Both of my kids took time over the summer to be filmed while a friend dumped cold water over their heads from a great height. Nothing terribly unusual about that, I thought, except that their soaking was apparently part of a widespread charitable project that went viral earlier this year called the Ice Bucket Challenge.
As far as I can tell, the challenge part of the program involves naming others (friends, neighbors, celebrities) who should also post videos of themselves being soaked via the Interwebs. Alternatively, those challengees can skip the soaking part and just make a donation to charities involved with fighting against the degenerative illness ALS.
Some people have complained that the Ice Bucket Challenge involves more water dumping and web chortling than actual giving, although such criticisms seem easily countered by the millions in new dollars that have apparently flowed to ALS-related charities in 2014. And while I am sympathetic to criticisms offered by fellow old fogeys that the goofiness of soaking yourself with H20 kind of collides with the seriousness of the cause, I’m also old enough to remember the era of the Jerry Lewis Telethon, an annual event that involved jugglers, acrobats and stale stand-up comics putting on a Vaudeville every Labor Day in support of the equally serious illness Muscular Dystrophy.
Given how much the Web tends to award dopey things like frowning cats and expletive-spewing oranges with that sacred gift of virality, I am left offering two-and-a-half cheers to an Ice Bucket Challenge that seems to have combined fun and generosity in the right combination (that half cheer withheld in slight sympathy with my curmudgeony cohort who grew up before the age of the Net).
Those limited kvetches aside, leave it to the BDSers to figure out a way to turn an act of fun and kindness into something horrifying.
I’m speaking, of course, of the “Blood Bucket Challenge” that took place on the Ohio University campus where Megan Marzec, president of the student senate, decided to film herself doing a Carrie impersonation by dousing herself with fake blood (rather than ice water) while announcing her own challenge: that the school should divest from and boycott the Jewish state (rather than make a donation to a worthy cause).
No word yet if this warped mutation of someone else’s idea is going to catch on in the land of BDS over the coming months. The fact that Marzec’s bizarre behavior appalled her fellow senators (who issued an apology) and triggered condemnation across the campus might mitigate against her stunt being replicated elsewhere. But given the BDSers track record of trying to subvert other people’s virtuous ideas in order to drive their own virality, I wouldn’t put it past them.
We’ve seen this before with flash mobs, those unexpected bursts of music, dance and merriment that surprise people with never-anticipated joy, shaking them from their daily stupor with the brief gift of happiness. For the boycotters, however, flash mobs were just one more popular concept they could plagiarize and vulgarize, replacing gleeful performances given as a present to the public with shrewish warbling in department stores in support of pulling Israeli cosmetics off the shelf.
The “Blood Bucket Challenge” takes this process one step further, replacing an act of silliness and generosity with one chosen specifically to generate horror and disgust. Fortunately, that disgust has only been directed so far at the person who performed this bit of blood-drenched grandstanding. But given the BDSers crazed desire to never have their cause off the front pages for even a minute, it would not surprise me in the least if more SJP types across the country started filming themselves doing something similar in the weeks and months to come.
Last week, I talked about some of the tactics we can use this year to counter the surge in BDS activity that inevitably follows violence breaking out in the region. But one I left out was the technique of defining and “freezing” an opponent (a la Alinsky).
In this case, it is SJP and the like whose out-of-control behavior earlier this year coupled with recent choices to start throwing punches and dousing themselves with gore that should be frozen in place – by highlighting their excesses at every opportunity and ignoring their insistence that we talk about anything else.
And if we add these recent spasms of violence and ugliness to the BDSers multi-year track record of lying about victories and sneaking around in the dark to achieve their ends, we are in a position to define Israel opponents (accurately) as a bunch of dishonest, manipulative, nasty, brutish and short-tempered losers.