Thursday, August 28, 2014

Donatella Versachi ALS bucket challenge

It would be easy to ridicule Donatella Versachi, a Monet if ever there were one, I'm tempted to apply mezzotint pixelate filter to drive the point but she maintains a distance and cleverly distracts attention from herself. Difficult to resist ridicule as she does say "ASL" and not "ALS," two entirely different afflictions. 

Since Donatella mentioned ASL -- how's that for segue? -- here is how you say "ice + bucket + challenge" in American Sign Language.

"Ice" is pantomime for your hands and arms freezing. This is more relevant to ALS. It bears on why a bucket of ice water was carefully chosen for the challenge in the first place. Being doused with ice water does come very close to what ALS sufferers feel. It is what having ALS feels like to some afflicted when they lose control of their nerves. They are frozen out of control of their motor nerves similar to the way one loses muscular control by being doused with ice water. That is the point of the challenge. So, being doused is more than merely acting out for attention. If you ask, "why bother, why not just write a check?" The answer is to attempt to convey what the disease is like while still making a donation.

I met a gentleman with ALS and we hit it off real fine. Long story shortened, he invited me to his home the same day. I was expecting a dump but it turned out to be a very nice and expensive well appointed high rise condominium. While there he invited another of his friends for me to meet and the three of us ended up having dinner there at his place. I could hardly understand a word the man said and I kept asking him to repeat. His version affected his speech.  His friend, a linebacker type guy, a huge man, could understand him a lot better than I. It was a bit embarrassing. A few weeks later when I called back he could not  recall me or our encounter. Apparently I didn't leave much of an impression, or maybe that is part of his problem. 

The word "bucket" is also a pantomime motion of carrying a bucket by its handle.

The word "challenge" is a two-handed sign that depicts two thumbs rising up from the sides for a face off.

But just to complicate things, some signs look similar to each other and comprehension comes by way of context. Some people say the word "bucket the same way they say the word purse. This person changes hands, but how would you know that?  You would have to know that "ice bucket challenge" is trending or you would be likely to mistake the word for purse, and there is no "ice purse challenge," and that is why translators wait until the sentence is finished and not translate word for word as they go. It gives the appearance of being behind, or slow on the uptake, but one must wait for the end for the meaning to complete.

This gentleman's sign for "purse," is a common way to pantomime the word. It closely resembles the pantomime sign of walking a dog on a leash.

There is another way to say "purse" that uses one hand to depict the shape of a bag under the opposite arm. 

There is also another way to sign "bucket" by describing its shape with two hands. 

I've been reading online much disgust with this whole fad. Why not just write a check and shut up? Why all the attention drawn to oneself? Why all the self-promotion? Why all the bandwagon hopping? Commenters have their own answers, and it is not at all nice. Other questions about the challenge are more thoughtful. 

Michael Hiltzik writing for the L.A. Times has a few (impolite) questions about the ice bucket challenge. He contends:

  • Is the ice bucket challenge the best way to decide where to put your charitable donations? No.
  • Despite the ice bucket challenge, ALS is not our leading health concern
  • The ice bucket challenge may be diverting needed dollars from worthier causes
Anthony Corbohal is a photographer. He responds to these challenges. 

Cofounder of the ALS ice bucket challenge, Corey Griffin, and close friend of teammate and ALS sufferer Pete Frates, has died August 19 of drowning in Nantucket. He jumped off the roof of a local business into the harbor.


Sixty Grit said...

I think the other charities are jealous.

Hey, I just thought of something - I have a Lou Gehrig signature bat from the '40s - perhaps I could go whack people with it if they don't give me money.

Now all I need is a catchy name for the challenge...

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

We should all pay to the ALS research just to avoid watching that last video!

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Well, now I know that the ice bucket challenge has something to do with soliciting money for medical research.

You learn something new every day.

I don't know much about ALS. Something or other to do with myelin sheaths.

All those imported STEM workers should have it licked in no time.

Lem said...

Thanks for posting that ChipA.

Unknown said...

I'm distracted by the moobs.

Lem said...

BTW, nice catch catch on the Donatella video.

ASL and ALS fueron al campo un dia... mas pudo el ASL que el amor que le tenia.

ricpic said...

What is it with this hysteria to have a bucket of ice water emptied over the head? What does it mean, Mommy?

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

I'd be willing to give money for heart research if someone did the ice bucket challenge and died from a coronary.

That'd be pretty cool.

Pretty cool. Get it?

Lem said...

I came across an alluding Bucket Challenge meme of... better yet, why don't I just link to it.

My brother tells me only a marine got it.

Lem said...

People weren't "ready" back then ;)

Lem said...

What? poor taste?

Lem said...

I'm not entirely persuaded by the argument that the reason why a cure has not been found is mostly, if not entirely, do to pharma profit motive.

I mean, how does anybody know that for sure?

The assumed unknowns in a calculation like that are just too many to make it valid.

I'm sorry he has it. But... should that in itself be sufficient license to condemn an entire industry?

Free speech aside.

Lem said...

I suppose pointing the finger is done with hope. a moral bucket challenge.

Sixty Grit said...

Drunk again, Lem?

Lem said...

Rush had an interesting monologue last week about what morality used to mean and what it means now.

I suppose, in a way, the Ice Bucket challenge is the new way of incentivizing a diminished moral persuasion.

Pointing the finger is the old way.

Repurposed Entertainment? Ice-BC is the new way?

That ties into the talk we were having after that guy complained that he was not having enough sex? and as a result he had to let the world know about his misery by shooting some people.

Because the ultimate fulfillment in life is good sex and constant entertainment.

Lem said...

Not following me Sixty?

Lem said...

I guess what I'm trying to say is, in my convoluted, "drunk" ways is something we've heard before.

Instant gratification is the new religion.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Instant gratification is the new religion.

And it's probably too late to buy up all the golden calf futures.


poppa india said...

i lived in Nantucket 1980 to '85 and worked as an electrician for the company that owned a lot of business property including the wharfs. Back then I never heard of anyone diving off any roofs. Judging from my memory and the Google maps photo, I don't see how one could hope to hit the water from 44 Straight Wharf, but things might have changed since then. Anyway, a sad story and a loss to many.

Chip Ahoy said...

There once was a man from Nantucket

who challenge with ice-water bucket

Then he leapt from a roof

And showed living proof

When your number is up you can't duck it.

poppa india said...

I'm grateful to Chip Ahoy. I've heard the other version of this rhyme so often I'm afraid to say I lived there... hope yours catches on instead!

rcommal said...


The one and only thing I want to say on this topic is:

When it counted, when my mom died during her battle with ALS, I know who was there.

Haz was, for a remarkable (though not the only) example on line, and he and his wife contributed to ALS research in my mother's name (and it didn't take a PR ice-bucket, just say'n'). I've said it before and I'll say it again: That is something I will never forget. Never, never, never. That is what grateful, thankful and ever mindful of blessed means. And I am, especially in certain ways. : /