Monday, June 2, 2014


Sorry for the late posting. We've been having storms and internet has been on and off.

I don’t particularly like reality shows. I don’t care how “hidden” the cameras, those involved are aware of them and react accordingly. I do believe the producers will and do encourage certain actions/reactions to increase drama for the viewers.

I’m especially irritated with the alleged wilderness and survival shows. Those really get me. My husband loves the Alaskan shows—homesteaders, mountain men, and those that do trapping for the winter. I’m not saying all of them are bad but most of them aren't a good example of how to live in these areas or live off the land. 

Anyone who lives in remote areas or in harsh climates has a lot of respect for just what these climates can do for unwary and unprepared. The people who live there are rather contemptuous of stupid. Long time residents never go out unprepared if they want to live. They have a good research library and a damn good medical kit and books and contingencies in place in the event there is a serious medical issue on how to handle medical situations, human and animal (there are several good ones including one put out by the US Army and also books on how to use plants for medicines). They know the terrain, they know how much daylight they have, and they know where they will be stopping and what’s available to them when they do. They dress appropriately and have extras in case they get wet. Accidents can and do happen but the smart woodman prepares for those possibilities and are aware that being stupid can kill you. Even the savvy can be killed in a freak accident. 

Granted, there are some good pointers in these shows for when you’re camping out in harsh elements. How to create a shelter, make a warm bed, and keep you warm and hydrated.  But, invariably, these shows play the whole scenario of there’s a storm coming and we’re one step from death and what WILL we do? Hello, if you've prepared like a smart person would you ride out the storm. If you haven’t prepared you shouldn't be out there or standing in front of cameras showing your stupidity.  Feh.

Most trappers I've known through the years have used the summer to stock foods, lay in wood for the line shacks, plenty of blankets, and keep extra supplies to repair equipment. Even those who use winter tents know the likely spots to stop where there is plenty of wood and shelter from storms and winds. While I’m on irritations, I haven’t known a trapper to go out on the line unarmed. That’s for several reasons, one, to dispatch an animal that may still be alive in the traps, two, to protect themselves against an aggressive predators, and three, to hunt for food if necessary.

I caught part of one particular show recently. The guy is talking about a grizzly that’s been around and looking for food near his cabin. The grizzly had also caused some damage in its quest for food. Yes, he was smart to approach the line shack cautiously. Stop, look, and listen is a mantra for any savvy hunter or woodsman when approaching a place that’s unoccupied most of the year, or anyplace where dangerous predators are part of the population. You don’t know what’s there and it’s smart to be cautious.  Surprising a bear, for instance, and particularly a grizzly (which can be territorial and nasty on any given day) isn't wise. But where the hell was this dude’s rifle? He knows there is a grizzly roaming the area and has been hanging around the cabin and he doesn't have a rifle in his hands and a back up pistol on his belt? Seriously? And then he walks up to the cabin door and guess what? There’s hair on the door (I guess the bears up there are taught to be polite and knock). How dramatic.

Then there’s the dude who likes solitude and lives in this cabin in the middle of nowhere and when he’s there, lives off the land. That makes sense. But then he’s just about starving to death? In the summer and early fall?  How can you be hungry with all the abundant wildlife to hunt? If he goes to this spot regularly (and he does), how has he not researched edible plants and where they are? Oh, and here’s a novel thought if you’re going to live there from spring to late fall. Ever think of planting a small garden?  Fishing is good, but one pole and line? Ever heard of a trotline dude? When it comes to putting food on the table you look for ways to maximize success.

I've lived far way from trappings of city or urban life and in some harsh winter areas. I've lived off the land and without modern amenities. It’s a whole different mindset. I know the preparations involved to do so successfully. When I see crap like this it tends to scratch against the blackboard of my tolerance. So many of these shows tend to tick me off because they’re not as realistic as they portray themselves to be. Kinda of like reading a book with a good premise but with a hero or heroine who constantly do stupid things with little or no consequences. We call them too stupid to live. Some reality shows fall into the same category.  

Upcoming guest in June:
4th: Isobel Rey, 6th: Dawn Ryder 
13th: Elizabeth Staab, 18th Emily Greewood
20th: Marie Hart, 25th Annalisa Crawford


Optimistic Existentialist said...

Wow I can tell that you are quite passionate about this. I personally loathe reality shows. Truthfully, I think they are the worst thing to happen to television. They've ruined TV and they've contributed to the dumbing-down of society lol.

D.G. Hudson said...

I dislike reality shows for the reasons you name. My hubs watches a few, and so do our adult daughters. They find it humorous and hubs like to watch them fix the cars, create custom cars and bikes, blow up old buildings, look through hoarders barns, etc.

Give me a book instead!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Keith when I watch TV it's for entertainment. Something that takes me away from where I am and what I'm doing. I do like documentaries, I also like animal shows or National Geographic. Reality shows just aren't the type of entertain that um, entertains me. *shrugs

DG I won't say all reality shows are bad. There are those you mentioned on fixing cars or decorating and remodeling that are good sources of info. My son and I've watched several shows on finding and then refurbishing classic cars. They're interesting.

I'm with you, I'd rather read a book. :-)

Kat Sheridan said...

I would'nt survive two seconds in any wilderness. But I do love to watch Survivor!

Natalie Aguirre said...

I've never watched reality shows. No time to watch much TV in general and these don't appea.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I've never watched reality shows. No time to watch much TV in general and these don't appea.

Liza said...

I don't watch reality shows. I didn't even know the ones you mentioned existed. I am squarely in your court. Anything that is being filmed consciously, allows for staging. As for filming things like the guy unprepared for a bear, or the hungry man, well, it just seems...stupid. But I suppose, TV producers would flinch at showing the (real) reality...a charging bear taking a bullet, or the ho-hum of a hungry man weeding his rows of cabbage.

Jo said...

I watched the first reality show that was ever aired and I haven't watched one since. The whole thing is totally stupid - things like Survivor I mean. Apart from anything else they have easy access to help from the TV crew. I don't watch TV much anyway.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I can't stand "reality" shows about living outdoors. It's so obvious that the person could be much more prepared if they were truly into survival, or outdoor living. I'm not a woodsman, and I don't have the skills it would take, but I know that it's best to be prepared for the worst. I took a couple of two week trips with my parents in which we camped and canoed in some fairly wild country (we were in a provincial park in Canada so there were some flybys by rangers now and then), and we took twice as much food as we needed, and even though it's not legal to carry a firearm in Canada when you're from the US, we did bring some whopping big cans of bear spray plus whatever we needed to split wood. I don't even hike or take a long bicycle ride without some kind of food, water, and extra clothes. While that may seem extreme, I have friends who have been injured while out for a day hike - and that's when the extra supplies are crucial.
Sorry, probably TMI - but I can't agree with you more on this!

And BTW - Thanks for the Blitz!!!