Why Is The Propaganda Box Producing So Many Shows About Living Off The Grid..??

Last night my wife and I saw this preview for a new upcoming reality show on TLC:

I confess, we watch a fair amount of reality tv shows in our house. We were there to see Jon and Kate’s marriage dissolve on national television, chain-smoker Phil finally die of a heart attack on Deadliest Catch, Honey Boo Boo fart-joke her way into the hearts of millions, and the Duck Dynasty clan celebrate their combination of million-dollar holdings and down home swamp family values. But lately, over the past couple of years, we have noticed an interesting trend in the pseudo-reality show realm, the increasing number of programs that in some way or another involve people living, by choice, in circumstances less than all of what modernity has to offer.

First there were all these “Survivalist” shows featuring guys like Bear Grylls, or that other survivalist guy, or the survivalist duo of guys, or the survivalist married couple. Lots of eating grubs and drinking from coconuts etc. Then you started seeing all these shows based in the wilderness of Alaska, like “Ultimate Survival Alaska“, on the National Geographic channel, where four teams were racing through the Alaskan wilderness, having to traverse all kinds of natural obstacles.   A litany of Alaska-themed shows has sprung up, such as “Alaska: The Last Frontier” and  “Life below Zero“, (which is actually pretty good), both of which feature families and individuals trying to live off the land.  There’s “Out of the Wild”, and “Alaskan Bush People“, the latter being a show which featured a family in very much the same manner that this new TLC show appears to be imitating and trying to expand upon.  To the east of Alaska, our Canadian neighbors have given us “Ice Lake Rebels“, which documents the lives of those living as inhabitants of house boats on a lake frozen for most of the year in Yellowknife Bay in the Northwest Territories.  The show “Mountain Men” features (of course) mountaineer-types living off the land in Alaska, the Rockies of Montana, and the Appalachians. But this new “reality” genre goes far beyond the Frozen North, with shows like “Naked and Afraid”, “Live Free or Die“, and “The Legend of Mick Dodge“.   Mick Dodge is a man who the cameramen follow around the forests of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, where he has lived as a sort of mick_dodgeroaming woodsman for decades now, bivouacking in mossy tree stumps and caves, eating things like wild mushrooms and fresh salmon.  In a similar vein, I have also taken notice of several shows dealing with various “prepper” topics, such as “Doomsday Preppers“, “Doomsday Castle” and “Doomsday Bunkers”.

There are really too many shows like this to try and list every last one of them, but you get the gist. The real question for me however, has been, “Why exactly are they so keen to highlight this broader topic, with all of it’s subcategories and tangential pursuits…?”

Obviously, the surface-level answer would be simply that an increasing number of people are interested in these kinds of “alternative” lifestyles, whether they are actually interested in possibly trying it out themselves one day, or simply because the mundane routine of suburban living has somehow made the act of watching someone eat larvae out of a log or try not to freeze to death overnight seem entertaining when compared to the thrilling adventure supplied by driving our climate-controlled S.U.V.’s to the grocery store and back. But I would say that just because a large segment of the population finds a topic interesting/appealing, doesn’t automatically mean that the controlling hands at the helms of the major networks will oblige and produce content in that direction. There’s always a reason. Always an agenda.

Has anyone else noticed this surge in going-back-to-nature programming? Could this spate of survivalist, living-off-the-grid t.v. shows really have something to do with being a response to the increasing number of people getting weary of things like smart-meters and endless energy-rate hikes and internet surveillance..? Do you think it does more to romanticize and glorify these kinds of less-is-more approaches to life, or do they in the end actually serve to show just how difficult, if not darn near impossible, such a goal is in the societal context we now find ourselves in? Is it being relegated as something that is nice to imagine, but not so much to personally attempt, in some lame wave of reverse-psychology against giving any serious consideration as to how we might take tangible steps towards detaching ourselves from this artificial and entropic matrix closing in all around us…?

What do you think, does it work towards portraying the people who are living by such ideologies as brave and ingenious, or as crazy as paranoid?

5 thoughts on “Why Is The Propaganda Box Producing So Many Shows About Living Off The Grid..??”

  1. I think these shows are tapping into the human subconscious, which seems to be filled with a whole lot of people going into survival mode and preparing to live off the grid right now. I suspect it reveals our anxiety about the instability of civilization at the moment. Even those who are not doomsday prepping are prepping in their minds vicariously through these shows,

    As to whether or not these shows encourage or discourage the idea that one can actually survive off the grid, I’m not sure. I know there are hundreds of people doing it already. I’ve certainly done it, but I’m not real fond of the idea of having to do it again.

  2. Can’t really comment about much TV. The only time mine comes on is Alabama Football Saturday’s! (ROLL TIDE!) That’s my GUILTY pleasure.
    But I would imagine that their reason for putting on so many of that type show is to keep it in the back of everyone’s mind that SOMETHING is gonna happen to require this type living. FEAR, in other words.

  3. I think there is a yearning for challenge and achievement. As animals, we are far more adept at facing these natural obstacles find food, build a shelter.
    As a race we are soft, so these programs are a vicarious thrill at seeing others struggle in harsh environments. I for one find them fascinating, even programs like Yukon Gold. I do take them with a grain of salt though. Just thinking out loud.

  4. Strange…I have NO idea what it all means. Maybe its just ratings? Because it seems like people are so bored, they would watch anything? We’ve watched a few Doomsday Prepper shows and I have never laughed so hard! One guy was so tough guy until he shot a sliver of his thumb off and then proceeded to pass out! Not really laughing at him, but thinking ‘that would totally be me!!” There is a TON of youtubes on prepping–it can go on for days. I’ve gleaned one or two things out of them. I have zero preps, will never use a credit card for it like some of these folks and am not concerned at all. If the LORD provides a way, I might like to do some dry canning, seeing how our food just perishes very quickly these days. And it looks like a cool way to get your pantry in order. But other than that, I look back and see how all my needs were met in Christ Jesus amen!!

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