Notes on a sticky summer
I thought I’d got away with it.
Days passed by.
And then WALLOP, my shirtless 70-year old uncle nominates me to take part in the ice bucket challenge.
Cheers, Uncle Charlie.
Aside from my initial observation, which was that he’s looking pretty buff, my second reaction was, I’ll be honest, one of indifference.
There’s no doubt about it, as ideas go, it’s a sticky one. So much so that Forbes believe the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has raised $100m for research into motor neurone disease.
However, in the days before and after nomination, the whole thing just irked me a touch. As a piece of culturally relevant tomfoolery, it worked. It exploded. But I couldn’t help but feel as though it was one big celebrity friend-off. An opportunity for Beckham to bromance DiCaprio. And amongst the sprightly A-list love-in of able-bodied, expensively crafted health, I couldn’t help feeling as though the cause was an afterthought.
Furthermore, whereas Cancer Research UK’s #nomakeupselfie campaign oozed a dignified, intelligent elegance in tonal parallel with the battle against cancer, embracing a bucket of icy water to avoid making a charitable donation just jarred even further.
But whilst I viewed it as a clumsy Hollywood high-five at a time when the world was and still is going through a very public period of unrest, those same celebrities, admittedly, accelerated a tipping point, the ultimate push, the catalyst towards sensation, and thus began a whirlwind demonstration of how connected and positively impressionable a lot of us are.
This is an idea that, whilst not being FOR everyone, speaks TO millions with a common thirst for generating social currency… I have friends – check. I’m a good sport – check. I’m aware of and engaged in popular culture – check.
It was a sticky idea. One we were given to own and interpret. And I can’t help but admire the impression it has left on so many. And after some resistance, for a number of reasons, I gave in and accepted the challenge myself. And then donated. And therein lies the idea’s ability to toy with your emotions.
Helpfully, our summer reading list has illustrated the value in being able to be moved by an idea, whilst balancing that reception with an acute sense of how and why an idea can be so provocative and sharable. Don’t get me wrong, I know my knowledge is pea-sized, but I feel as though my mind has been pried open before the course has even begun.
With the first day of term in sight, I’m feeling nervous, excited and a great deal of fortune to be joining SCA. I’m telling myself I’m ready to be pulled apart and remoulded. Even if I’m not. I’m looking forward to being moved and to learn exactly why that can happen. Things really will never be the same again.
Farewell then, sticky summer, I’m now nominating myself to dive headfirst into every lesson SCA has to offer.