Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wednesday's Words, by Morgan Ashbury



You can never predict just what new thing will capture the imagination of the masses on the Internet. The latest trend to catch fire and go viral in the last couple of weeks is the “ice bucket challenge”, and it’s in support of a very worthy cause: funding research to find a cure for ALS - amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

It’s refreshing to see something like this become popular. I’m not certain how it started. The why of it doesn’t really matter. Every day brings new little videos posted to the Net, a few even filmed by folks I know, getting in on the fun(?) of  either self or family inflicted icy water filled buckets being dumped on their heads.

I don’t imagine it hurts the popularity of the challenge that so many areas have wicked hot weather right about now. [I’m pretty certain the challenge wouldn’t have caught on at all in the winter.]

Of course for some people, dumping a bucket of frigid water over their head isn’t recommended, for health reasons. But that’s fine. The challenge, as I understand it, is take the bath and donate $10, or decline the bath, and donate $100. I’m glad it was structured that way, so people like yours truly could still participate without any undue health risks.

Yes, it is refreshing that this latest fad is for such a great cause, because sometimes I worry about really unlikely things when it comes to humanity. For example, I worry that ET will be training his telescope on us just as we’re consumed with twerking, or doing things gangnam style, or tossing ourselves off of cliffs, bungee cords attached, hopefully, correctly. I mean, really, do you want “first contact” to happen when all the aliens know about us is some of the stuff that we egomaniacal Homo sapiens have posted on YouTube?

But if that event happens in the next little while, at least we are shown to be a race willing to endure a good dousing in support of our fellow human beings.

You can never know what’s going to catch on next. In recent memory, there have been some books: Harry Potter, Twilight, and Fifty Shades. Who could have predicted any of those would be such phenomenal hits?

With dancing and music, the afore mentioned twerking and gangnam have been recent crazes, but there have been dancing fads catching on since the jitter bug back in the 1930s—and likely even before that. Just a few years ago, it was “flash mob” dances and songs. Fads come and go, but the speed with which they do so has increased with each year, and with the new and many technological ways we have of communicating and sharing them.

There are video compilations making the rounds on a regular basis showing us at our worst: we’re either doing stupid things, or dangerous things, or illegal things...how many times, as you’ve surfed the Web have you been tempted to click on those little montages and witness your fellow human’s most embarrassing moments?

Some of these embarrassing events are staged, of course. I suppose there are those who think fame is fame, and as long as they have that video of themselves up there and people watching, it makes them...famous. Some aren’t staged, they’re the result of people, armed with cell phone cameras, who cash in on the misfortune of others—seizing the moment, as it were.

Just one brief digression, if I may. People, in this day and age with cell phones everywhere, and even satellites taking pictures which you can then see on Google Earth, why, oh why would you do anything outside, ever, while naked? How many times have you heard of someone speeding dangerously, filming it themselves, posting it, with the result that they are subsequently arrested? Seriously, give your heads a shake! It’s not a case of “big brother” watching you. No, it’s more like little brother and the damned varmint is going to tattle on you big time, no ifs, ands, or buts.

In the meantime, keep those ALS ice bucket challenge videos coming, and, more importantly, keep those donations flowing.

When we stand together, and will it to be so, we can make miracles happen.



Love,

Morgan



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