Tag Archives: Palestine

My Vitriolic Defence of the #icebucketchallenge

Getting mad at people raising money because they are using water is like getting mad at Live Aid because they were using electricity, like getting mad at an AIDS awareness campaign because condoms are made of rubber or like getting angry at gay marriage because legalising the nuptials of same-sex couples would lead to an increase in carbon dioxide emissions from all of the extra cars driving to and from weddings. In other words, it’s a wonderfully ignorant and ill-informed way of missing the larger point. A toilet flush uses anywhere between 1 and 7 gallons of water, (which is anywhere between 4 and 32 litres of water) so unless you plan on shitting and pissing in your back garden and burying the remains, in order to conserve the environment, I suggest you take your environmental anger elsewhere. Pouring water over your head is about as dangerous to the environment as it sounds. In other words, it’s not very dangerous at all.

'No... You'll kill us all!'

‘No… You’ll kill us all!’

The other argument is that throwing water over your head is an arrogant slap in the face to the millions of people without water. Still, I think that if those people living without water were to get angry at our wanton waste of resources, the #icebucketchallenge would not be the place to start. Would these same people not be as, if not more, angry at the Great British Bake-Off for its hedonistic and luxurious displays of excess cakes and pastries? And the Great British Bake-Off dares to do all of this without raising a penny for charity.

Pictured: a group of souless monsters.

Pictured: a group of soulless monsters.

The world is full of bad news, happening 24 hours a day a day, but for once humanity won. We poured water over our heads – thousands if not millions of us – in order to raise money for Lou Gehrig’s Disease, a life-threatening disorder usually associated with Stephen Hawking. And then, because humans are wonderful, people branched out. They began pouring water over their heads to raise money for cancer, for Palestine, or for Bristolian hospitals (as in my case). We poured water over our heads and we altruistically gave our money away. That’s fantastic. That’s amazing. That’s the kind of shit John Lennon would have written about.

So please, please, do not try to tell me that this is somehow a bad thing. Lots of people are doing it, and I’m sure there’s an element of narcissism to it as well, but that does not make it a bad thing. Gandhi, Mandela, Luther-King were all great men – but I can imagine that they all had a bit of a personality complex too. Gandhi beat his wife, but that does not mean that India shouldn’t have gained independence. Nothing is simple; life is a complex series of selfless and selfish events which sometimes resembles structure. If you were to criticise the #icebucketchallenge, criticise its self-indulgence, its self-congratulation, its self-righteousness, but after all of that criticism, the fact still remains that immeasurable amounts of money has been raised for organisations that are legally obliged not to make profit.

I am a cynical man; I believe that nationalism, religion and ‘culture’ are all hypnotic opiates used to distract us, take our money and then send us to an early grave. I believe this because I am insane but, also, because I read a lot of different things. And yet, despite my cynicism, I support the #icebucketchallenge, I have completed an #icebucketchallenge, and I know that the #icebucketchallenge is an inherently good thing. And this, all of this, is coming from a man who hates hashtags more than an arachnophobe hates Spider Stompin’.

If we'd have used the all the money wasted on this game, we could probably cure Lou Gehrig's Disease...

It’s like ‘Dance, Dance Revolution’ – with murder.

Perhaps we could do better – perhaps we could find a way to raise money for non-profit organisations without using water. But don’t piss all over everything that has already been accomplished here. Don’t try and tell us that our fundraising is evil because we utilised 2 litres of water to do it. Have a look at your car, you food, your clothes, your house – your whole life depends on the use of water. Enter your details here, find out how much water you use very day, and get yourself some well needed perspective. The #icebucketchallenge may be crude in its means but, at its heart, is a very simple and awesome kind of humanity.

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What Kind of Survey Taker Are YOU?

Facebook feeds, Buzzfeed and all other kinds of feed absolutely love surveys. In the 21st Century, there is no need to take a long hard look at the mirror and contemplate your own existence. Instead, you simply answer a few questions and discover what kind of person you actually are (because, evidently, no matter how much you think you know about yourself you are actually someone else), what city you should actually live in (because, evidently, now matter what city you do live in you should actually live somewhere else) and which character from How I met Your Mother you are (because, evidently, the main cast of How I Met Your Mother represent a vast range of possible personalities… so long as your white, Western, young and impossibly good looking).

Is it even statistically possible for this many attractive people to exist in one place?

Is it even statistically possible for this many attractive people to exist in one place?

Countless internet surveys even claim they can even tell you what kind of person you are (here, here, here, here, here, and a Buzzfeed article claiming to know better than all of them by telling you what kind of person you actually are here).

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Buzzfeed really do love ‘actually’.

Hence, the great philosophical quandary over self has finally been solved: Cogito ergo who gives a fuck? The internet can tell me. Okay, so it’s hardly as quotable a maxim as anything Descartes might have said, but it’s still true though isn’t it? After all, all you need to do, to find out who you are, is take an internet survey. The only thing you have to ask yourself is which one you want to take. I mean, are you a house in Harry Potter? Is there a decade you should have been born in (actually)? Are you a Pokemon?  A cat? A fucking games console? Or is there a kind murderous dictator who best captures your individuality? For the record, the last survey doesn’t actually exist, though it would be no more ridiculous than any of the others.

HITLER_I

You are young, ambitious, and you won’t let anything stand in your way.

Regardless, now your problems have been solved because this is the ultimate survey. This is a survey about what kind of survey taker you are. We have taken a step back from surveys, created a meta-survey, the Inception of surveys. This, avid survey takers, is the survey to end all surveys. Let’s start with question 1…


You see someone has posted another survey on Facebook claiming ‘OMG. I love Chandler. I knew that I was just like him LOLOLOLOL’. What do you do?


A) Complete the survey yourself and comment back saying ‘LMAO. I got Monica! Ha, we should get together LOL :P’.

B) Politely acknowledge it and carry on with your day.

or

C) Become unnecessarily angry and cynical about the whole thing and briefly depress yourself while you think about humanity. You wonder about why we are so obsessed with ourselves that we need to constantly advertise our own existence via a constant stream of information to other people. You wonder about why we are so insecure about ourselves that we have to keep taking surveys or, worse still, message the public forum of the internet directly for answers: ‘Write one word that describes me. True friends will comment.’ You consider writing a Facebook status about all this, but stop when you realise the extremely hypocritical nature of that. Instead, you write a blog which, to be honest, is even worse.


Someone mentions the same survey later on in the day in the real world, (the real world, for the record, refers to anything that doesn’t happen on a computer, phone, tablet or laptop screen. If you are unaware of this place, slowly turn your head right until you can no longer see any notifications. If you see a large bright light, do not worry. It’s probably the sun)…

Okay, but what the fuck is that blue stuff surrounding it?

Okay, but what the fuck is that blue stuff surrounding it?

…Anyway, what do you do?


A) Look up from your Iphone to actually face the person, (a task you struggle with) tell them that you took that survey too, laugh, and then quickly returning to safety of your Facebook feed. Phew, that was close right? You almost wound up in one of those – um – what are they called? – conversations. On your Facebook feed, you find another survey and a few more pictures to ‘like’. You then write a new status ‘LOLOLOLOLOL. @ the pub with friends’. This is then followed by another status a few seconds later after taking the What Sexually Transmitted Infection are YOU? survey: ‘LOLOLOLOL. I’m definitely genital warts. Totes describes me!!!!!’

B) Politely acknowledge it and carry on with your day.

or

C) Sink further into your melancholy, neck the last third of your pint and go up to the bar: ‘Could I have a double whiskey please? No mixer. No ice.’


Someone mentions the same survey in the real world for the second time and a debate starts. Someone in the room is now offended because they have been compared to Phoebe. What do you do?


A) Become intensely involved in the discussion. This is the first time all day that you have been aware of your own existence. You begin to re-realise the joy of using your mouth to create words, rather than your thumbs, and find yourself acutely aware of your own accent. You never knew you had an accent. You then start to remember who you are and, to your surprise, you realise that you had a personality before you started using the internet. And even though you only started using social media and surveys to express and explore your sense of self, the irony is that your constant obsession with social media and surveys has obscured it. Your personality has become something you can no longer understand because it is no longer rooted in anything real. You laugh, privately, at the strangeness of it all. However, you suddenly become hit by a wave of sadness as you realise that this insanity has lasted so long that your pre-internet personality is now so uninteresting and uninspired that you consider walking out into moving traffic and ending it all. You alleviate these suicidal thoughts by returning to your phone and finding some pictures of cats on Buzzfeed. You forget the whole epiphany ever happened and write a status referring to the aforementioned argument over the survey: ‘WTF people getting offended over stupid shit! Pisses me offffff!!!’ Then you find some more cats (thanks Buzzfeed) and write another status: ‘LOL at these guys!!!’

B) Politely acknowledge it and carry on with your day.

or

C) Bury your head into your hands. When someone asks what is wrong you take a long pause and say, ‘Have you ever read Brave New World?’. They say no. You were hoping they’d say yes, because it would avoid what you have to do now, which is explain yourself: ‘Sometimes I think that if you added up the average amount of words written and read by the average internet user in – let’s say – a month, it would equal having read two chapters of a fairly heavy novel or textbook and having written about one chapter. Imagine if people used the cognitive effort involved in all that reading and writing for something – positive? Imagine all the hours people pour into writing, completing and commenting on the completion of surveys, the size of a celebrity’s arse or the merits of Radiohead’s newest album. Now imagine if people used all those hours of reading and writing on finding solutions to the crisis in Gaza, the Ebola virus or the tensions in Ukraine. Wouldn’t the world be a much better place?’

Your friend thinks about this for a while and then responds with, ‘Don’t you spend countless hours reading pretentious old books and writing a blog?’ You smile and respond rather smugly, ‘Why yes. Yes I do.’ You friend looks at you in a very strange way: ‘How is that any better?’

You are silent. You have been soundly defeated by their argument. You realise your blog is mainly full of dick jokes…

images (1)

Could someone hold my sausage?

…And you return to the bar: ‘Could I have a treble whiskey please? No mixer. No ice.’


The results…


Mostly As Your personality is far too complex and unique to be defined by any survey on the internet. Put your phone down and go outside.

Mostly Bs Your personality is far too complex and unique to be defined by any survey on the internet. Put your phone down and go outside.

Mostly Cs Your personality is far too complex and unique to be defined by any survey on the internet. Put your phone down and go outside.