6 months after Naked and Afraid…
I am sitting outside, drinking coffee. Working on my company’s website, Kiss My Butter Inc. I’m stoked.
6 months of saving money and literally pouring every dime into this business, multiple (human) lab tests later, I have a product that is quality. And 10% of the company’s proceeds go to 501(c)(3) non profits for bee conservation, to help combat bee colony collapse disorder.
I feel good.
Yet sometimes, I am reminded of a certain TV show I did recently. The feelings associated with these moments are many, and they are complicated.
It’s not the social media stuff…it’s not people who recognize me. It’s smaller things. Like, yesterday. I watched two dogs kill a mole. They were so happy.
It brought me back to watching my two partners in Colombia, when they killed a lizard.
I’m a vegetarian now…more so, I am a “beegan,” because I LOVE honey, and honey is not vegan. But other than that, I don’t eat eggs, I don’t eat dairy, and I don’t eat meat.
If I was in a severe starvation scenario again, that may change. But for now, I am a beegan.
In Colombia, as my partners and I were being guided through the jungle by a plant expert on Day 2, we spotted a lizard. In the blink of an eye, the plant expert (also local, indigenous bush craftsman from the region) found a stick, turned it into a spear, and gave it to one of my partners. The two of them took turns going after the lizard, all while the producers stood around and the cameramen were filming.
They got the lizard. Then, they were directed to hold it up to the camera.
“Try that again. Put it back down, and then do it again. Smoother this time.”
Ok. They did it again. And again.
And the lizard. The lizard wasn’t dead yet. It was still alive, still squirming.
I have no problem with eating animals in the wild when we are starving. I mean, that lizard was delicious. But, my heart broke in that moment. We should have slit the lizard’s throat right away, before worrying about getting the right shot. That just wasn’t humane.
Who are we, a bunch of white Americans in Colombia, to be doing this to nature?
Oh, that’s right, we are filming a television show. For entertainment.
Chopping down trees, chopping down hearts of palm that will never grow back, chopping down the animals. For “survival.”
In my heart, I knew this was wrong. I felt the spirit of the anaconda, I felt its presence in the river. We were not supposed to be there.
And so, with that said, I am saddened by the fact that Discovery omits so much, dubs so much, mutes so much… I am saddened by the fact that Discovery takes handouts from Monsanto, as my life is now dedicated in part to helping protect the bees. I am saddened by social cannibalism, and the fact that so many people watch this show and believe it to be true. I am saddened by some of the other contestants’ behavior, and how they identify themselves with a fake television show.
But, there is beauty on the other side of it. There is a profound lesson in every situation. As a person who has been studying theater and music for 25 years now, I can honestly say, I now know what kinds of projects I would like to endorse, and which ones to try to avoid. I know now that reality television is [usually] as fake as the rest of it. In fact, it’s worse, because the rest of it doesn’t lie and pretend to be real…unless of course, we are talking about most of the news stations.
Truth is truth, not TV.