images_medium-1.jpg

Zombie Porn and “Dry Lures”

I came late to the television series “The Walking Dead” and started watching the first season primarily because of Jonah Goldberg’s NRO posts and the general buzz around it. Up until now, I’ve always disliked zombie porn and thought viewers who were into it mainly liked the idea of shooting people they disagreed with in the head.

I see the appeal. But that’s not what this post is about.

While watching the fourth episode of the series, I threw up my hands in despair. Not because of the zombies, or the plot line, or the soap opera angles of the show, but because the episode begins with two sisters fishing in a boat in what looks like a gravel pit. They have a heart-to-heart discussion about their father and learning to fish while growing up (prior to the world going kablooey because of zombies everywhere) and it’s supposed to tug at the heartstrings. 

But as someone who is passionate about fishing and outdoor pursuits in general, it drove me crazy. One woman held a fly-rod but fished as if it were a branch with a string tied on it and a worm on the end. The two sisters discussed how their father taught one how to fish with “bait” and keep what she caught and the other to fish with “dry lures” and turn the fish back. Our hearts were supposed to be tugged at because the two characters figured out that dad realized they were different people and treated them as such.

However, my reaction was: Your father was insane. Everything about the scene was wrong.  Fly rods are nine feet long and must be cast. Fly fishermen (or women) don’t use bait, which is the point of fly-fishing. There is no such thing as a “dry lure,” although there are dry flies (flies that float instead of sink). Lures are made of metal and cast with a spinning rod. Flies are not. Among the people I fish with — and that includes men, women, and my daughters — the entire scene would make them hoot with laughter, as it did for me.

Later in the series, a deer hunter shoots a deer. And that’s it.He doesn’t field dress it, or drag it home, or cut it up, or eat it. He just shoots it and that’s the last we ever see of the dead animal or the meat. My guess is that 95 percent of the viewers never even thought about what should have happened next.

The point here isn’t that Hollywood writers get everything wrong, because of course they do.  We’re used to that. Cops, lawyers, and military types are always pointing out inaccuracies.  It gets boring.

What bothers me is that the fishing, hunting, and outdoor culture of America is fading away. Not only do Hollywood writers not have a clue about basic outdoor skills and experiences, but viewers don’t either. I see it constantly: men wearing fly-fishing shirts outdoors (because of the many pockets and the fact that they think it makes them look cool) who have never cast a rod; folks who don’t know the difference between the “gun culture” and outdoor pursuits where a gun may or may not be involved; people who wear mountain climbing gear while driving huge 4x4s and have never taken the vehicle off the road; folks who’ve never tasted actual wild meat ordering “elk medallions” for dinner, not realizing they consist of farm-raised New Zealand red deer.

One of the unique attributes that made Americans different was our egalitarian view of hunting, fishing, and the outdoors in general. It wasn’t just for aristocrats and massive landowners. We repaired our own cars, fixed up our houses, and brought wild game and fish to the table. I think we still like to think of ourselves that way (or many of us do). My freezer is stocked with elk, pheasants, wild turkeys, pronghorn antelope, and fish. Often, when we serve it, our guests are trying this exotic food for the first time in their lives. And they’re often shocked to find out how good it is!

What do you think? Have most Americans lost their connection to the natural world to the degree that they think deer hunters kill the animal and leave it to rot or that one must fish with “dry lures”? Or that wearing stylized outdoor gear makes one an outdoorsman or outdoorswoman (outdoors-person?). And is this disconnect just one more factor in our decline?

  1. Mike H

    At least there are all those reality shows based in Alaska. TV viewers can still get exposure to some of that if they’re interested.

  2. Albert Arthur

    I did love Sarah Palin’s Alaska.

  3. Snirtler

    Don’t fret about the shrinking reach of authentic outdoor and survivalist culture. When the apocalypse comes, it’s the hipsters in lumberjack and fly-fishing shirts and the foodies raving about exotic game, who’ll be the main form of zombie sustenance. 

  4. Eeyore

     ”Cops, lawyers, and military types are always pointing out inaccuracies.  It gets boring.”

    I don’t know C.J., sometimes it’s so stupid it is both frustrating and fun,  and makes you go “Don’t you guys ever use the “Technical Advisor” you list in the credits?…”

    One of my favorites was CSI:NY, when they found a hollow-point bullet in a victim. Dark music, a zoom in and “An assassin’s bullet!” Like, yea, and ever since the Amadou Diallo shooting, the round in every NYC duty weapon. Like your own sidearm (if your Dept. CSIs even carry a weapon). 

    The stupider the better, and your fishing example sounds plenty stupid.

    And yes, your main point about the natural disconnect is true. I think one big part is that there are so few place left where it is safe enough for kids to simply disappear to wherever and not reappear until supper or dark, whichever comes first. Even suburban kids knew how to look for and remember landmarks, smell rain or snow coming, and get involved in learning about the flora and fauna to whatever degree struck their fancy.

  5. DocJay

    I saw that idiocy also years back.  It’s funny you should bring it up.  

    However, this fly guy has used bait.  One day on the east fork of the Carson River ( 90 minutes from home) I found myself without my vest through stupidity but had some hooks.  I combed the river banks in the morning for caddis pupae and fixed them to the hook with spider web material, catching a few little ones.  Later in the day, some hoppers came out and I dry flied with a web encased hopper and hit a 23 inch rainbow that pounded in the current for 5-10 glorious minutes after doing a few half gainers with a triple twist.   One of my happier days given the folly of not having a vest with 500 flies and every other gizmo on the planet.

  6. Jojo

    If it makes you feel better, a few years ago I was whiling away time in line at Weight Watchers, reading the list of foods and associated “points”, and I chuckled out loud at the inclusion of elk meat.  “Just how many people are looking up elk meat for dinner?” I laughed.  “I have some in my freezer” said the man in front of me.  

  7. Cutlass

    What? no mentioned of the crack marksmanship on TWD? Little kids and former suburban housewives who plug moving zombies in the head with handguns and never miss. Also, Herschel’s magic shotgun, which fires infinite rounds without reloading.

    Aside the technical silliness (heck, it’s still generally more realistic than the last few Homeland episodes) and other flaws Walking Dead is a fascinating show. I think it does cause people to ask themselves if they’d be able to survive in a crisis. It’s also a fantastic advertisement for the 2nd amendment!

    And while it’s always safe to assume the writers are libs, they still raise tough moral questions (without getting heavy-handed or taking clear sides). There have been some good debates among the characters about idealism vs. survival, leadership, gender roles, continued questions about whether walkers retain any sense of who they were/are.

    I can see how people of faith may have some issues (the whole zombie apocalypse concept is necessarily cynical). Still, over 3 seasons we have seen some – I think – sympathetic Christian characters and expressions of faith.

  8. Astonishing

    If the activity involves more than a keyboard and a mouse, it seems like most people under 40 are helpless.

    The women don’t know enough to clean the lint from the dryer filter and the men don’t know how to change the washer in a leaky faucet. Few cook their own meals.  Everybody relies on a maid and a handyman.

    Not to brag, but even though it might make better economic sense to call a repairman, I still do most of the routine maintenance and repairs around my house. (It’s a matter of manly pride. I own lots of tools, and use them.)

    My father and father-in-law could build their own houses (including wiring and plumbing), tear down an engine, dig wells, slaughter hogs, and otherwise grow,  catch, or kill enough food enough to survive on. My mother and mother-in-law could milk cows, sew clothes, wring a chicken’s neck, can vegetables, weed a garden, make bread, and cook everything from scratch.

    Our highly specialized society seems extremely fragile. Talk about zombies. If the electricty went out  for a month in a large urban area, people would starve  . . . and start eating each other.

  9. Cutlass

    BTW, there is some evidence that the writers apparently have as much knowledge of Christian denominations as they do fly fishing.

    Last season the group came across a Baptist church in rural Georgia that had a full size crucifix – an agonized Christ bleeding on the cross – displayed at the alter. I’m not even a Christian and I found that gaffe pretty damn funny.

  10. DocJay

    One thing I can say with near certainty.  I am the only Ricochet member this weekend that will kill birds, coyotes, and be ready for zombies.

    zombie-max.jpg

  11. Wylee Coyote
    DocJay: One thing I can say with near certainty.  I am the only Ricochet member this weekend that will kill birds, coyotes, and be ready for zombies.

    Love the warning label on the box.  Apparently the zombie lawyers got to it.

  12. DutchTex

    Apropos of nothing in Mr. Box’s post, this came to mind:  My husband and I were discussing the ridiculousness of “Zombie killer” branded ammo/guns/machetes/knives/flashlights etc etc etc.  I hypothesize that it’s a cutesy/trendy way for somewhat normal people to become preppers without ending up on National Geographic Channel.  Or it’s just really smashing marketing.

  13. Eeyore
    DocJay: One thing I can say with near certainty.  I am the only Ricochet member this weekend that will kill birds, coyotes, and be ready for zombies. 

    I’m glad I looked at the Hornady site, and there’s more information elsewhere on the box. Otherwise, it would be “Which Movie?!?!”

    Is this for a shotgun to the head?!?! Rifle center mass?!?! Which movie?!?!

  14. Aaron Miller

    As a brother, it has made me extremely happy to see my sisters find for themselves hunters/fishermen. I am content that their material needs will be provided, whatever the circumstances. As for other needs, they are Texan women and won’t stand for being treated like anything other than ladies.

    I believe all men (and I say this as an artist) should at least attempt to learn the skills necessary for basic repairs, maintenance and survival. But I don’t expect all men to be MacGyver or Rambo.

  15. Southern Pessimist

    CJ, your post post does touch on issues that are at the heart of our cultural decline. I could not agree with you more. But I would say that lots of pockets is a good thing. A very good thing.

  16. Albert Arthur

    Come on, I can’t be the only one who finds Andrea obnoxious.

  17. James Lileks
    C

    I have a few problems with “The Walking Dead,” not the least of which is the walking dead. After a few months they’d all be gone. And it never occurred to them to head north; guaranteed that after one winter,  North Dakota would be zombie-free. They’d freeze solid. Get out the chainsaws, boys, there’s work to do. 

  18. Albert Arthur
    James Lileks: I have a few problems with “The Walking Dead,” not the least of which is the walking dead. After a few months they’d all be gone. And it never occurred to them to head north; guaranteed that after one winter,  North Dakota would be zombie-free. They’d freeze solid. Get out the chainsaws, boys, there’s work to do.  · 10 minutes ago

    Or even better, they would hop a boat to some smallish Caribbean island. If there were any walkers on the island, it wouldn’t take too long to put them all down. Then, no more walkers. Caribbean island. Enough said.

  19. Owl of Minerva

    Game of Thrones has got you covered.

  20. Chris Johnson

    It’s hard to watch stuff like that.  The only consolation is that those of a criminal bent also think it is far easier to assess a crime scene than it actually is.

    Folks should be aware that this buffering of people from more natural experiences is very intentional.  I have spent decades studying marine natural resources and am watching recreational fishing being nibbled down by bureaucrats.  In the 1980s, when I worked for the National Marine Fisheries Service, it was emphasized that we were part of the Department of Commerce and that our job was to improve the lives of fishermen.

    Today, the NMFS is run by “Regional Councils” that hold public meetings and stare past the public.  This policy design is the worst possible, for protecting resources.  Instead of soaking up information at the docks and being the friend to the fisherman, our resource managers are being driven from the top down.

    When our game and fish managers become tools of the bureaucracies, we will cease being able to get good information from the hundreds of millions of pairs of eyes that no bureaucracy can replicate.

    Important data is going to be lost.

Want to comment on stories like these? Become a member today!

You'll have access to:

  • All Ricochet articles, posts and podcasts.
  • The conversation amongst our members.
  • The opportunity share your Ricochet experiences.

Join Today!

Already a Member? Sign In