long term goals. Plus you don’t have to spend $100 and you would aid more then one illness.

    Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matthew-segal/the-ice-bucket-challenge_b_5688100.html

    Also on a more personal experience note. Research funding in america has some serious issues. The lack of funding is something that will hurt in the long run and a major concern of mine. People generically don’t see tangible benefits right away (or more worrisome, they see it as unimportant/not worth money the research), thus it sits right next to education in the area of needs money that the government is not willing to give.

    • Steve August 23, 2014, 5:04 pm

      Everyone should read this comment.

  • Amber August 20, 2014, 3:42 pm

    I think it’s herd mentality directed toward a good cause. It would be great if people gave to charitable events without having to be part of a show and without peer coercion , but that’s not really how people work. The best way to get people to give is to say other people are giving, and to put on a song and dance that allows people to feel great about giving. (Unrelated to charity, but related to money giving, Planet Money did an excellent episode last year on how countries get people to pay their taxes. One supremely effective method was to send a note that essentially says “All of your neighbors paid their taxes last year. Aren’t they great? They’re pretty great.”)

    If people researching ALS get a flood of funding money that leads to breakthroughs, I’m totally at peace with the challenge.

  • AIP August 20, 2014, 3:54 pm

    Motor Neurone Disease (ALS in the US) is a heartbreaking disease and the ice-bucket challenge, which while something I’d normally loathe, is proving to be a phenomenal success and raising the profile of the disease in a way not normally seen.

    And it’s not just teenagers doing it either! Here the presenter of the annual Rose of Tralee Festival (the “Lovely Girls Competition” for fans of Father Ted) did it and nominated other broadcasters, including one in his 60s who undertook it with typical good grace. There was an added poignancy to it as they lost a well-liked colleague to the MND recently.

  • Rosie B. August 20, 2014, 4:48 pm

    I think it’s a bit silly, but donations to ALS research are something like 1500% higher than they’ve been in previous years, so all in all I’d say the videos are a good thing. If you get tagged and don’t want to do it, then don’t. I doubt anyone will think you’re a bad person for not wanting to dump a bucket of ice water on your head or not having $100 to donate to charity.

    The only big issue I have with it is that several West Coast states (including my home state) are in a severe drought right now. Even though it’s for a good cause, we’re extremely low on water right now and using up an entire bucket just isn’t a good idea. However, I’ve seen people get around that issue by using ocean water…the water is FREEZING at most West Coast beaches, we have plenty of it, and it wouldn’t be safe for drinking anyway. Not an option for people who live inland but a good idea nonetheless!

  • Jays August 20, 2014, 5:19 pm

    Profoundly disagree. If you get challenged and don’t want to do it, just don’t do it. If one person sees one of these videos and wonders enough to look up “ALS” and learns something, it’s worth it. It’s also actually raised millions for the cause. No one of the challenges I’ve encountered cite the $100, just “a donation” of some sort, actually.

    I read this minutes after posting my own challenge video (I was challenged yesterday), so I’m biased. (I actually told those I challenged to make a donation IN ANY AMOUNT to any charitable organization, if they preferred.) It seems like it’s more a fad to stick your nose in the air and complain about how it’s meaningless than to (1) ignore it if you’re truly offended or (2) actually do it and spread the word. It hurts no one.

  • crella August 20, 2014, 5:38 pm

    Is participation in the annual walk for cancer, or walkathons for things like cyclic fibrosis or muscular dystrophy also narcissism and attention-seeking? Car washes for various causes? You could just write a check for cancer research and not leave the house to do it, and wash your own car.

    The comments around the net calling people who do the Ice Bucket Challenge ‘sheep’ and other unkind things have a distinct note of showing oneself as being above what the masses are concerned with, a kind of smug superiority which is unpleasant. Surely that’s not good manners.

    The ‘nominating’ factor of the Challenge is just that, a nomination, that you do not have to accept. There is also no need to watch the videos. Just scroll on by. It certainly has been much more effective than some of the more established awareness campaigns like wearing wearing a red shirt to work for heart disease awareness.

    My uncle died of ALS and his kids did it and then it went around the cousin’s feeds. I did it and donated, but instead of nominating , I said what the video was for and said something like, “If you have or know someone with ALS and would like to participate, feel free to dump your bucket of ice water and then post your video”. One of my uncles’ daughters thanked all of us, she was moved that we all remembered him and participated.

  • alex August 20, 2014, 6:13 pm

    Admin, I have to disagree. Besides the fact it is saying what you donate to, I don’t see the problem in this.

    There was actually an article posted on Forbes called, “Think the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is stupid, you’re wrong.” It has actually been raising LOTS of money for ALS. According to the article, “ALS Association has since said that it has raised $15.6 million as a result of the challenge, nine times what it normally raises in the same time frame,” so admin I have to disagree with you… people are donating and they are making lots of money. So it is raising enough money to matter.

    In addition, the fact that people aren’t learning more about it isn’t true. If you look at google search history it has skyrocketed in the last month for the terms “ALS” and Lou Gerigs. So people are hearing about it and are taking notice.

    • admin August 21, 2014, 5:38 am

      Forbes is hardly the definitive expert on etiquette. It’s like believing the department store clerk is an etiquette expert when she advises brides to go ahead and put her store’s registry card in the wedding invitation.

      I watched “America’s Got Talent” last night and noted that Mel B took the “ice water challenge” after which she challenged a few others…there was an onstage discussion between her and Nick Cannon about the “ice water challenge” with not one mention of ALS. Only Heidi Klum mentioned donating to “charity”. This screams “fad” to me and I fail to see how ALS benefited from it when there was no mention whatsoever what this particular challenge was for.

  • Anonymous August 20, 2014, 6:53 pm

    I’m not participating, because A) I’m poor, and B) I don’t see what dumping ice water over your head has to do with ALS. Also, a Facebook tag isn’t a subpoena or an Imperius curse, so just because someone tags you on Facebook, doesn’t mean you have to Like/Comment/Share, take the quiz, sign the petition, or in this case, donate money or dump ice water over your head. You know what I think would be a better way to promote awareness? If the challenge was to read Tuesdays With Morrie instead. Of course, that doesn’t make for a funny YouTube video, so it’ll never happen.

    • Kate August 22, 2014, 10:28 am

      I agree. I think one of the subconcious issues I have been having with this is that it seems so lighthearted/shallow/frivolous. Actually learning about the disease and putting in the relatively long-term effort of reading a book, or having the challenge be “donate 5 hours a month to volunteer to help people with ALS”. Here people can toss money at the issue and get attention by pouring a bucket of water over their head, something “charitable”, and then walk away and forget it. No real effort, no guarantee that they are going to donate again when people aren’t giving them attention and acclaim. Pouring ice water over someone’s head is done at the end of successful sports games, in fraternities, and on hot summer days. It isn’t exactly climbing Mt. Everest, or riding a bicycle for thousands of miles and training all year to try to convince people to give to your cause, which I have a great deal more respect for.

  • BagLady August 20, 2014, 6:56 pm

    It may have started out as “Donate money and spare yourself the ice bucket, or do the bucket thing instead of donating,” but all the people I know who have dumped ice on their heads have also donated money. Who wants to post a video of themselves that basically says, “I’d rather endure this momentary physical discomfort than write a check to help people suffering from a horrible disease”? They’re doing the ice thing to raise awareness, while at the same time giving much-needed money to the cause.

    People have been doing oddball, attention-getting things to raise money for good causes for decades. A PP mentioned dunk tanks, principals doing something goofy (around here kissing a pig is popular), and dance- and other “a-thons.” The difference here is that the Internet and social media are playing a major role.

    I actually like the Ice Bucket Challenge way better than a lot of those memes/fads that do nothing to benefit the cause (e.g., post your bra color to raise awareness of breast cancer, change your profile pic to a cartoon character to raise awareness of child abuse — two issues that, unlike ALS, most people are already quite “aware” of, unless they’ve been in a coma since 1948). And don’t get me started on those “93 percent of you won’t share this (Insert Cause Here meme)” with the unspoken implication “because you are a cold, heartless (Bad Word) who doesn’t caaare!”

    Bottom line: If you are “challenged,” you don’t need to accept the challenge. And you don’t need to say, “No, I’m not doing this.” The Ice Bucket Police are not going to come to your door and demand to know why. It’s like those address labels and other tchotchkes that charities send in the mail in hopes of getting you to “pay” for them with a donation. You are not required to do anything.

  • EllenS August 20, 2014, 7:38 pm

    Everyone I know who has participated did the video and donated as well. They also stated what it was for. I see it as a game of “tag”, and the challenges I see are all done in a spirit of teasing. If someone was challenged who did not wish to play along, nobody would notice. Of course, not everyone likes teasing and this sort of game, but fortunately my friends who are participating seem to be challenging people they know well, who also see it as fun.
    I don’t know that it is universally rude, as long as all the players know each other well and take it in a lighthearted spirit. Like other types of friendly joking and banter, if someone were offended, a sincere apology would be in order. If the participants are not offended, then no harm done.

  • Kate August 20, 2014, 8:15 pm

    Thank you admin! This reminds me a little too much of those people who say something mean and then say “I’m just teasing! You are too serious/no fun/too touchy!” Or the people who try to get you to do something illegal or unethical and then say “You’re too uptight, it’s just harmless fun!” when you say no.

    What if, and believe me there are plenty of people in this situation, you simply don’t have a hundred dollars to spare? You refuse and get called a “party pooper” or uncharitable. And please don’t say that you would know if any of your friends/aquaintances were in that situation. I for instance have an iPhone. I must have some money to spare, right? Wrong! It is an iPhone 4, about 3 models ago, and was paid for several years back. No one is going to post on facebook that they don’t have the money to do the challenge, that is just too embarassing, and they shouldn’t have to!

    It is unkind and rude to assume negative things about someone just because they won’t participate in a silly challenge! This is the equivalent to me of straight up demanding money of someone for your private pet charity, a charity they might not even be in favor of, and then doing something nasty to them, dumping icy water on them in public or calling them names if they don’t do it and don’t give you (who are you to judge?) a good enough reason. I call it straight up bullying.

    It is slightly better if you accept it if someone doesn’t want to go along, but still a very mean-spirited way to get money for charity.

    One thing that gets me too, is that a lot of people don’t research the charities they donate too.

    The Susan G. Komen charity has gotten some pretty bad press in recent years, and some religious charities have pretty odd hang ups. I can’t remember which one it was, but some Harry Potter books were donated to one such charity, and instead of selling them to raise money, or giving them away to impoverished children to read, they threw them away because they “promoted witchcraft”!

    A lot of charities too pay their CEOs/presidents insane amounts of money, more than you need to live well or decently, so for every dollar you give to the charity, only pennies go to funding the actual cause.

    • Kate August 20, 2014, 8:42 pm

      Oops! I was under the impression that the challenger decided the charity the money went to, not that this was generally for ALS, which is what the last two paragraphs were about, not being “able” to choose the charity.

  • Samantha C August 20, 2014, 8:36 pm

    It’s a chain letter. Of course it’s a little rude and cheeky and pushy. It’s just taken the format of your classic chain letter – do this and send it to 3 of your friends – and co-opted for charity.

  • NostalgicGal August 20, 2014, 8:48 pm

    I am a sudden post menopausal woman (hysterectomy and could not tolerate hormone therapy). Last year I took affront at my affinity to grow … hair… and cultivated lip-fur for Movember. This is to raise awareness for Men’s Prostrate Cancer and related health issues. For the month of November, pledges grow a moustache then shave it off on the 30th. And try to raise funds. I grew mostly ginger, but, I did collect on the $20 bet. (If my hubby could wear a pink ribbon for me for October, I could grow for Movember). (if women CAN it’s more dramatic, you are allowed to take your ponytail and put it over your lip and take the picture, too). Will I do it again? Depends on friend bets (all winnings went to the charity) and the thought of MacaroniNcheese meeting my moustache, again…

    I see the Ice Bucket ALS challenge the same as that, or getting the haircut for Locks of Love… raising awareness. Astounding if they have raised that many millions; more power to them.

    • Kate August 22, 2014, 10:35 am

      See, that is the thing about these fundraisers. In all the times I have heard of Movember, I have NEVER heard a whisper about men’s prostate cancer. I have seen and heard about the mustaches, my college even had an annual mustache ride, but everyone I have ever heard or spoken to, a considerable number and in two different states, thinks it is just a fun game. However it started, which is admirable, it has turned into nothing more than a fad, with people not even knowing why they are doing it. I think that might be happening to the ice bucket challenge. A lot of people posting here had heard about it and knew people who had done it or done it themselves, but did not know why the ice (to simulate the feeling of ALS temporarily).

      • NostalgicGal August 23, 2014, 1:03 am

        When I became aware of it last year, and participated; I was told it was to raise awareness of Men’s Health, and for Prostate Cancer Research. Thus myself and a friend had a bet; and I managed to round up enough follicle output to win the bet (with male friend) with proof. It started in 2003, so 2013 was the 10th anniversary. “Through the power of the moustache, awareness and funds are raised for men’s health each November to support prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health.” that is from the movember.com website. This is where I signed up; posted a few progress reports, a picture of myself and a different non-follically challenged friend hamming it up halfways through (he has a magnificent ginger moustache) and a good selfie of my lip at the end of the month proving I had the fur. The one I had bet with paid the bet winnings to them.

        The ALS ice bucket challenge I take to be in the same vein; participation is voluntary; the amount they have raised is fantastic; and my DH has had a few calls on it from family and friends; and has declined AND NOT BEEN BOTHERED FURTHER. I think that’s the part that needs to go with any awareness/fundraiser of this sort. You can opt out and the rest of the universe needs to leave you be, that’s where the etiquette comes in.

        Will I dump ice over my head? In support of a cause I may. To raise awareness I would. Do I have to? No. Same for if I decide to round up lip fur for this year or not. Last year I chose to participate and succeeded. Will I this year? Have a few more months to decide. If friendly banter turns into a ‘put your lip where your mouth is’ bet again (against friend, he was the one that started it) I probably will. One more time… all this needs to be VOLUNTARY. Just like any of a lot of other causes.

  • Amy August 20, 2014, 8:52 pm

    I really don’t see the problem with these Ice Bucket Challenges and I’m kind of stumped as to why this is somehow an etiquette breach. You want to do it, do it. You don’t, then don’t. It’s pretty simple. I’ve seen plenty of friends just not participate, and no one has castigated them. What I’m seeing here is a bit of judgement on the part of the people who disagree with the challenge, implying that those who participate are blindly following a fad or somehow desperate attention hounds who desperately want people to notice them. An earlier poster relayed the way her company willingly participated to honor their dear friend and co-worker and she was basically called little more than a trained monkey, doing the bosses’ bidding, as though he were somehow getting some sick satisfaction out humiliating his employees when the poster made it abundantly clear that it was completely voluntary on their part. Disagree if you want, but I don’t see why those who chose to take part in this challenge must somehow be categorized as having taken leave of good sense and basic etiquette. That’s not fair.

    • admin August 21, 2014, 5:30 am

      My question is still valid….why would someone who has the financial means to fund a sizable contribution hold the delivery of that total amount hostage to the requirement that X number of people must do X activity? Either donate the entire 10K or not but don’t make it contingent on whether others do a specified “trick” to release the funds.

      • Peas August 21, 2014, 4:33 pm

        I don’t know if you’ll post this, but it’s because it makes the employees feel like they’re part of the experience. It makes them feel like they’re donating two and their efforts matter.

        • B August 22, 2014, 7:00 am

          This sounds like the greedy couples who hit people up for everything then say ‘we wanted them to be a part of our wedding/baby shower/housewarming’.

          No way would I strip off in front of my colleagues. No way. And I would be really unhappy if my boss even asked me to do so.

          • Peas August 22, 2014, 9:12 am

            Nope that’s incomparable.

            I’m sure if you worked here, you’d understand the atmosphere. No one was asked to strip – again with the hyperbole to twist every action into evil! My goodness.

          • Steve August 23, 2014, 5:07 pm

            You confuse hyperbole with fact.

            Freq Flyer specifically said people brought bathing suits to work.

        • Lil August 22, 2014, 8:50 am

          Yes, this!! I thought exactly the same thing. This is a great way for his co-workers to make a big, fun gesture of support. Same as if they walked in a 5K if he had cancer or surprised him with a flash-mob. The time, thought, and effort to include him in the experience is part of the gift. Plus, people want to be given something tangible to do when someone they know is going through a crisis. Especially if this is someone that may be more of a good acquaintance or someone they simply know of as being a nice person. They may not feel comfortable offering to help in more intimate ways best left to friends and family. This is they way they can be supportive without feeling intrusive.

          • Kate August 22, 2014, 10:37 am

            Um Peas, the earlier poster, which may be you, I don’t want to hunt that post down again, specifically mentioned all of the employees “stripping down” in public, in front of everyone else, for the challenge.

  • Allie August 20, 2014, 8:54 pm

    I think the idea is the person challenges you and if you pour the bucket of ice water on yourself, the person who challenged you donates the money and if you don’t pour the bucket of ice water on yourself, you donate the money. The key problem I see is that there’s no way to verify whether the money was actually donated (although most people must be doing it if all those donations are pouring in to the ALS Society). Anyone who doesn’t want to participate certainly doesn’t have to do so. That certainly includes me. I have no desire to pour ice water on myself and I donate money when and to what cause I choose. If I am dubbed a stick-in-the-mud for that, so be it.

  • Anonymouse August 20, 2014, 11:20 pm

    I agree with admin on this one. Yes, the challenge has raised significant amounts of money and awareness for the cause. No one is denying that. And no, nobody is actively forcing anyone to participate. I can see why people are willing to give a pass for this because it is doing good. I don’t even particularly mind the “look at me raising awareness by doing this crazy thing” aspect. If people want to make themselves look silly for a good cause, more power to them.

    The idea bothers me for the same reason I don’t appreciate the “we want to gather money/food/etc. for X Family” group messages I get from ladies at my church. You can’t leave the message without Facebook announcing it (and admit it, people notice when you un-tag yourself, especially when there’s only a couple people tagged). And not being able to help, due to personal finances and time restraints, having the constant notifications indirectly saying “Mary is doing this, what are YOU doing?” just causes unnecessary guilt and stress.

    Tagging people in the Ice bucket challenge is very much calling them out in a public forum, and refusing the challenge could mean opening oneself up to name-calling and ridicule (which I have seen on my page, even if others haven’t). My husband and I are living paycheck to paycheck and even $10 is money that could be budgeted elsewhere. And no, I’m not dumping water on my head as punishment for not having money to spare.

    I think we can all agree that the “90% of people won’t repost because they are terrible people” statuses are in poor taste, right? Someone please explain how the Ice Bucket Challenge is any different (besides the IBC actually raising money/awareness). Both are trying to pressure friends to participate in something they may not want to, and using potential judgment and ridicule as weapons.

    The etiquette involved is pretty clear. I think the only debate here is whether the end justifies the means…

  • BellyJean August 20, 2014, 11:34 pm

    Please watch this video and then think about whether this ice bucket challenge is a worthy campaign.


    • BellyJean August 21, 2014, 10:26 am

      By the way – this video was created by a gentlemen with ALS, who is taking care of his mother who also has ALS. I’m assuming you haven’t had the time to view the whole video.
      Also – the reason that it’s the Ice Bucket challenge – this recreates, if only for a moment, if only for a marginal amount, the horrible freezing sensation that ALS patients have to endure.

      It’s a challenge, not a demand. It’s a cheeky gauntlet being thrown. If people want to say no, that is absolutely their right to do so, and shame on those who get upset when people don’t accept. The sheer amount of awareness that this has garnered is astounding.

      Different link to the video – http://io9.com/to-all-the-ice-bucket-haters-heres-why-the-challenge-m-1624724316

      • admin August 22, 2014, 6:28 pm

        So, you believe that the ice water challenge simulates, or recreates, for a brief moment, “the horrible freezing sensation that ALS patients have to endure”? While certain to evoke sympathy and justify the need to douse oneself with ice water, it has no basis in fact. The ALS Association’s own web site does not list a “freezing sensation” as one o fthe symptoms of ALS (http://www.alsa.org/about-als/symptoms.html). ALS is a degenerative muscular disease which typically does not affect the senses. Now, if you were to put 50 pound weights on each arm and leg, as well as 50 pounds laid on your chest, then perhaps you might begin to experience what an ALS patient endures.

        • Steve August 23, 2014, 7:50 am

          Bu…bu…but awareness! It’s educational!

          Isn’t it?

          I’m also curious to know how many challengers are aware that Congress cut $1.5 billion from the NIH budget as part of the sequester. That has a lot bigger impact on research than any possible fundraiser.

    • admin August 23, 2014, 9:28 am

      While it is heart wrenching, it is still an appeal to emotion as the reason to do a specific action. There are many orphan diseases, many people suffering in daily lives, many people getting the news that they have X disease and many obscure diseases that need public awareness. I know I cannot support them all and therefore what I do choose to support is not based solely on whether my heart strings are plucked because my donation dollars would be shared willy nilly based on whose video was the most heart wrenching of the month.

  • Lilya August 21, 2014, 12:41 am

    To be honest, I found the “bring our girls back” campaign much more irritating.

    • j. August 21, 2014, 9:16 am

      I’m assuming that since that particular hashtag is no longer trending, the girls in question have all been rescued?

      • Snarkastic August 21, 2014, 1:16 pm


        It’s amazing how quickly passion fades for important causes. Where are “our” girls today?

  • just4kicks August 21, 2014, 5:41 am

    Both of my teenage son’s and most of their friends have/are going to do the challenge. I’d say of the videos they have shown me, most of the kids seem to realize it’s for a good cause. I don’t see anything wrong with it, and would probably do the challenge if I were nominated. In my opinion, it’s a harmless way to show community spirit.

  • BH August 21, 2014, 7:04 am

    While it may be a fad I see some accepting the challenge (my own family members) but stating they are donating to a charity of their own choice. While some may be ignorant to the cause it’s getting attention and donations are higher. Although someone else may have said the same thing in one of the 160+ comments ahead of mine.

  • Tee August 21, 2014, 7:26 am

    How about posting the reason behind the ALS bucket challenge? You can see the background here. It didn’t start as some silly fad (although I don’t agree with the “shaming” part): http://espn.go.com/boston/story/_/id/11366772/in-als-fight-pete-frates-message-loud-clear-ice-bucket-challenge

    • Tee August 21, 2014, 7:34 am

      Correction: I guess it did start out small as a fad, but then was adopted by Pete Frates.