Josh Bernstein critiques survival shows

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Josh Bernstein critiques survival shows

Post by dogbane » Mon Sep 27, 2010 11:16 am

Authentic Survival, Please

Now, I appreciate that television is a medium of entertainment first and education second (or not at all, in many cases). And I appreciate that Les, Bear, Cody, Dave, Mykel and Ruth are hired to attract, maintain and build an audience -- that's how successful TV works. Furthermore, some of these guys are my friends, and I know hard they work to do their jobs well. But as a fellow survival instructor and someone who has been in the wilderness education industry for several decades, I take issue with the illusion of success and safety that these shows continue to project. True, some people may have been saved as a result of these shows, but I suspect that for every one person who survives in the wilderness because he did something he saw on TV, there are perhaps another two or three who died because they were unsuccessful doing the exact same (dangerous) thing.
Disclosure: Josh Bernstein is a friend of a friend. He is also Martha Stewart's cousin, which makes him extra awesome.
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Re: Josh Bernstein critiques survival shows

Post by dukman » Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:50 pm

I think he is being too harsh on the shows. There has been a couple episodes out there where the stars of the show give up and admit they wouldn't have survived. I have seen Les do it a couple times, and more recently Myke and Ruth did it in the arctic. True. they should make a stronger point on some of the "rescues" that it was actually a preplanned rendezvous with background workers, but I think most of the shows do a good job showing the dangers. Except Bear Grylls. :mrgreen:
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Re: Josh Bernstein critiques survival shows

Post by Veritas » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:02 am

I don't think Survivorman makes surviving look easy. Like I said in another very similar thread, if you get that impression, you aren't paying attention. He got sick on the show, hardly ever got any food, and had to be rescued a couple times.

As for Bear, he is irresponsible, no doubt. He also tells people to do the things he does. I watched an episode where he "rappels" into a cave on a vine/root, and actually says something to the extent of "I am doing this to show you it can be done, because you might have to do this someday."

I have only seen one episode of Dual Survival, and I think they did a pretty good job stating that they make it look easy. However, they are a lot more successful in their efforts than Les usually was, and that episode had a couple fishy parts (Dave shot a turkey with a bow, and I am pretty sure when the camera angle changed the turkey was in a very different position than it had been before).

Trying to blame Les Stroud for that guy who died in the woods is like blaming NASCAR every time somebody gets into a high speed collision. There is no evidence that he was only out in the woods because Les influenced him, just speculation by the authors of that particular news article and the statement by his mother that he liked to watch survival-themed shows.

Just as a side-bar, I find it ironic that hosts on survival shows have to tell people not to go into the woods unprepared and untrained. I mean, shouldn't the people watching these shows already know that? Or at least figure that out by watching the show?
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Re: Josh Bernstein critiques survival shows

Post by Frank » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:45 am

Veritas wrote:I don't think Survivorman makes surviving look easy. Like I said in another very similar thread, if you get that impression, you aren't paying attention. He got sick on the show, hardly ever got any food, and had to be rescued a couple times.

As for Bear, he is irresponsible, no doubt. He also tells people to do the things he does. I watched an episode where he "rappels" into a cave on a vine/root, and actually says something to the extent of "I am doing this to show you it can be done, because you might have to do this someday."

I have only seen one episode of Dual Survival, and I think they did a pretty good job stating that they make it look easy. However, they are a lot more successful in their efforts than Les usually was, and that episode had a couple fishy parts (Dave shot a turkey with a bow, and I am pretty sure when the camera angle changed the turkey was in a very different position than it had been before).

Trying to blame Les Stroud for that guy who died in the woods is like blaming NASCAR every time somebody gets into a high speed collision. There is no evidence that he was only out in the woods because Les influenced him, just speculation by the authors of that particular news article and the statement by his mother that he liked to watch survival-themed shows.

Just as a side-bar, I find it ironic that hosts on survival shows have to tell people not to go into the woods unprepared and untrained. I mean, shouldn't the people watching these shows already know that? Or at least figure that out by watching the show?
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but seriously. Les stroud is the man. he could survive on his own if he didn't have to shoot a television show all by himself. He has stated that he has to shoot some scenes twice and then return to pick up the camera, how many wasted calories is that?
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Re: Josh Bernstein critiques survival shows

Post by ninja-elbow » Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:05 am

I think the op ed piece is correct in that he states the shows are TV shows. He also mentions, and I concur, that the shows do show some handy tidbits. What I ask people to do, when the conversation comes up with me, is take those tidbits they saw and research it. I then refer them to some survival schools or a book or a website (maybe even ZS) where you can find a tutorial on "making a fire with a bow drill" or "skinning a squirrel".

Nate, my frined and contact with our local Red Cross chapter, always tells the anecdote about when he does a disaster prep seminar, some guy always evokes Grylls and drinking his own piss. Nate says there is about a 100% chance some guy will ask if you can drink your own piss like Grylls did.
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Re: Josh Bernstein critiques survival shows

Post by Veritas » Tue Sep 28, 2010 1:16 pm

I agree with the overall sentiment in Bernstein's article, I just shift the blame to the people getting themselves hurt, not the entertainers.
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Re: Josh Bernstein critiques survival shows

Post by aa1pr » Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:57 pm

It those at the end of the gene pool that know no better that may suffer the ill fate. In these types of cases...well.

If some dumb ass city slicker is going to replicate these stunts/acts withut any first hand experience than maybe this is where the guy gets the feelings.

In regards to Josh Bernstein maybe he is pissed he did not get any roles?

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Re: Josh Bernstein critiques survival shows

Post by xxxDarksidexxx » Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:26 pm

I find it ironic that hosts on survival shows have to tell people not to go into the woods unprepared and untrained. I mean, shouldn't the people watching these shows already know that? Or at least figure that out by watching the show?

you would think. but we also need to print things on coffee cups that tell people they will get burned, then, when they do get burnt they sue mcdonalds for some crazy amount of money, AND WIN!. these are also the same people who sue gerber because they GOT CUT USING A MACHETE!

out of all the shows i like less the best. i think hes the real deal, not that the others dont know their game, they in fact now a lot about survival. i just think less is more real, and he has admited failure more than once. dave and cody are good, and i enjoy the show, but cody is a goof ball sometimes, but overall the show is good. that couple... i like it. its to much grab ass and honey poo, BUT if that gets a woman to want to learn about survival/prepping with her man, then i say its all good.

bear on the other hand is out of control. he is going to get himself killed one day. if you try and do what he does you may end up dead. with that said i still watch the show, because you can learn what, and what NOT to do.
In regards to Josh Bernstein maybe he is pissed he did not get any roles?


that may be true...sound like sour grapes maybe.

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Re: Josh Bernstein critiques survival shows

Post by Thorake » Thu Sep 30, 2010 1:59 am

The only one who I would not trust my life to is fucking Bear Grylls.
I been lucky enough to attend a class of Cody and Dave a while back and I got to say those two know their shit.
Les stroud knows his too but I have to give him more props for playing not just the role of the survivor.
Also playing the role of camera man.
Sure a good portion of us have the super power of common sense (My common sense power....it's tingling) and will not just run off into the woods.
There are those few mentally challenged ones who just say fuck it and try any way.
So of course if they don't put the whole warning label and then some one tries some thing and dies.
Some stupid family would try to sue the crap out of who ever they could.
Seeing as they do put that label on.
Then it's a lil harder to blame a show that right from the start tells you not to do it.

The only props I give to bear is being able to get a show.
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Re: Josh Bernstein critiques survival shows

Post by the_alias » Thu Sep 30, 2010 2:58 am

TV shows aren't real you say? Blow me down sport.

I don't consider any of them real bushcraft programs anyhow; they are faux survival programs which is different.

Considering the last Bear Grylls related thread maybe he should go the same way as AR vs AK threads. :)
Bashing him repeatedly is not constructive anymore.
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Re: Josh Bernstein critiques survival shows

Post by ninja-elbow » Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:20 am

the_alias wrote:TV shows aren't real you say? Blow me down sport.

I don't consider any of them real bushcraft programs anyhow; they are faux survival programs which is different.

Considering the last Bear Grylls related thread maybe he should go the same way as AR vs AK threads. :)
Bashing him repeatedly is not constructive anymore.
I agree. :)
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Re: Josh Bernstein critiques survival shows

Post by Veritas » Thu Sep 30, 2010 5:09 pm

the_alias wrote:Considering the last Bear Grylls related thread maybe he should go the same way as AR vs AK threads. :)
Bashing him repeatedly is not constructive anymore.
I thought the problem with the AK/AR argument was that there can never be a consensus, and that the two sides are basically forever in disagreement about fundamental aspects of each platform.

I was not aware there was any disagreement about how crappy Grylls is. Bashing him is kinda like referring to blue phone cord, it serves a vital purpose in a survival forum. And it's cathartic, without being political/religious. There aren't a lot of things we can bash so vehemently and still stay within forum rules.
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Re: Josh Bernstein critiques survival shows

Post by NYKh » Thu Sep 30, 2010 5:21 pm

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Re: Josh Bernstein critiques survival shows

Post by the_alias » Thu Sep 30, 2010 5:21 pm

Veritas wrote:
the_alias wrote:Considering the last Bear Grylls related thread maybe he should go the same way as AR vs AK threads. :)
Bashing him repeatedly is not constructive anymore.
I thought the problem with the AK/AR argument was that there can never be a consensus, and that the two sides are basically forever in disagreement about fundamental aspects of each platform.

I was not aware there was any disagreement about how crappy Grylls is. Bashing him is kinda like referring to blue phone cord, it serves a vital purpose in a survival forum. And it's cathartic, without being political/religious. There aren't a lot of things we can bash so vehemently and still stay within forum rules.
You must have missed the knife thread. Basically most people bash him but some make a point about one of his achievements be that climbing Everest or being in the SAS reserves and basically say "yeah his show is shit but as a guy he is X attribute or Y attribute" and the whole thing continues again.
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Re: Josh Bernstein critiques survival shows

Post by ninja-elbow » Thu Sep 30, 2010 5:27 pm

Veritas wrote:
the_alias wrote:Considering the last Bear Grylls related thread maybe he should go the same way as AR vs AK threads. :)
Bashing him repeatedly is not constructive anymore.
I thought the problem with the AK/AR argument was that there can never be a consensus, and that the two sides are basically forever in disagreement about fundamental aspects of each platform.

I was not aware there was any disagreement about how crappy Grylls is. Bashing him is kinda like referring to blue phone cord, it serves a vital purpose in a survival forum. And it's cathartic, without being political/religious. There aren't a lot of things we can bash so vehemently and still stay within forum rules.
Another good point Veritas. :)

...and Alias too. :)
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Re: Josh Bernstein critiques survival shows

Post by dogbane » Thu Sep 30, 2010 5:28 pm

I think that, as individuals, all of these guys are pretty amazing. I'm sure all have shortcomings. I think Bernstein is making a media critique more than a critique of the hosts, specifically. It didn't read like sour grapes, to me. He seems to want the media to take survival education more seriously, especially when safety is at stake.
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Re: Josh Bernstein critiques survival shows

Post by xxxDarksidexxx » Thu Sep 30, 2010 5:55 pm

dogbane wrote:I think that, as individuals, all of these guys are pretty amazing. I'm sure all have shortcomings. I think Bernstein is making a media critique more than a critique of the hosts, specifically. It didn't read like sour grapes, to me. He seems to want the media to take survival education more seriously, especially when safety is at stake.
fair enough. i see your point. :wink:

i agree they are all amazing. i dont hate bear. i just think he does things that are un-realistic. if his show is on i watch since i have learned a few things from his show.

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Re: Josh Bernstein critiques survival shows

Post by ninja-elbow » Thu Sep 30, 2010 6:10 pm

I agree that the point of the op ed was survival TV in general and not individuals on them. It's why I miss the old Ray Mears shows - and catch them on YouTube all the time - he woulf talk to experts and show you how to do stuff. It was like an educational show as opposed to a "reality" show. I used to go to my friends, Burk and Sandy's, house on Sundays when I could (they had cable aand BBC America) and watch Ray Mears. Another time we went out shooting and mountain biking and came back in time that evening to clean our guns and watch an hour of Mears.

No competition, no drama, to back and fourth, no stunts. Just Mears and: "This is how you sharpen a bush knife"... "when in a decideous forest, make a shelter like this using these materials" ... "this is what cedar looks like and here are 2 things you can do with it"

One thing I can complain about regarding Dual Survival is they sure like to mention about 2 times per episode that Cody don't wear shoes. Got it... move on. Even if I never knew about Cody until the show, I would have got it by episode 2.
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Re: Josh Bernstein critiques survival shows

Post by Veritas » Thu Sep 30, 2010 8:26 pm

Ah, I did miss the knife thread. I would agree that the show is douchey, but his personal accomplishments are nothing to scoff at.

It would be awesome to have a show kinda like "This Old House" but all about survival. Why doesn't PBS get into the survival show market?
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Re: Josh Bernstein critiques survival shows

Post by Molon Labe » Fri Oct 01, 2010 5:49 am

Veritas wrote:Ah, I did miss the knife thread. I would agree that the show is douchey, but his personal accomplishments are nothing to scoff at.

It would be awesome to have a show kinda like "This Old House" but all about survival. Why doesn't PBS get into the survival show market?
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Re: Josh Bernstein critiques survival shows

Post by Bubba Enfield » Fri Oct 01, 2010 8:18 am

Tom Brown Jr. is apparently planning to film some shows on survival topics, out of frustration regarding the current crop of survival shows. I'm not sure if they'll be on TV or the web.
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Re: Josh Bernstein critiques survival shows

Post by huntingohio » Fri Oct 01, 2010 2:04 pm

Bear needs to be taken off air or marketed as worst case scenario again. He is non informational and just for shock factor puts himself in threatening situations. For the longest time he wouldnt admit he was fake either.

Dave and Cody are pretty fake yes but atleast they admit it, same with Mike and Ruth. Atleast on the internet and in class Dave knows his crap and dosnt fake it. Cody lives it outside of the show.

Les was real, by far the best show. He filmed it alone, lived it alone, and made it alone. Yes he did have a sat phone and fully admited it, but anyone who has used one can tell you they are sketchy at best. A sat phone wont work in dense cover and sometimes just because its cloudy.


Id really like to kick discovery in the balls for trying to make survival shows that appeal to everyone, not just outdoors enthuisasts who have to turn the chanel because they cant quit yelling bullshit at their TV

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Re: Josh Bernstein critiques survival shows

Post by airballrad » Fri Oct 01, 2010 2:12 pm

the_alias wrote:Considering the last Bear Grylls related thread maybe he should go the same way as AR vs AK threads. :)
Bashing him repeatedly is not constructive anymore.
So instead of claiming that when someone invokes Hitler or the Nazis a thread has been Godwin'd, we can say that a thread invoking Bear has been Grylled?

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Re: Josh Bernstein critiques survival shows

Post by AgentBlack » Fri Oct 01, 2010 4:37 pm

I want them to have a show that pits two or more of these hosts against one another is the same situation. Like a survival junkyard wars but without the salted parts yard. Just dump two guys alone in two spots of the same forest with a knife and a camera (that they operate themself) and say "see ya in a week". And no pack with "things a lost hiker might have with him" crap either, just a sharp knife and what's between their ear's. Then will see who's the man!!

As far as the op ed? I see his point and I don't take these shows seriously either. But it's not the shows or the stations fault. There are always gonna be stupid people that must be constantly reminded DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME!! Hey I watched Top Sniper and Survival School too. Don't mean I think I'm a sniper or claim I've been to SERE school now. I saw Making Marines, but did'nt claim the title of Leatherneck until I actually marched across the graduation deck at Paris Island. Common sense is not common! There are instructions on a shampoo bottle for pete sakes. Someone will always suffer from cranial rectosis, it's natural selection in the 21st century.
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