Dateline: 11 January 2015
|This man is one of the so-called "Happy People"|
I decided to watch Season 1 of the History Channel’s Mountain Men series last fall. It is available on Netflix, and it was something to do in the evenings when I was assembling my Classic American clothespins.
I was intrigued by the show because I saw that it had Eustace Conway in it. Some of you reading this may recall my review back in 2010 of The Last American Man, a book that pretty much idolizes Eustace Conway for being such a self-reliant and capable man, much like the woodsmen of old. In a civilization chock-full of helpless, dependent men, Conway is a standout. But I wasn’t persuaded that he was the best example of a man in all respects. My review is HERE (click and scroll down).
Nevertheless, Eustace Conway is an interesting fellow and I thought it would be fun to watch that Mountain Men show.
Well, I couldn’t get through the first season. I pretty much lost interest after the first show. I half-watched the second show. And that was enough for me. Mountain Men was much too contrived for my likes. “Hokey” is a word that comes to mind.
Now, mind you, I’m not questioning the bona fides of the three “mountain men” themselves. But the showbiz behind the program doesn’t do those guys any justice, or so it seems to me.
The phoniness of America’s television mountain men is particularly obvious when you compare the men and the lifestyles they live to the men and lifestyles of hardscrabble trappers in a remote Siberian outpost, as shown in the oddly-named four-part series, Happy People.
The men in Happy People are the real deal. Theirs is a true, modern-peasant lifestyle in which the community they are part of (men, women and children) lives in harmony with the seasons, deriving virtually all of it’s sustenance from the land (including the river they live on). This derived sustenance is mostly direct, though some is indirect through the sale of sable furs and sturgeon roe.
They “import” items like grain for bread, tobacco, fuel, machines and clothes, but one gets the clear impression that even if these things from the outside world were no longer available, the people of this community would still manage to get along pretty well. They are resourceful and resilient people.
Happy People fascinates me on so many different levels. I’d love to watch this program with a group of Christian-agrarian brethren and have a discussion afterwards. The bottom-line question for everyone would be...
Do you think that you could live the kind of lifestyle that people in a Siberian outpost do, and still be a Happy Person?
It is a question worth asking because people in post-industrial, neo-agrarian America may one day live in communities much like you see in this Happy People program.
Happy People can be seen on YouTube. Here are the links:
|This is the man I want to hang out with if I ever end up in Siberia.|