Monday, August 25, 2014

Stop With this ALS False Humility Bullshit

To those of you doing the ALS ice bucket challenge, I applaud you. It's quite a clever idea, especially for a summertime activism/awareness campaign. The most effective of these campaigns make something trendy in order for it to spread farther faster. 

It works a hell of a lot better than guilt-tripping or shock value. It requires donors to participate in a way that's more active than sharing a status. Take the challenge, donate some money, share, post, challenge others.

Most people -- judging by the admittedly limited sources of my Facebook and twitter feed -- seem to enjoy taking part in a big cause in a small way. Then there are those who scoff at it as "slacktivism" and refuse to participate. Opposite the "too cool for this" group are the few people who appear to believe that dumping a bucket of ice water on one's head makes them an expert on ALS and is the most important thing they'll ever do to help the ALS cause -- whether they donate or not. 

Then there's a fourth group. And this fourth group, while probably the smallest, angers me the most -- the False Humility group.

They're sort of like the "too cool for all you 'slacktivists'" group, except that they actually donate. However, they take the challenge with a sneer and a "holier-than-thou" attitude. Others in this group don't take the ice bucket challenge. Rather, they make sure you know that while they won't be doing a silly challenge, they're donating money to the cause because I guess they're just too good for childish antics.

I've seen protests from these supposedly humble activists that no, they won't be filming and sharing an ice bucket challenge because they're not narcissistic enough to use social media like that. They'll share on social media that they are donating, but specifically not doing the challenge. Because, you know, that totally shows how humble they are. And, you also know, it would be totally narcissistic to put the challenge on social media and get more people to see it, donate, or get curious about the cause. It's not like social media sharing is how this cause got so popular or anything.

Mainly, though, this defeats the purpose of what they're trying to say: that the Ice Bucket Challenge is silly and pointless. It got viral enough to get them to hear about the cause and donate, so clearly it accomplished its goal. 

There's nothing wrong with saying you don't want to dump a bucket of ice water on your head. I wish this last, oddly smug group of people would just admit that instead of spitting on the rest of the people doing the challenge -- without whom they would have heard nothing to be smug about. The pride and false humility is more about a disdain for being seen to participate in current trends rather than any specific objection to the cause or the awareness campaign itself.

You want to be humble about your activism? Donate some money -- and then try not to brag about how you donated money out of the goodness of your soul, instead of dumping water on your head like all these other fools.

http://thatdingostolemy6pack.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Shut-up-and-take-my-money.jpg


I won't be doing the challenge. I may or may not be donating, either, depending on my financial situation. Perhaps I'll set a donation by for a later date when I have money to spare. However, I'll leave this link here in case you would like to donate or read more about ALS:

http://www.alsa.org/donate/

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