I’m sort of off-topic again but I know me…it happens. I ran into Alan, one of the older fellas that bought my book. He asked how the second one was coming along. I told him that I was doing a bit more research into the wolf and wolf-dogs so that I might be accurate in my portrayal of the lead character. He suggested if I really wanted to study wolves and wildlife I should watch “Yukon Men” on the Discovery Channel. Then he smiled and said it was pretty sensationalized.
I’d never heard of this show and now I truly wish it had remained that way. I have just finished watching “highlights” on the website and I find myself totally disgusted with the representation of both the humans and animals in this program.
If you haven’t seen it…good on ya. In my opinion it is one of the biggest piles of fertilizer in this genre they call “Reality Television”.
It centers on the town of Tanana, Alaska where (actual quotes from the site) “you live 24 hours a day surrounded by carnivorous predators” and you have to “kill or be killed”. One man claims he’s “constantly worried that a wolf might eat some of the kids” while a woman is under constant daily stress that “if I turned my head for a couple of minutes my baby would be gone”. If I was in that situation and they were making a TV series about me it wouldn’t get past the first episode. The sight of a moving truck backing up to my door while I get the hell out of there isn’t profitable television I’m afraid. Aside from turning a Volkswagen bug into a dog sled the mainstay of this show seems to be claims of bear, wolverine, and wolf attacks. At one point the commentator dramatically announces that “there have been 20 fatal wolf attacks in the last 10 years”. Oddly enough after close to an hour on-line I can’t find a documented case of a wolverine attacking a human. As for the maligned wolf there are only two cases of a ‘supposed’ unprovoked attack by a wolf causing death, one in Saskatchewan (which scientists insist was a bear even though wolves were spotted in the area) and one in Alaska in 2010. So Mister Commentator (or Mr. Writer)…get your facts straight before you present them as, well, fact. And the people of Tanana…well, no comment. They’re pretty much the same as the hog chasers, duck hunters, and gator dudes of those other “reality” shows…the clowns in the circus of life. I probably should have watched more but I prefer my fantasy in outer space.
But what it did do was get me thinking about “reality television” and how these shows define the greater population. To a traveler from a distant galaxy who is studying Earth through our television waves it must create quite an impression (as it probably does to those in Europe, Asia, or Australia). Okay, it’s ‘reality’ so this must be what it’s really like. Foul-mouthed four-year-old beauty queens tearing a strip off Mum because she forgot to bring the gold tiara to the contest, guys that sit around chewing baccy and handcuffing themselves to chairs while questioning the whole second-cousin thing (is she really related?), over-sexed and under-challenged boys and girls living in a mansion trying to decide who’s the better lover and who to boot to the curb, extremely under-challenged dolts hanging out at the beach trying to find their toes, family dinners comprised of crushed glass and razor blades, people who eat rocks and drink their own…never mind, over-armed half-wits in the swamps killing alligators…the list goes on. Unfortunately it doesn’t end with these fictionalized realities.
Major news has become big business and, as much as I feel for people in disastrous situations, I see no need to play the same footage of grieving parents over and over again. It’s all about getting more viewers which gets more commercials which gets more money, usually at the expense of someone who just wants to get on with their lives. It’s all about sensationalism at any cost to make money.
I mentioned “de-thatching my brain” in the last post. This is part of the process. I am trying not to clutter my mind by coming up with a single rational, logical reason why 2,000,000 people consistently watch “Yukon Men” each week and in all honesty, I can’t (“I watch it for entertainment” doesn’t count…that’s like the old “I read Playboy for the articles” cop-out).
To Alan…next time we meet you’re buying the coffee.