Endorsements
The Los Angeles Times endorsements in the March 3 election
Opinion Opinion L.A.
Opinion

Cool it on Ice Bucket Challenge, and keep Gov. Brown's dog out of it

California's First Dog, Sutter, survived the Ice Bucket Challenge -- but enough already

As if the parade of publicity-seeking celebrities, newscasters, tech billionaires and past and present politicians dumping pails of ice water on themselves wasn’t tiresome and annoying enough, now we must watch California’s First Dog subjected to this humiliation.

And he didn’t have a choice in the matter like the humans before him.

Yes, someone (perhaps Gov. Jerry Brown, himself?) decided that Brown’s Welsh corgi, Sutter, needed to get in on the gimmick of the Ice Bucket Challenge, the ALS fundraising drive and latest gone-viral craze. A short video on his -- Sutter’s, that is -- Facebook page shows a mysterious hand appearing in the frame with a mini-bucket of water poised over the pooch’s head as he (Sutter again) grumpily barks, knowing nothing good can come of this. The water is dumped,  Sutter shakes it off and looks none the worse for the whole experience.

There was some mild outrage on his Facebook page. “That’s really mean!” someone wrote. But there were more comments along the line of “How cute!” But anyone who thinks this is animal cruelty is off-base.

“I wish people would worry  more about serious animal abuse issues,” Jennifer Fearing, deputy director of the Humane Society of the United States who is based in Sacramento (and has been known to hang out with Sutter), told me. “Would you like a list? It’s unfortunately long.”

The stunt also raised some eyebrows about water-wasting in drought-stricken California. (It was a tiny bucket, however.) The ALS Assn.’s website urges ice bucketeers: “Please be thoughtful about water usage! If you’re in an area of the country or world affected by drought, repurpose the water for later use.”

I just think the entire “challenge” is ridiculous. It started with people getting dumped with ice water if they did not make a contribution to the ALS Assn. Now it’s morphed into just a bunch of video clips and TV shots of people dumping water on themselves and making contributions.

Of course, it goes without saying that it’s good to give money to an organization that funds research on this horrible, degenerative disease, advocates for public policy, and provides services to people with ALS. And the Ice Bucket Challenge has certainly gotten the ALS Assn. a lot more funding. It reported on Wednesday that it had received $31.5 million in donations from July 29 to Aug. 20 compared with $1.9 million that came in over the same time period last year. And the association said that came from existing donors and 637,527 new donors.

But the ice bucket dumping is silly. (President Obama wisely declined but will write a check to an ALS charity.)

And there’s something vaguely skanky and lurid about watching female celebrities and TV personalities drenching their hair and plastering their clothing with water. It’s just one step removed from a wet T-shirt contest.

So, fundraisers, think of some other way to raise money that doesn’t look like an episode of “Wipeout.” If you want people to do something daring, challenge them to dance and sing in the middle of their business meetings. Or let them spend a day with someone suffering from ALS in exchange for getting a check from a donor. And save the water for your lawn.

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
  • The Times' endorsements for Tuesday's election
    The Times' endorsements for Tuesday's election

    Don't sit this election out. It's true that there's no high-profile mayor's race or marijuana ballot measure, but Tuesday's election could lead to one of the most significant changes to local government in years. If Charter Amendments 1 and 2 pass, city and school board elections will move,...

  • Who killed at CPAC, the GOP's red meat 2016 auditions?
    Who killed at CPAC, the GOP's red meat 2016 auditions?

    The fervent Republicans who throng the Conservative Political Action Conference every year aren't representative of the American electorate. They aren't even representative of the GOP electorate. For four of the last five years, their straw poll for president has chosen Rand Paul or Ron Paul....

  • The Obama administration is seeking the right deal with Iran
    The Obama administration is seeking the right deal with Iran

    The negotiating endgame with Iran is upon us. What terms are acceptable?

  • How Abraham Lincoln said that black lives matter
    How Abraham Lincoln said that black lives matter

    A decade and a half into the 21st century, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is under fire, and white-on-black violence brings the cry that black lives matter. As we approach the 150th anniversary of the assassination of President Lincoln, we would do well to reconsider his most famous...

  • Translating trust in Iraq, one Arabic greeting at a time
    Translating trust in Iraq, one Arabic greeting at a time

    The United States has sent its most potent weapon to Iraq to battle Islamic State. She's a 5-foot-6-inch, 60-year-old grandmother. When I served as a military advisor to Iraqi security forces in 2011, Um Safa was our cavalry battalion's chief interpreter. She accompanied the commander to...

  • California's public unions have too much clout and compensation
    California's public unions have too much clout and compensation

    Mayor Eric Garcetti, a pro-labor Democrat, has tried to restore ties with Los Angeles' public employee unions after most of them backed his opponent in the 2013 mayoral race. Nevertheless, the mayor is sticking with the hard line he has taken in contract talks: asking city workers to accept a...

Comments
Loading