Opinion

COLUMN: No reality in these bogus programs

Due to Christmas deadlines this column was written last Thursday, which means that if you are reading it now the Mayans didn’t quite get it right about the world ending on December 21.

Of course, if that did occur ...

In any case, looking on the bright side, the History Channel’s extensive coverage last week of all sorts of doomsday scenarios were helpful insights into both our past and, the Mayans aside, our potential future.

I don’t buy into the “Doomsday Preppers’ ” philosophy that is a major program topic on the channel. In the event you don’t watch this program, it details the preparations individuals and families are making to protect themselves against the chaos of an apocalypse.

There are interesting differences between Canadians who are preparing and those in the U.S. A guy in Canada has buried 42 school buses and has offered an open invitation to anyone to “come on down” when disaster strikes.

Americans on the other hand, clad in camo gear, of course, appear more concerned with having enough ammunition to fend off the remaining population. One guy has even gone so far as to invent a shovel that is also capable of slicing a pig carcass in half, useful apparently in the event he runs out of bullets.

I really don’t have a problem with people preparing to deal with disaster. In fact it makes sense, since there is the possibility of volcanic eruptions, earthquakes or the North Koreans zipping off a nuclear-tipped rocket aimed at points to the south of us.

Most of the apocalyptic events, save the bomb, are survivable if you take reasonable care in laying aside a supply of food and water, and knowing how to hunt and fish, etc. I will admit, however, that in some instances one would only be delaying the inevitable, though the will and desire to survive are impulses difficult to subdue.

Unfortunately, in showcasing many of the efforts of “preppers,” the producers of the show tend to reduce the examples of how people “prepare” down to the lowest common denominator – in other words, for complete dummies. Either that, or the preppers portrayed in the show are themselves stupid. For example, recently three members of a family are “camped” in their underground shelter – inexplicably mom was left upstairs with a gun to deal with interlopers – and prepared dinner by heating a single can of food on a little gas stove. No pots? Then, they handed the can around (not hot?), each eating with one of those handy-dandy Boy Scout contraptions that contains knife, fork, spoon, cork screw and a veritable cornucopia of semi-useful tools.

We must assume the show’s producer felt that things simple like ordinary spoons and plates didn’t capture the ‘edginess’ of the simulated situation.

Regrettably, Doomsday Preppers isn’t the only staged program on the somewhat misnamed History channel.

Mountain Men, which at the outset appeared to have a certain outdoorsy appeal, quickly degenerated into a program that I now only occasionally watch to seek out the ridiculous anomalies … like the guy who has someone else sight in a rifle, which was entirely different from the one he used, then complains it misfired, which it didn’t. He just missed what he was shooting at.

Another “star” on this completely contrived program who lives in the Montana wilderness discovers in mid-winter he’s almost out of firewood (maybe he should watch Doomsday Preppers in his spare time) and then heads into the bush, only to return with enough wood to fill a wheelbarrow, all the while bogusly obsessing about wolves and grizzly bears.

Simply awful stuff masqueraded as “reality” that detracts entirely from the value of other worthwhile programs on the channel.

markrushton@abbynews.com

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