There are times when I just noodle for awhile. What I mean by that is that a get a notion in my head and rather than do a knee jerk response, I send the notion in to the far reaches of my brain where it may or may not surface again. Such is the case with the National Geographic show, Doomsday Preppers.
Last year, when the show premiered, I was excited, thinking that in spite of the title, preppers and those who embrace the family preparedness lifestyle could finally find some mainstream acceptance. After all, many have thought of us as “nut jobs” and most certainly, many of my big city friends refer to my preps as “Gaye’s little survival thing”.
But after that first season, I was disillusioned with the entire premise of the show. The participants were portrayed as extremists and for the most part, a bit off. It was not that what they were doing was so bizarre – well maybe some of it was a little off the wall – but that each family portrayed in the show appeared to be laser focused on some future apocalypse to the exclusion of living a joyful life in the present.
That was and still is my opinion, which brings us in to the present.
A couple of week ago, Lisa Bedford, The Survival Mom (and if you have not been to her site, you should), included a piece in her e-mail newsletter that described her perspective as a Season 1 “Doomsday Prepper”. With her permission, I will quote what she said:
Reality TV should be called, “Unreality TV”. Everything you see is pretty much staged and coached, including much of what is said.
The producer’s job is to create a story that will hold the attention of the viewer. That’s the bottom line: making sure people don’t switch channels. So, everything filmed will be spliced together in a way that tells HIS/HER story.
Only about half of what you see, maybe more in some cases, will be completely accurate.
Sad to say, but “Freaks” have always been good business, going back to the days of the Elephant Man and the Bearded Lady. So, shading an individual or family with the use of odd camera angles, sound effects, doom and gloom background music all play a part in creating a not-quite-accurate portrayal, but it plays good on TV.
“Fact checking” is more for journalists than reality TV. When I stated that only three major highways led into and out of Phoenix, that fact had to be checked, but there was no problem in editing my words to give an inaccurate portrayal of our family. Another participant said that there were two completely false statements made in her segment, so striving for accuracy seems to take second or maybe third place to creating drama.
Some people think the preppers in this show are being paid. Not only did we not receive any money, it actually cost us money in time, gas, and getting the house ready for TV cameras. I heard that the tilapia guy got paid, but if so, it was kept under wraps.
Reality TV shows require a signed release form that gives the production company and network 100% control of the filmed words and images. Other than filing an expensive lawsuit, I suppose, there’s
no recourse if you don’t like how you are portrayed or if too much personal information is divulged.
There is a segment of the population who will do and say anything in order to have their 15 minutes of fame on TV, but the preppers who have been on “Doomsday Preppers” don’t strike me as falling into that category. Like me, their hope is that the non-prepared will learn something and start taking action. That is the ultimate value of shows like “Doomsday Preppers”.
Now you could say that Lisa took the words right out of my mouth but of course, she was there an I wasn’t. Still, she did very much validate that notion that I had been noodling. I must admit that the participants in the current season of Doomsday Preppers seem to be portrayed as a bit more well-rounded and – dare I say it – likable. But still, the entire concept of “Doomsday” is still bugging me.
Prepare for the Worst, Hope for the Best
We all have said those words, or at least we should have. You see prepping and family preparedness go far beyond having the skills and the stuff to survive an apocalypse. Who has not lived through a severe storm when the power was out? What about a flood, an earthquake, a tornado or the loss of the bread earner’s job. Disasters come in all flavors and being prepared means that there will be food the eat, water to drink, and band-aids to heal those wounds. It also means that we will be prepared to defend our homes and our loved one’s if an intruder or bad guy threatens our security.
So you see now what has been bugging me? The whole concept of “doomsday” is simply too gloomy and too “out there” for the mainstream to grasp. Because after all, family preparedness and prepping is a mainstream kind of thing. It is no different that the old days when our grandparents and great grandparents grew a garden, put up canned homegrown fruits and vegetables and stuffed extra cash in to the cookie jar. It was all for a “rainy day”. And isn’t that, after all, what prepping is all about?
So what do you think?
The groundwork has now been laid. What do you think? To get you started, you might want to compare your own thoughts to those of 1,007 nationally representative Americans (whatever that means) who responded to a survey done by Kelton Research for the Nat Geo Doomsday Prepper show. You can check it out here: Doomsday Prepper Survey.
(And a hat tip to Peoplenomics for leading me to this survey.)
The Final Word
I am an optimist. That does not mean, however, that I am going to sit back and let the world control my destiny. And I suppose that says it all: by prepping you take control of you life, not only for today, but for the future. Not only for yourself, but for your family and you loved ones. From where I sit, there is nothing wacky or freakish about that!
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
From the Bargain Bin: And speaking of The Survival Mom, Lisa has a new book available for pre-order at Amazon: Survival Mom: How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Disasters and Worst-Case Scenarios. Here is the official blurb:
Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Family Safe and Secure—No Matter What
Undaunted by the prospect of TEOTWAWKI (The End of the World as We Know It), Lisa Bedford tackles every what-if and worst-case scenario head-on, offering practical advice on how to prepare your family for whatever might come your way. From a few days without electricity to an unexpected job loss or total chaos after the destruction of a tornado, Survival Mom provides everything you need to become self-reliant and establish plans for your family.
Given The Survival Mom’s upbeat attitude and wholesome prepping mentality, this promised to be a great book (less than $15).
2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for CPR and ECC: This is free so you have no excuses. Be sure to download and print out a copy for your survival kit.
Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking: At an average cost of 50 cents a loaf, this bread is easy, delicious and inexpensive to make.