Thursday, July 26, 2007
Bear Grylls: My Hero
Stop Hating On Bear!
Bear Grylls resume is outstanding. British Special Forces puts him in the top percentile of the world of elite human machismos. Climbing Mt. Everest (the youngest englishman), and crossing the frozen sea of the Atlantic puts him in a class of survivalism that only a handful have obtained. So now this controversy is uncovered in which people are stating that on the popular show "Man Vs. Wild" Bear is getting help from consultants and not really sleeping in animal carcasses. People are claiming that this reality TV is not really reality. Wait...go figure...TV not realistic?
Reality itself, is not interesting for 99% of the population. Therefore people have seemed to enjoy watching shows about people whose reality seems to be wild and crazy and more interesting than theirs. The problem with that is the TV producers are spending a lot of money following around a schmo for days and days only to find them grocery shopping or watching TV or whatever. So for the show to continue on, REALITY must be forced and tweaked. These situations usually revolve around a conflict, an altercation, or acts of stupidity. You know you wouldn't watch if it was boring.
So Bear Grylls allegedly doesn't sleep the whole night in a freezing snow cave, or his raft he can't complete by himself. Okay, not cool, but I know from watching the show, that it is TV! Of course there is a "Local Survival Expert" or whatever credited, because Bear isn't going to know about Native American survival techniques without sitting down with somebody from the area and learning it. I love the show "Man Vs. Wild" it is my favorite show on television, why, because it is something that interests me and something I grew up doing on a way lesser scale. I am an Eagle Scout and I was in the Boy Scouts for many years of my early life. I went camping once a month and the most important lessons ("merit badges") I learned from the program was Emergency Preparedness, First Aid, and Wilderness Survival. In a few instances I have used those First Aid techniques in car accidents and mini "disasters" or whatever. I take it all very personally because saving peoples lives is an amazing thing, and there are many situations where a person can do so. Bear Grylls is my hero because he films situations in which the normal person would die or be scared shitless and he walks you through the steps towards making it out alive. He teaches survival techniques on TV and that is a hell of a lot better than watching young girls get drunk and make out like most reality TV. Most "stars" of reality TV are embarrassed (you know you have watched the Real World reunions and they always say that). This is noble television, and I always knew that there is definitely some fudging going on because Bear has an unidentified camera crew and it's REALITY TV.
I have worked in music since I was 15 1/2 years old in which I have truly gone from innocence to experience. On occasions through my career I have seen payola take place, interns forging stars autographs, discussions about the use of auto-tune on a record, and many more "behind the scenes" bullshit that the consumer and common man would shun. It is also such common knowledge of the use of "Ghost Writers" that it has become completely acceptable, nobility is out the fucking window at the first hint in the Entertainment Industry. A "Ghost Writer" is employed when a songwriter or producer has gotten to the point of fame where he is too lazy/lost his touch and hires up and coming creative songwriters/producers to write his shit for him to put his name on. This is never mentioned in articles or liner notes, but it happens with almost all mega-stars and nobody bats a lash. Even now a days due to some discovery or partial morality these ghost writers get a small percentage of the hit songs they wrote but the press still hails the big name attached to it. The exact same filthy techniques are employed in all television, especially reality tv!
What the "bewildered herd" doesn't know, doesn't hurt them. The NY Post who is infamous for slander and uncovering bullshit about anything of course goes to town on this. In my mind Bear has earned enough respect through his unfilmed acts of survival and human drama to be able to film a show in which things are setup and facts are withheld, it's called television. I dont know about you, but when I saw Bear drink his own piss, bite the head off a snake in which he eats, and eat a fish that came straight out of a river raw I squirmed. That type of TV is good TV because in that situation who knows what we would do to survive. It's not like he doesn't show himself skinning a dead animal for it's hide so he doesn't freeze, there is no stunt double around. Along with that "drama" I have also seen a man explain how to use the sun, moss, and small icicles as a compass which uncovers one of the most important parts of survival, finding your direction a la North, South, East and West. Finding a water source in the desert, building a snowcave (which is basically the only way to survive when in a barren snowy region), or the proper feet first method when you are in the rapids without a boat/canoe/raft is all very useful information. My Boy Scout experience has touched on these things and I'm glad that the masses enjoy watching this stuff and hopefully learning a bit. Who knew all snakes are edible as long as you don't eat the guts or head?!?! I will also state that not all boy scouts are angels. I am a very proud Eagle Scout and I'll admit I spent many nights out in the wilderness drinking beers with fellow boy scouts at an early age (along with other contraband). Oh the shock, oh the horror!
The fact of the matter is that all TV is manufactured in the "Wizard of Oz" type way. Behind the scenes a lot of bullshit goes down and until recent years it was all unknown to the general public. "The Day of the Locust" depicted true Hollywood in 1939 and it was a huge success because people were intrigued that those involved in amazing movies were treated like shit, poor, and miserable. Entertainment is only entertaining if you are intrigued and if it's something you dont know much about. The public's desire for dramatic entertainment has cost people their dignity. In my eyes Bear Grylls will always be a hero, and I don't mind if not every aspect of his show is him absolutely cut-off from human contact because in the one hour show the lessons learned and the entertainment value is much more valuable. A man like Bear Grylls has already earned his credibility, let the ghosts of entertainment do what they do so we can continue to enjoy "Man Vs. Wild."