Viral digital memes spread easily in the dog days of summer — especially when the news cycle is dominated by war, rioting and racial relations — and the electronic media is in dire need of a sideshow.
This season celebrities, wannabe celebrities and regular people are dumping buckets of ice water over their heads to raise money for research into ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. As national crazes go, this one has a noble side.
Sadly, one of the originators of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, Corey Griffin, died last week at age 27 in a drowning off Nantucket Island. He surely would be pleased that this social-media darling was nearing $80 million in money raised for ALS research Monday.
Among those who have accepted the challenge to be soaked — or soak someone else — for a good cause are former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who inundated his wife, NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell. Former President George W. Bush got a good splash from former first lady Laura Bush.
Local politicians such as Fresno Unified Board of Trustees President Valerie Davis, Fresno City Council Member Clint Olivier and Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer also have taken part.
The challenge went viral because, once the ice bucketee has been frigidly baptized, they dare three other potential victims to do the same.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson passed on the challenge to Gov. Jerry Brown, surprising those who thought he would put Sacramento City Council Member Steve Hansen on the spot for opposing that city's strong-mayor proposal.
Possibly fearing the icy shock of a non-insulated hairstyle, Brown demurred and instead used first Corgi Sutter Brown as his proxy.
There might be a water shortage in California, but there surely wasn't a lack of opinion about the governor's poached pooch. GOP gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari tweeted that he wouldn't do that to his dogs.
Sutter had no comment about whether he was offended by the dousing. Or even injured by the icy blast.
Fortunately for Sutter, there is Assembly Bill 2056, a pet insurance bill that requires full disclosure about what the insurance covers. The bill has passed and is awaiting the signature of Sutter's master.
Sometimes these memes can be annoying, but it's a small diversion this summer, and ALS research is a worthy cause.
Of course, we have our own list of people we'd like doused.