In the name of charity, everyone from Taylor Swift to Tiger Woods, Bill Gates and Vin Diesel is pouring iced water over their heads and sharing it over the internet.
If you’ve managed to avoid the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, well done. If you haven’t then you can be proud of your lack of contribution to a cause that is sapping away at the world's limited goodwill.
It seems like David Beckham can sell anything, and his contribution to the Ice Bucket Challenge has been considerable, but he might not be able to cure amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, not even with the help of his fellow footballer Christiano Ronaldo. So it’s reassuring that neither of them are actually bothering to try.
It’s been more than a month since famous people started "raising awareness" of ALS, or what's known here as Motor Neurone Disease. They do this by filming themselves pouring a bucket of ice water over their heads, and nominating other famous people to do the same.
Unfortunately, almost none of them — Beckham, Messi, Ronaldo, Rory Mcilroy, Tiger Woods, Lady Gaga, the list goes on — manage to take a second out from all the hilarity to state what the whole thing is about, before whacking the clip on Youtube.
Okay, so the widespread publicity means that donations to the ALS Association have risen to $21m in the last few weeks. But this is a campaign that has enlisted the help of seemingly every A-Lister on the planet, including the rather deep-pocketed Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates.
As no less than Steve O from Jackass has pointed out (and been terrorised on social media for): "the fact that not more [...] has been raised is a tragedy. What awareness has this actually raised?"
In pictures: The famous do the ice bucket challenge
In pictures: The famous do the ice bucket challenge
1/16 Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga managed to keep an admirably straight face as she poured what looked like a solid silver bowl of cold water over herself
2/16 Homer Simpson
Fans were overjoyed when their favourite yellow cartoon character got involved in the campaign to raise money to help those suffering from ALS. As per usual with Homer Simpson, things escalated quickly
3/16 Reece Witherspoon
One of those who have arrived slightly late on the scene, actress Reece Witherspoon looks nervous but resolute as she has a bucket of ice-cold water chucked over her head
4/16 Lily Allen
Lily wore a bikini as she self-administered her bucket of icy water. She thanked Jess Glynne for the nomination, and passed the challenge onto Mark Ronson, Millie Mackintosh and rapper Giggs
5/16 Daisy Lowe
Celebrity ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos seem to be coming in faster than we can watch them - model Daisy Lowe is one of the most recent to get involved. She was nominated by Sun journalist Dan Wooton, and passed it on to radio presenter Nick Grimshaw and Abbey Clancy
6/16 Bill Gates
One of the first to go viral on YouTube, Bill Gates had freezing water tipped over him in a bid to raise millions of dollars to fight the illness ALS
7/16 George W. Bush
It felt like quite an important moment when the former President of the United States accepted nominations from his daughter Jenna Bush Hager, golfing champion Rory McIlroy, Woody Johnson, and Jim Harbaugh. He nominated 'my friend Bill Clinton'
8/16 Jimmy Fallon
In an official letter this week, the ALS Association said: 'Never before have been in a better position to fuel our fight against this disease.'
NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
9/16 Tom Hiddleston
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis affects the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons degenerate and die which makes it increasingly difficult to move muscles
10/16 Rita Ora
There is no known cause of ALS, though there is a proven hereditary factor in some cases
11/16 Taylor Swift
There is also no known cure, though the millions being raised by the ALS association will go towards researching these great unknowns
12/16 Oprah Winfrey
The illness is also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, named after the all-time great baseball player from the early 20th Century whose time at the top ended when he was stricken with the illness in 1939
13/16 Mark Zuckerberg
The Facebook founder is unarguably the master of the challenge, who – following his drenching – saunters off
14/16 Justin Bieber
Bieber's first attempt was pretty naff: he didn’t quite get it and decided not to use ice or a bucket to complete the challenge. Obviously, the internet moaned at him and he was brilliantly peer pressured into having another go
15/16 Justin Timberlake
Celebrities have been nominating one another to do the challenge
16/16 Christiano Ronaldo and Marcelo
The challenge is now making its way over to this side of the Atlantic, former Manchester United players Paul Scholes and Gary Neville both doused themselves in cold water for a terminally ill fan
Ah yes, "raising awareness." It’s not about the money, it’s peddlers will point out, it’s about getting the message out. This lazy "slacktivism" was magnificently skewered by Unicef recently, with their “Like us on Facebook and we will vaccinate zero children against polio” posters.
Motor Neurone Disease might not be as well known as Aids, and perhaps it could do with the publicity boost, but it’s not as obscure as you might imagine. It is known in the US as Lou Gehrig’s disease, after the Yankees All Star baseball legend who died from it. Today it is more immediately associated with Professor Stephen Hawking, who also puts his vast public profile to good use shifting discount specs and making high-profile bets with other scientists.
Video: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
There’s no shortage of suffering in the world, and a lot of good causes out there, far more than we have the appetite or the spare cash for. Generosity is a finite resource, and whatever tiny part of it is used up by watching Ronaldo sat in his pants and namechecking his famous mates — but not the actual cause — is a waste of everyone’s goodwill.Reuse content