I thought that I had managed to escape the deluge of silly videos doing the rounds on social media where lots of my lovely friends have been dousing themselves with freezing cold water to raise awareness of Motor-Neurone Disease. Motor-Neurone Disease (also known as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis hence the name in the title) seems like a horrible condition and, touch wood, no one I know is affected by it. I am still glad however that there are people working on finding treatments for this disease. Anything that adds to the amount of suffering in the world is something that a civilised society should try and eradicate. For this reason I’m glad that people are doing something to raise funds to assist in this research. I’m less glad about the six figure salary all the top bods at the charity that’s receiving the money pay themselves but that’s for another blog post.

Anyway, last night I logged into Facebook and saw that the wonderful Marc of Archaeosoup Productions had tagged me in his Ice Bucket Challenge video. Wonderful…

Absolutely wonderful. Thanks for that Marc! 😉

When I saw that he had tagged me I did chuckle and start planning making the video – I was rather in my cups it has to be said – and wondering who I would tag. In the clear light of day however… ok, who am I kidding? In the fuzzy murk of the mother of all stinking evil hangovers this morning the thought of dousing myself in ice cold water was, for some reason, less appealing. Not for the obvious reason as, to be perfectly honest, it probably would have done me the world of good the way I felt as I wept quietly into my morning coffee. No, it was for far more convoluted reasons than mere self interest and the fact that I have a face for radio(and a voice for print, especially after the amount of fags I smoked last night.*)

The reason that I won’t be doing the Ice Bucket Challenge is that I really don’t like clicktivism and the challenge, as it has been explained to me, is most definitely clicktivism. Now I don’t want to denigrate anyone who takes part in the challenge. If anything it gladdens my blackened suppurating heart to see so many people taking part in this because they genuinely want to do something to help others less fortunate than themselves. Marc himself is very careful in his video to outline exactly why he is taking part and to raise awareness of other issues such as depression and cancer support. All very worthy causes and as Marc is one of those archaeologists with a keen social conscience and does a lot of outreach work via his Youtube channel and has been very active in campaigns to protect our shared heritage on this wee island I figured I wouldn’t just ignore the challenge as I may otherwise have done.

So, if I’m not going to film myself being doused in freezing cold water what am I going to do? Well, the standard default to not doing the challenge is to donate money to The ALS Association, the American charity that fund research into treatments for ALS. Well as they have had a few swimming pools full of money donated to them already – and the fact that their top bods earn more than I would earn in a decade** I’ll consider my donation to them as coming out of the tax breaks they are enjoying for being so wealthy. I could donate money to one of the other charities that Marc links to below his video, MIND, the Motor Neurone Disease Association, or Cancer Research UK. Well, I haven’t looked it up but I’m pretty sure that the CEOs of these charities will be earning a mint too(whilst expecting pensioners and the unemployed to work for them for free) so I’ll be giving them a miss too. There’s also the fact that I’m a bit of a cause and effect guy in that I like to see the results of my intervention in something directly. Or at least to know that my contribution to a cause has had a direct effect.
What, then, am I going to do? I’m going to do absolutely nothing. Absolutely nothing out of the ordinary for me anyway. I’m going to continue giving money to the homeless, not to charities, chuggers***, or can shakers, but directly to homeless people so that they can spend my hard earned money on whatever the hell they like. I don’t care if they spend it on drink, on drugs, or on collectible 1980s Panini football stickers. It’s none of my business. If someone is on their arse to the point where they need to ask for money from strangers on the street then it is my responsibility, when I can afford it, to help them out. This isn’t charity. This is basic human solidarity and this solidarity is the cement that holds society and civilisation together. I will continue to support people in struggle, I will continue to take part in the struggle for a sane society that will put its resources into things like curing ALS, cancer, and supporting people with depression and other mental health issues. A world that prioritises human health and happiness over profit and power.

scrooge

Now this may make me seem like some weird commie Scrooge type of character lambasting the kids for wasting their time on something that’s not the class struggle. I do have to admit that there is an element of that to this post but that’s not what I want people to take away from this post. No, I want people to take away the idea that changing the world isn’t done one viral video at a time. We aren’t merely 1,000 Facebook likes and re-tweets away from a world where the things that actually matter are prioritised. No, that world is a world we have to actually make ourselves and it will take a lot of effort. A lot more effort than a moment of fun raising awareness for a charity and things that are a lot of effort can be daunting, they can be scary. The thing is though, there are a hell of a lot of us and when we stand together, when we work together we can do amazing, wonderful, impossible things. In fact all of the amazing, wonderful, impossible things that have ever happened on this planet have been done by people working together.

So no, I won’t be donating to charity nor will I be dousing myself with water. However, to mark the fact that I was tagged to do so I shall, next time I’m in Glasgow, give the lad who begs outside Greggs near Central Station a tenner to do with as he wishes. I will also give some extra money to the Unity Centre towards paying their rent and bills when I next get paid. I hope that makes up for my lack of of being sat sopping wet in my back garden right now. I’m also not going to deride people for taking part in the challenge, a good heart is a good heart after all. I just really want people to engage with the idea that we need to make another, better world and that it is the desire to do this which is the driving force behind them pouring buckets of water over their heads. It is that desire that can make the world a better place. It is that desire that will make the world a better place.

 

Rant over. 🙂
Regardless. This is absolutely adorable. 😀

 

*

For my US readers that doesn’t mean I killed a large number of homosexuals last night. I merely smoked a lot of cigarettes on account of the aforementioned heavy drinking.

**

Jane H. Gilbert – President and CEO – $339,475.00
Daniel M. Reznikov – Chief Financial Officer – $201,260.00
Steve Gibson – Chief Public Policy Officer – $182,862.00
Kimberly Maginnis – Chief of Care Services Officer – $160,646.00
Lance Slaughter – Chief Chapter Relations and Development Officer – $152,692.00
Michelle Keegan – Chief Development Officer – $178,744.00
John Applegate – Association Finance Officer – $118.726.00
David Moses – Director of Planned Giving – $112,509.00
Carrie Munk – Chief Communications and Marketing Officer – $142,875.00
Patrick Wildman – Director of Public Policy – $112,358.00
Kathi Kromer – Director of State Advocacy – $110,661.00
***
Chuggers = Charity Muggers. Those incessantly perky people that try and get you to set up a Direct Debit to pay the wages of the CEO of War on Want or whoever.

 

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