Brace yourself: Reality TV industry sinks claws into off-grid
by NICK ROSEN on AUGUST 3, 2012 - 7 Comments in COMMUNITY

Be warned – a large number of reality TV companies are jumping on the bandwagon of off-grid – our forum has a great thread where a reader called riverrat denounces the spate of misleading TV series that have appeared in the past year. here is part of what he says:-
“I do intend to create a small community of like minded individuals on my property, and I don’t watch tons of TV, but I do watch many Discovery, Animal Planet shows. The reality series that I have seen, especially relating to people living outside of the considered norm are VERY poorly represented, they are misconstrued and there always tends to be a negative spin on things. In other words either complete looneys are chosen to be cast or the whole story isn’t told only leaving the viewer with the idea that the people involved are crazy, angry, unreasonable, paranoid etc. Or the producers stage for them to do things in a way that doesn’t show the real story of what’s going on. There is more focus on the negative and silly than the actual intelligent and positive. It’s almost as if media is trying to demonize or put a negative label on people that choose to be self sufficient rather than praise them for their intelligence, resourcefulness, and self reliance.

American and European TV and it’s representation of reality is positively crap. Allowing a director and crew to come in and influence the activities, actions, and every day flow can’t be a smart thing to do because to them, drama is ratings, and apparently from my understanding is they will not hesitate to create or influence drama to get their ratings. I wouldn’t compromise my ideals, nor the integrity of myself, my family, and my community in any way for the entertainment of the lemming masses who are nothing but brainwashed slaves to “what Americans consider normal” society.

Screwing people over, and misrepresenting the truth for ratings and entertainment value should be considered deflamation of character and punishable by fine and imprisonment.

I am an active member of many online communities regarding prepper lifestyles, survival lifestyles, off grid lifestyle, homesteading communities, etc. And after witnessing the type of people they feature in these shows representing “fringe lifestyles”, the presentation of these shows, and the footage that we get to see on TV vs. what I actually know about them these people are in no way reflected in the shows I’ve seen on TV, and I’m very jaded about it. My lifestyle decisions and goal have actually developed into a negative attitude toward me at work simply because of how these shows have represented those of similar mindset as myself. There are literally several people here at work that consider me an insane lunatic because I want to finish building a self sufficient homestead and eventually allow friends of similar mindset to move onto it and assist each other and thrive from the land. One person literally saying “Sounds like one of those cult type militia people you see on Discovery channel.”
I have chatted with two families featured on Doomsday preppers, and what was represented to the TV audience is VASTLY differing from what is represented online and in person. They are almost made to look like militant lunatics or absolute crazies fit for a straight jacket. When they agreed to do the show it was under the understanding that their lifestyle, mind set and goals would be accurately and fairly represented. In the end, their spot on the show ended up showing them as paranoid, scared, militant people preparing for war rather than being intelligent and reasonable people creating a life that is simply as normal of a life as one can build for themselves and their families and still be capable of handling all but the worst case scenario situation that life could possibly throw in their direction. Sure the shows have featured their share of legit lunatics, but the reality is, they are FAR from the norm. They were told in the process that experts would assist and analyze their lifestyle and help them become better preppers. Not everything they did on that show was things they practiced, some of those things were things that the “experts” told them to practice and do, then falsely represented as part of their every lifestyle rather than expert recommendation.
Neither family I have been in contact with is very pleased in the least with how they were presented to the public and more than anything feel that they were made to look like crazy people that were potentially dangerous to the public when nothing could be further from the truth.
Are you willing to immerse yourself into the lifestyle, the culture, the work, the mindset, etc in order to fully understand and represent what it is you are documenting?
These are more often than not good people simply trying to raise intelligent, resourceful, self reliant kids, and get through life knowing that they have spent their lives doing the best they can to ensure the safety, health and well being of their families no matter what happens in life while using minimal resources and having as minimal of a negative effect on the earth and the people around them as possible in the process. This isn’t hippy communes, militia compounds, cult religions etc. It is a lifestyle, one that has been around for thousands of years, this isn’t some fringe new thing, this isn’t some new revelation brought on by global warming, economic uncertainty, etc. It is simply a lifestyle of freedom, independance, and self reliance, the REAL American Dream. Rather than the big nice house in the big nice neighborhood with the nice cars having to answer to their homeowners associating, having to ask permission to add on to their back yard, having to get local government approval for that pool, dependant on super markets, the electrical grid, city provided water supply filled with chemicals, big business chains, bankers, greedy employers, politicians, etc. You know, the illusion of the American dream.
Off Grid Homesteading and survival prepping is the way EVERYONE used to live, and was still prevelant into the 60s and 70s in certain parts of the country, and in parts of Appalachia is still being practiced by entire communities that never bought into modern culture and lifestyle, they view the average lifestyle as wasteful and unecessary. The way we live today is very much NOT the norm for the VAST majority of the world. We are the habit of excess consumption, and convenience at all costs.
The American Indians had it right
“When white man find land, Indians running it, no taxes, no debt, plenty buffalo, plenty beaver, clean water. Women did all the work at home. Medicine man was free. Indian man spend all day hunting and fishing: all night having sex. Only white man dumb enough to think he could improve system like that.”
~ Chief “Two Eagles” ~
Live it, love it, protect it, appreciate it. This will very well become a dead art if the world continues in it’s current direction. We’re already being labled with negative connotations, cast in a negative light to the general public, there are already too many laws being passed limiting our ability to live as we choose, grow what we choose, eat what we choose, and in some cases even making it an absolute impossibility in certain areas.
It like they are building a world of dependant and subserviant consumers rather than promoting true freedom.

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7 comments

1 Jeff Cowen { 08.03.12 at 4:12 pm }

Riverrat here.

I truely don’t feel like alternative lifestyles are ever fairly documented these days. There was a time when the lifestyle we all desire and are working toward and in some cases are living was perfectly normal. In Modern America the mind set is “That’s was how caveman lived, why would you want that?”. We’re losing our way with a quickness.

Oddly, the Government doesn’t seem to approve either. I’m not quite sure what the reasoning is, but they are working vigilantly at making it as difficult as possible to live without being dependant on the power companies, sewer, water packed with checmicals, and prepackaged mass produced foods. I do not, and can not understand why they would do this. Something fishy is going on.

We’re realizing that we are not a truly free society.

The last thing I want is some TV show company to come in and film how we live, by nature of how we live, it’s rarely going to make for interesting TV. They’ll have to do something to make it interesting. Saying they want to come in and just film a documentary style show about living off grid leaves me believing that the majority of the show will consist of hippy communes, militia camps, paranoid preppers that took it one step farther and made a prepper community, etc.

Don’t sell yourself out to these people, in the end all they will do is expose you as a target, make you out to be some paranoid lunatic, and embarrass you and your entire family in front of the world.

If you think for one minute they will fairly represent the average functional off-grid community remember this. They are doing this for money, in order to make money they need ratings, Drama is what brings rating, and there would be very little real drama in a TV show of people diggin in dirt, raising seeds, digging wells, setting up solar panels, putting water in their batteries, smoking hams, grilling dinner, building a barn, etc.

2 Steph { 08.03.12 at 8:40 pm }

I agree. It is really disgusting how many of those people were portrayed and I thank you for a wonderfully written article.

3 Nick { 08.03.12 at 10:05 pm }

“It’s almost as if media is trying to demonize or put a negative label on people that choose to be self sufficient rather than praise them for their intelligence, resourcefulness, and self reliance.”

It’s not almost like that, it it exactly like that! Everyone must rent their life from corporations, including the US corporation, everyone must be plugged in to the grid, media, etc… People going their own way reduces profits.

4 Mary Patricia { 08.04.12 at 10:02 am }

George Carlin would had loved to examine this issue and developed his usual insightful, caustic and prophetic take on it. Great article & comments. I have one persistent question, however…. does Eustace Conway have a woman? Not that any woman would want his doughy ass. But if not, why not? I daresay he might even be “celibate” in spite of those young girls he brings on his property….

5 Riverrat { 08.04.12 at 10:19 am }

I feel that way too Nick. No one profits if no one is dependant on the products they produce. Let’s face it. Our lives have been swayed and manipulated into one of being a slave, a slave to money. Any self respecting prepper, homesteader, off-gridder wouldn’t dream of allowing themselves to be filmed and represented on TV like the shows that have been being aired lately for money. Sure there are those that would make any community look bad, not that they are bad people, but they do reinforce the stereotypes.

Seriously, I don’t know how many of you discuss it with coworkers, etc. But there are labels being applied, unpatriotic because we’re not helping the overall economy by buying products, paranoid because we forsee that our society is in trouble, crazy because rather than struggle in the rat race to buy everything that makes life seem convenient and normal we choose to fend for ourselves. They say that our kids are suffering because of the way we shoose to live. They say the economy suffers because of the way we choose to live, etc.

I just don’t understand the purpose behind applying the negative lables to us. I make no sense to me.

6 elnav { 08.05.12 at 5:01 pm }

We now live in an area where about 20% – 30% of the people live off grid but no one talks much about it. They simply go about their normal business, be it librarian, truck driver, or farmer. They have no interest in inviting strangers and outsiders to invade their privacy. Few if any of them watch reality shows. Instead the church has its own radio station and many of the people have their own church based TV stations with a separate broadcast network. At first I wondered about why so many old fashioned but new TV antenna showed up. Then I discovered they were watching the church network.

7 bob g { 08.09.12 at 7:54 am }

the industry is replete with examples of this sort of thing, everything from orange county choppers (paul sr and jr, now sr vs. jr), the gold diggers in alaska, the yukon and now coming south america, the gunsmith programs where so much turmoil is stirred up it is a wonder the owners of the businesses can even run a business with the producers around calling the shots… and for what reason? ok maybe the reason it makes good tv, or is entertaining, i personally think it is much more sinister in origins. those that run the entertainment industry (hollywood left) are in the tank for the uber left, and as such support the idea of big government where we all are better off controlled and on the momma states teat for ever… surely can’t have a movement take hold where folks learn to take care of themselves can we? how do we get elected if the electorate don’t need us? ever wonder why shows like jericho never last long? its not because people don’t watch, its because they don’t want folks thinking of how to become self sufficient, but rather continue to be and continued to raise super consumers. the fall of rome is imminent, have we learned nothing from history? oh yes, no one cares much to read about history anymore, and many of those that do reason that those that came before us failed because they didn’t do it right or were inferior intellectually. which in my opinion is the epitome of arrogance.

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