Outdoor writer Alan Liere wrote a passionate editorial piece on how reality television shows are just dramatic product commercialization. Is he right?
Alan Liere is a hunter. He is also an avid ice fisherman. The only month he isn’t living his sportsman life to the fullest is March, and it is his least favorite time of the year. He tries to fill his time doing anything else but sometimes, he turns on the T.V. And that is what really gets his blood boiling. He hates hunting television shows.
I dislike hunting shows and I hate myself if I watch one. Deer hunting shows are the worst – “snuff flicks” I call them, where a wild animal dies for entertainment and profit.
The dramatic “reality” of hunting shows is very far from the truth, according to Liere. All the hunting shows are the same; a hunter whispers into the camera while he sits in his treestand. He talks about the preparation and how he has been watching this buck for a while now.
The camera zooms in and out from deer to hunter, does a quick panoramic, and then fades to a commercial.
The biggest part that rubs Liere the wrong way is the amount of commercials. After about five breaks between action, the hunter finally makes his shot. And it is dramatic, often in slow-motion or close-up. Then the hunter finishes the show saying he could have never shot the animal without a certain gun brand, or another obscure product that is sponsoring that particular show. The last two paragraphs of Liere’s article are particularly brazen.
And it’s true. I finished reading Liere’s piece thinking, “Of course, he’s right. Hunting shows are stupid.” But we have to look at the bigger picture. America today runs on commercialization. And when has reality television really depicted reality? Hunters who watch hunting shows can be angry at the misrepresentation and the uber-commercialization, but that is just the way things are in the modern day.
Do you think Italian families living on the New Jersey were upset when “The Jersey Shore” first aired? Or pageant families when “Toddlers and Tiaras” showed up? Or even certain parts of the Southern community in regards to “Duck Dynasty?” You can bet on it.
The reality is, hunting shows may not be a true depiction of the life of a real deer hunter, and possibly created with the intent to sell products. But it still puts hunting in the media and gives us hunting role models. The way some sportsmen numbers are declining, it could use all the help it can get.