On Monday, Gawker dug up Ted Cruz’s deeply depressing Ice Bucket Challenge video.
Ted’s behavior here may be the most forced and unsuccessful attempt at seeming to be fun that I have ever seen, and I have worked on cruise ships.
Gawker did a fine analysis of Heidi Cruz’s hostageface — What does Ted say to people just before the camera rolls? — but pretty much took Ted’s newly-hatched-pod-person attempt at simulating enjoyment of life and other people for granted.
Presumably that’s why Gawker gave the terrifying note in Ted’s “Sweetheart, let’s go” command and his meticulously rehearsed, not-at-all-convincing yowl on feeling the ice-cold water a pass.
Oh, and about that yowl. Or rather, about that “ice-cold water” that is meant to have inspired it.
It is called “The Ice-Bucket Challenge.”
in that bucket. None. Not a cube.
If you look at the condensation — really a light fog at most — on the side of the bucket, you can tell that the water isn’t even particularly cold, and never has been. That tub doesn’t drip the way a container that once had melting ice in it does. While it seems to be a heavy thing for her to hold (How many times did Ted make her hoist it? How long did he micromanage her elbow placement?), it does not in any way seem to be a particularly cold thing for her to hang on to. It doesn’t get her arms or her shirt wet the way the outside of a real tub of ice water would. And – he yells only after the water hits and clears him, which does not actually seem like a thing real humans do when they have been doused in ice water.
Ted Cruz did not do the Ice-Bucket Challenge. He did the cool tap water challenge. At most.
The true slimebag thing here is that there was always a perfect way out for someone who didn’t want to get doused in near-freezing water. Observe the perfectly executed challenge of Patrick Stewart:
He gets it. You take the ice water or you write the damn donation check. And skipping the ice water and writing the damn check was the really valuable thing to do there. Plenty of people took the dousing and wrote the check.
Ted Cruz pointedly did not donate to the ALS Foundation because they perform some embryonic stem cell research, which is certainly his prerogative. Ted’s not a big charitable donor in general, but sure, if he’s morally (or at least publicly) opposed to an aspect of a given charity, then he absolutely shouldn’t donate.
But if he’s morally opposed to the work of the ALS Foundation, he shouldn’t have contributed to the organization’s publicity by participating in the challenge. It’s almost as if Cruz decided that pushing his own jolly public image was the most important thing here. At the same time, he used some weasel words to signal that he didn’t actually really like the ALS Foundation too much, like not enough to date it, by saying that “Heidi and I are proud to support personally ALS research, and we would encourage you to do the same.” See? He loves ALS research, like any human should. The ALS Foundation? Eh.
OK, fine. If Cruz wanted to play along and keep a well-intentioned wave of charitable feeling going but didn’t want to make a donation, terrific. But then he absolutely should have played by the rules and taken a bucket of ice water over his head, as thousands of other people managed to do.
Cruz didn’t donate and didn’t take the minor penalty of enduring a few seconds of discomfort, but did lap up the public relations benefits that came from looking like such a swell, spontaneous, and charitable guy.
We’ve grown to expect scumballery from this year’s Republican presidential crop. But should we really put up with such petty scumballery?
Cruz owes us one soaking with real ice water. I bet he wouldn’t make that same noise again.
Take your dousing, Ted.