The “Ice Bucket Challenge” has made millions of dollars for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) awareness, which is a good thing, but at some point in time celebrities got involved and the need to “one up” the next guy began. Something pure was altered, and with many people (I make no claims as to the Foo Fighters’ motivations) the event seems to have turned into narcissism masquerading as charity. Perhaps the best case study in examining the line between self-congratulation and charity goes to the Foo Fighters.
Spin Magazine wrote Aug. 19 in a post headlined ‘Foo Fighters Spoof ‘Carrie’ for Best ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Yet’:
“Several alt-rockers, including Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder and Mike McCready, have already taken part in the ALS Association’s Ice Bucket Challenge, but few clips have been as inspired as the one that Dave Grohl posted today to the Foo Fighters’ Facebook page. […] The video is inspired by King’s high-school horror film Carrie, but instead of pig blood, Grohl is simply doused in very cold water. And instead of killing all of his peers using telekinetic powers, he spreads joy, laughter, and awareness of a poorly understood degenerative disease to those who might watch the clip. It’s all quite silly and heartwarming and, hey, it features Dave Grohl in a prom dress.”
Since when did the “Ice Bucket Challenge” double as a contest of creative wits?
- Buzzfeed’s reaction: ‘Go Home Everybody, The Foo Fighters Have Won The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge With Their “Carrie” Remake.’
- The Huffington Post concurred: Foo Fighters’ ‘Carrie’ Sendup Just Won The Ice Bucket Challenge
- From the Daily Dot: The Foo Fighters’ ice bucket challenge video is bloody brilliant
- Rolling Stone warps the intent ever further: ‘Foo Fighters Turn Ice Bucket Challenge Into Epic ‘Carrie’ Tribute
Pride loves the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge.’ When a charitable event becomes about who “wins” or who is the most “brilliant,” then something has gone wrong. When the headlines zero in on how “epic” your “Carrie” tribute was as instead of how “epic” it would be to cure ALS, then something has gone wrong.
It is a joyous thing that the Foo Fighters’ effort will result in more donations for a good cause. I would much rather live in a world run by the eager participants of an ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ than a world run by Islamic terrorists who behead American photojournalists. However, it is probably a good idea if everyone stepped back and objectively asked themselves what it says about our culture that charitable causes need to contain such a stark “Look at me!” element in order to go viral.
Thank you, Foo Fighters, for donating to a good cause. And thank you to everyone whose acts of kindness are only known to them and God.