25th October 2007

Explaining My Absence…..

calendarI’ve had a number of people email me lately, concerned over my lack of postings on all the blogs I used to post on regularly…….I thank you all for your concern….for those who have just been wondering, a word of explanation:

Over the past month I’ve suffered a harmonic convergence of several factors – a “perfect storm” of perfectly timed obligations that managed to consume every waking moment, leaving me with no time for writing (which is only my hobby, after all)……..several important work projects with short deadlines, several out-of-state trips, and a flu that seemed to hang on forever, leaving me exhausted physically and mentally. I’m just now starting to get back some energy and feeling better.

In addition, I needed to take a step back from this blog, as I felt it was heading in a direction that was different from what I’d intended – I was spending more time just ranting, and less time writing about what I originally wanted to write about (a lighthearted, humorous take on what’s going on in the world). Anyone who knows me personally knows that humor is a big part of my personality, and yet it seemed that all I could focus on was that which pushed my hot buttons. Is that a bad thing? I don’t know. We all need to rant and rave and let off steam once in a while, so maybe not.

So perhaps this blog will be about what interests me enough to express an opinion – which sometimes may be funny, and sometimes not. But I’ll write about what I care about, and even if no one else reads it, I’ll feel better for writing it.

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25th October 2007

You mean Reality TV isn’t real?

Man vs WildDoes anyone really believe that it is? Even after all of the obviously scripted shenanigans on shows like the Simple Life, The Hills, The Real World, and countless other reality shows?

Even on shows like Discovery Channel’s Man vs. Wild, in which host Bear Grylls heads off into the wilderness to survive for a few days or a week, reality isn’t real. Come on, what would Discovery Channel do if Bear ever met with a life-threatening accident, like say getting eaten by a (real) bear? Would they air it? Of course not. Would they really risk losing their charismatic host? Of course not. So we have to assume that although it “looks” dangerous, it isn’t really. It’s simply entertainment of another form, not much different that any half-hour sitcom or hour drama, except without the canned laugh-track.

Apparently however, those at Discovery Channel themselves were fooled, since they’ve launched an investigation into allegations that much of the danger didn’t exactly exist as depicted in the carefully edited episodes.

While I won’t share my opinion of anyone at Discovery who really thought that Bear was risking life and limb in every episode, I heartily applaud their decision to keep the show on the air, albeit making clear that he does receive assistance, and not all the dangers presented are as real as they seem (as well as re-editing older episodes so as to be less misleading).

The reason I think this is a wise decision is that Man vs. Wild, along with The Science Channel’s Survivorman, presents the viewer with a true education in survival techniques, in a way that is both interesting and memorable.

I will point out that in episodes of Survivorman, it’s host Les Stroud does indeed venture into the wild alone, and truly does face a real degree of danger that is unscripted. No cameramen accompany Mr. Stroud (he films himself) and receives no outside assistance until he is picked up by his crew at a prearranged time and place.

But in either case, real or scripted, the techniques taught by these shows could very well come in handy should one unexpectedly find oneself in a dangerous survival situation. So should we care more that it’s “real”? Or that we can learn something from it anyway.

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