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Let’s Get Real

Last Wednesday, a body was found of a 41 year-old man, Richard Code, who attempted surviving in the Ontario wilderness with minimal supplies.  He apparently planned to use the information he had learned from the popular Discovery Channel show, Survivorman, to make it through the trip.

He left behind GPS coordinates with his landlady who reported his absence after he did not return on the expected date.

A lot of people will undoubtedly blame Les Stroud, the host of Survivorman, for misinforming and misleading Code and the public but is that a fair reaction?

In a world that prefers reality shows to reality, it is not surprising that there is a breakdown between the two.  Unfortunately in this case, instead of spray tans and gelled hair from the Jersey Shore, Code was dealing with a legitimate life and death situation.

I believe that Stroud has been responsible throughout the making of his show and has given the audience adequate warning that, while his show is entertaining, the act of surviving in the wild is not.

I see Survivorman as more of a survival brochure than a resource.  In a brochure you can read what is expected in a survival situation, but you don’t actually gain any concrete knowledge or, more importantly, experience.

Instead of using Stroud as a scapegoat in this situation, maybe we should realize that television does not and will not replace years of education and experience gained in the outdoors.  As a society, we need to start using television for what it really is – entertainment not reality.

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