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.
Buy our book - OFF THE GRID - a tour of American off-grid places and people written by Nick Rosen, editor of the off-grid.net web site
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