By now you’ve probably seen 1,000 ice bucket challenge videos auto-play on your Facebook newsfeed by now. Everyone is doing it — kids, pets, celebrities, politicians, you name it. Yesterday I heard my neighbor do it on our front porch, but as I heard him explain, they didn’t have a bucket, so he used a “very cold” can of Coke instead. I’ve seen a few outtake lists, where instead of people having a bucket of water poured over them, the person pouring instead had the entire bucket full of water dropped onto their heads — it was painful to watch, I can’t imagine how painful it was to experience. The challenge has some haters, namely people annoyed at how many of those taking the challenge aren’t donating, and are instead wasting water. This meme popped up in my newsfeed this morning:
To which I say: Lighten up. The ice bucket challenge has gone viral like no other charitable cause I’ve ever seen, and has netted millions of dollars for ALS charities, over $15 million at last count (compared with less than $50,000 during the same period last year). I have no dog in this argument: I haven’t done the ice bucket challenge personally (please don’t nominate me, I’m poor and really dislike cold water), but I really applaud those participating and donating.
10. My cousin Abigail
I’m abusing my power here at PJ Media, I admit it. But I want all of you to see this adorable video my young cousin made (kind of) with her little sister Liza (who was supposed to participate but, well, you’ll see).
9. Britney Spears
Remember her? Yeah, it’s been a long time since I’ve thought about the star, but her ice bucket challenge video was pretty great for the last .5 seconds of it, where she is clearly midway through an expletive before the video cuts off.
8. Bill Gates
This is what you should expect from a genius. Most people either have a friend or family member drop a bucket on them, or they dump it themselves. Gates, of course, built an entire contraption with a lever in order to dump the ice water from a cooler while on his deck. The slow motion shot of the water falling, added later, is a nice touch.
7. Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski
This video didn’t exactly involve a bucket, but man, Murkowski’s video might be even more brutal because of it. Murkowski jumped into a 30 degree pool of water in southeast Alaska in her swimsuit. You can see ice floating in the water, and hear her kids yelling in the background as she takes the plunge. The rant at the end of the video is just what you would expect from a politician, but it’s probably the best video from a member of Congress that I’ve seen yet.
6. Ben Affleck
This adorable video has been the most popular story on Us Weekly‘s website for the last few days for a reason. Stars really are just like us: their kids can be heard hooting and cheering in the background, loving watching their parents being silly and affectionate. Affleck nominates several people, including his wife “the lady with the bucket” Jennifer Garner, before getting soaked and immediately pulling Garner into their pool, fully clothed.
5. Weird Al
All of these videos are starting to get old by now — the same tired script of people talking into the camera, explaining who nominated them and who they in turn nominate, all while looking nervous, waiting to get hit. Weird Al shakes it up with his video, and his nominees are pretty hysterical. Who would you want to see participate from his list? Barack Obama, the Dalai Lama, or the pope?
4. The Kennedy Family – Especially Ethel
The entire Kennedy clan, in Hyannis Port of course, took the challenge, but grandma Ethel Kennedy’s dump earned this spot on the list. Kennedy in turn nominated President Obama, whose press office responded to her challenge, and explained he would be making a donation instead of taking the challenge. With everything going on in the world, it’s probably for the best that the president isn’t taking YouTube videos of the ice bucket challenge, even if he refuses to take a break from his golf game.
3. Elon Musk
Imagine if the Tesla CEO spent as much time engineering his cars (which have a tendency to eh… catch on fire) as he did his ice bucket challenge contraption. His video combined two of my favorite things about these challenges: kids and ingenuity.
2. President George W. Bush
Former President George W. Bush explained in the beginning of his video that he wouldn’t be accepting the challenge because it wasn’t very “presidential” to have a bucket of ice water dumped on his head. His wife Laura wasn’t having any of that. Maybe it’s because I’m conservative and miss W, but this is one of the very best ice bucket videos I’ve seen yet.
1. David McClain
McClain seems to be the first ALS sufferer to take the challenge, and his video is incredibly inspiring. This is why folks are taking the challenge in the first place, to help those like David raise money and awareness for their disease. McClain is immobilized, and permanently attached to a ventilator, but that doesn’t stop him (with help from his wife) from taking part in the challenge. His wife gently poured a small bowl of ice cubes — shaped like Texas! — on his face and head, as McClain smiled widely. McClain is unable to speak, eat, drink or move, and his courage and openness to expose his vulnerability is just incredible.