Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Man V.S. Bear

So I am going to address an issue that I think is long overdue, especially with the elections and all the politics in the air, our new president Barack Obama, who I did vote for, by the way, and I voted early at that, and the general atmosphere of American well being hanging heavily and unfamiliarly over our heads: Who is better, Canadian Les Stroud or Briton Bear Grylls. As I said before, it is a long overdue topic. I think there are several aspects to discuss. but first, lets introduce each of them.

Les Stroud: a Canadian filmaker and musician turned full time Survivorman. he lived for a freaking year in the wilderness of Canada with his wife. He teaches survival around Canada. He also is the host of Survivorman, a one-man t.v. show filmed, written, directed, and stared in by Les Stroud. He is dropped off in the wilderness with a few cameras and the remains of whatever crash or mishap got him stranded there and needs to survive for one week, by himself. and he needs to film it.

Bear Grylls: A former member of the British Special Forces and host of the Survial show Man v.s. Wild (or Bear Grylls: Born Survivor in the UK) He once broke his parachute in mid-air and fell to the earth, breaking three vertebrates in his spine. The doctors said he'd never walk, yadda yadda, he recovered for 18 months and then went on to be the youngest Briton to ever climb Mount Everest. He is also a very active member of several charities, consistently raising large sums of money for them via his stunts and media coverage.

There. now we know the two folks. personally and as well as anyone else on the planet, I promise. I can now go on to raise the several critical points we will be looking at in this discussion. 1: who's knife is bigger. 2: who gets messier while surviving 3: food (efficiency and disgustingness) 4: joviality. 5: climate control / survival / thrive-ival. and 6) authenticity.

1) Knife size. A)

Exhibit A: Bear Gryll's Baley s4 knife. Note that the handle is longer than the blade itself. Also note it's cute black leather carrying case. But Bear can do some serious damage with this little guy. He has chopped down small trees with it by hammering it with a big rock. He also skinned a sheep with this. He uses it for making lengths of rope longer, better and stronger, cutting wood and vines (seen here) and kidling, spearing fish and generally doing things normally done by an axe. He also loved to dramatically stab it into the sand or dirt next to him right before he begins to eat his food, or show us some important or interesting wilderness fact.


Exhibit B) and Exhibit C) Les Strouds Leatherman Wave and Les Strouds Huge generic Bad A knife. Note that he takes both with him on every trip. Also not the size of the blade in relationship to the handle on Ex. C and the giant diameter of said Bad A knife handle. Les uses this multi-tool vor a myriad of differnt things from skinning rabbits, which he doesn't like to kill, to making small holes in canvas and rope to unscrewing parts of a brokendown car or hot air balloon. This is the main knife that he uses, probably because it is so all incompasing.


and Exhibit. C) is his big, scary huge, Bad A. knife that he usually uses for attaching to sticks to make spears or for stabbing into the ice to fish and get water or for cutting down small trees. So very large, but not excruciatingly practical, as he even admitted here.

We have now discussed Knife potency and disaterocity. Next, we move to who gets messier while surviving. This will be referring purely to lifestyle and living conditions, not to food, because that will be discussed in point 3.

2) Messiness.
I think for this demonstration, i will simply show you a few pictures and you ca decide for yourself who is messier.

These are both common images from both shows. Les, clean and efficiently sitting next to a fire. and Bear, dramatically wandering through the woods, completely filthy. really, Bear Grylls, I think, is completely covered in anonymous mess at least three as often as a two year old. And yet Les, in the same conditions, manages to keep clean. who is the real survivor there, you tell me. mess good or bad, Discuss.

Point 3) efficiency and messiness of eating. In this category, we will discuss how often our competitors catch food, how they do it, how much they eat, and how efficiently they use their food. and yes, visual aids will be used. we begin with Les Stroud:

In this episode, he was stuck in the Alaskan wilderness in the middle of winter. one night, he set four snowshoe hare traps, and in the morning, found one of them full, the next morning, all were full, but not of hares. He is seen here, after just killing the rabbit, which he doesn't like doing, and is telling the camera how to prepare it. He cought this rabbit efficiently and easily and ate it cleanly, then used the skin to keep parts of his body warm.

Les is seen here cooking a fish he found already dead, on skewer over a fire. he is using tools to cook and eat his catch and does not waste any.
He is glad for what he can find and eats all of it.

He also collects berries and eats as many of them as he can find, leaving none forgotten or spared. he values his food and it shows. he appreciates it and doesn;t take it for granted or leave it just laying around.

Bear Grylls is know for eating some very disgusting things. (see here) and ever better know for what he says about them afterward. it is usually precluded by him saying "...and you can actually eat these." Then things like "bah...*spits* that was, by far, the worst tasting thing I have ever, ever eaten" or "this tastes so horrible, it's like piss and bogeys and... crunchy, bleuch" and yet he still eat them all. Things like raw ... well, everything. raw snake, raw turtle (see left) raw fish (see below) raw fish again (see below) raw zebra (see below... and pronounce Zeh-Bruh) live raw frog (see here) and raw camel crap, which he squeezed the juices from into his mouth. Maybe if he cooked things once in a while, they might taste better, and maybe he could actually finish something he eats.

As i was saying, he never finishes anything he eats, or what he does finish is, only three berries where there are hundreds of them to be had. He fins something, like in the African Desert, one of them he's been to, he finds a huge snake. so he kills it. he then sling sit around his neck and carries it till he can make a fire. he tells us how to cook it: "you just push these coals out of the way here, and dig a little... like...pit, for it to sit it. then you put the snake meat on top of these greens i found and wrap them up, put them in the hole you've made, re-cover them and let them justbake there for about fifteen to twenty minutes" he talks like a cookbook. but then, once he's got his food, he takes two bites and throws it away. brilliant.

Bear also, as i said, eats everything raw. A: that is diseasey, B: things don't taste good raw, so you might as well just cook them, i mean, you're going to make a fire anyway. But he does always talk about the vitamins (Viht-ah-mihns) in the grubs and slugs and awfull berries that he eats. "pound for pound this grub contains more protien then chicken or beef, so it's the perfect survival food" or "this rotting sheep carcass is an excellent source of vitamin c and much necessary charbohydrates" Yes, but you see, pound for pound, a humburger is a lot bigger than that

crapping grub you have. is it manlier to eat things raw?

Lastly, when he drinks, anyhting, he wastes over 3/4 of it. he usually grabs some sort of naturally ocurring object and then squeezes it and funnels it into him mouth via his thumbs. or just hopes it makes it into his mouth. (see turtle, above, and video link, above) but it rarely does. He takes it so much for granted, just wastes it. I mean, if he's going to waste that much water anyway, he might as well wash himself.

Moving on: 4) Joviality. and in a smaller sense, self-respect.

Bear Grylls is young, jovial and energetic. and happens to spend much of his time either shirtless or naked. So younger and more likely to survive, but also naked -er

Les Stroud is a little older, more serious and is almost always fully clothed. Plus he has to haul all his camera equiptment around. So, slightly older, but very has high endurance and wears more clothes.
5) Climate control / survival / Thrive-ival. This will discuss where each person thrives. and i will take it from a better source than myself: another blog

Les Stroud:
  • Survival strengths: Can make a fire from just about anything; Efficient hunter and trapper; has been in many survival situations where he is truly alone; takes a more realistic approach to survival, an example more worth following; the knowledge that, no matter how much you have in terms of tools and knowledge at your disposal, the most important survival tool is to keep a cool head and not panic; he lives in Canada, for crying out loud.
  • Survival Weaknesses: While Stroud is fit, his age (45) might give a physical disadvantage against Grylls; lives in Canada, and when in very warm environments (e.g. Costa Rica rainforest), he can be very much out of his element; struggles a lot more when climbing, but not having to haul camera gear might him more evenly matched; let’s face it, his show isn’t as exciting.
Bear Grylls:
  • Survival Strengths: Can climb just about anything; has a million ways to make a compass; very fit; willing to take a risk to survive; purposefully puts himself in worst possible scenarios in order to show his TV audience how to deal with them; unmatched intestinal fortitude; knows all of the survival techniques from the British Special Forces and the French Foreign Legion.
  • Survival Weaknesses: Mother Nature will make him pay for that bravado of his; has never been truly alone in a survival situation, and thus is less cautious; somewhat of a carnivore, taking less opportunities from the plants around him; take away his flint and he might never see fire again; that barge on the river Thames isn’t exactly the best place for him to practice his skills.
And Finally, 6) authenticity.

as many of you know already, Bear Grylls has gotten into trouble from Channel Four in the UK for presenting his show as factual when in fact it was only meant to be a survival how-to guide, with 'situations being presented to Bear so he can demonstrate a way out' there is an article about it here. And there is a site here dedicated to debunking Bear Grylls, saying when he has slept in hotels, when he hasn't actually caught what he was supposed to have, when he dind't free climb, when the crew did something for him, etc. all of them aqre confirmed by members of the production team. So basically, Bear is an excellent performer with an iron stomach and soem handy survival knowledge. ht ebiggest ptoblem i thin was the origanal intent of th eshow to make it seem as if he were really lost, when in fact, in many cases, he is right next to a busy highwway (see video) or his crew is filming him from a service road, or he has to walk past lodges to get to shots. Etc. at one point, his desert island shoot, they actually had to rope off past of the isalnd and tell tourists and locals they could come near because they were shooting. Bear is a great outdoorsman and performer, but needs to be more forthwright.

Les Stroud, on the other hand, IS completely alone, and does all the filming himself, as you can see in the picture. He is left completely alone in survival situations. now there is usually a safety crew a few (25-50) miles away, and he does have an emerceny sattelite radio, should the need arise. but in thick forest canopy, the radio has no transmission, and sometimes, there is no safety crew, just a base-camp crew, waiting for him. So he really is in the scenario that Bear presents himself as being in, and he just needs to survive. While Bear presents a way to find a way out of the situation, Les merely shows how to survive for seven days until you are found, with him knowing where his rescuers are. And in that respect, i think Bear's show is more helpful to the common man, but a mere survival, as Les shows can also be very helpful while waiting to be rescued, etc. So all in all, bit shows have their good an bad, and hopefully, I'll never get stuck in the middle of a wilderness because if I do, I won't know whether to take off my shirt, roll around in quicksand, follow the river downstream to civilization and eat raw grubs, or sit quietly, preserve my energy, use bits and pieces of my brokendown camera to start a fire and wait for soemone to find me. Thanks alot Discovery Channel, now i'm really in trouble.

Remember, Remember the Fifth of November
Remember, remember, the fifth of November
The gunpowder treason and plot,
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot

Guy Fawkes, twas his intent
To blow up the king and parliament.
Three schore barrels were laid below
To prove old England's overthrow.

By God's mercy he was catched
With a dark latern and a lighted match.
Holler boys, holler boys, let the bells ring,
Holler boys, holler boys, God save the King.

A penny loaf to feed the Pope.
A farthing o' cheese to choke him.
A pint of beer to rinse it down.
A faggot of sticks to burn him.
Burn him in a tub of tar.
Burn him like a blazing star.
Burn his body from his head.
Then we'll say ol' Pope is dead.
Hip hip hoorah!
Hip hip hoorah!

Thanks for reading. please comment

1 comment:

Erika Eddington said...

Hahahaha! Long overdue topic indeed! Thanks! Our nation needed to hear that. All encompassingly! Bah!