O sing to me, of Survivorman

28 03 2009


There is a show, and I know some of you like it quite a bit, where a guy gets dropped into uncomfortable circumstances–he has to demonstrate survival skills. I saw a some of it once in a hotel room.

it is called Survivorman
I strongly dislike that show.

defend it only in exceptional circumstances

Part of my distaste is likely due to the survival man’s bludgening of a rattlesnake for food–and the concomitant discussion (was it him or voice over…I cannot remember, I am sure you know better than I) regarding the danger of the snake.

who by something


Excuse me? Lord above, the danger of the snake? Yes, of course, their bite is pretty bad but actually most people can survive–and certainly a guy with a camera crew will survive. The snake on the other hand didn’t have a chance. The man wanted to eat the snake because it would titillate the audience. That is all there is to it. And though you might care it seems to be that the snake did die for this titillation.

but then, we’ve always loved our blood sports and now that bear baiting and cock fighting are illegal bludgening a rattlesnake to death is entertaining.

primarily symbolic
something other than itself

Do I talk in extremes–yes I talk in extremes. And my behavior is not consistent. I had fish yesterday and I didn’t even have the decency to catch it myself.

We’ll sleep until the world of man

forgive me
I am sinned in thought and deed

is paralyzed

I have encountered a variety of rattlesnakes. Usually they are sleeping. I knew a person who studies the snakes behavior–Timber rattlesnakes, not the diamondbacks I see in the desert. Rattlesnakes like to eat quail. Here is a story.

One there was a man studying quail. He set a trap. A quail entered the trap and ate the corn. A snake, passing by, smelled the quail and moved to the trap. This snake pushed its head into the trap and moved midway in. The snake struck the quail and gulped it down. The quail started to move down the snake’s digestive tract. The snake wanted to back out of the trap but could not–the lump that was quail blocked its exit. When the man returned he saw the snake. He cut the snake out and it want on his way.

His traps in the future had smaller openings in the wire.

set me free, my guard, and
let me walk now, towards that pine-tree

This is a true story and it is not about me. I have never seen a rattlesnake on my study site–I have seen other snakes and a tarantula that seemed to want to follow me for whatever reason. I have seen rattlesnakes other places but they have generally been asleep–so I suppose perhaps I should not cast aspersions on survivorman.

I apologize.

forgive me, forgive me
forgive these trespasses

And I have somewhat digressed (as usual) into blabbing about rattlesnakes. My problem with the show is not an animal rights problem. I want to be clear. It is a problem about gratuitous entertainment. How can we believe this man is at any risk when he is followed by a camera. And, on top of that, this “risk” is by CHOICE. That isn’t to me a true risk or a true survival.

It just isn’t.

Fiction is more true
and deeper closer to me and you

And I thought of the albatross
And I wished he would come back, my snake.

For he seemed to me again like a king,
Like a king in exile, uncrowned in the underworld,
Now due to be crowned again.

I’ll make them into a symbol after all.

quotes are by Slavoj Zizek, Leonard Cohen, Sabine Wilke, Shearwater, Marina Tsevetaeva, D. H. Lawrence




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