Letter Re: Survivalist Media–A New Frontier

No one will deny that self-empowerment comes from the additional accumulation of knowledge. Studying, research, and even just plain reading can be devastatingly powerful, if one possesses the willpower as well as knowing how to focus their information gathering. However, other forms of media do retain the potential as knowledgeable gold mines, provided they are constructed in such a manner as to instruct their audiences at least as effectively, if not more, than reading materials.

As a blogger, podcaster, and YouTuber (among other things), I am, at least, moderately versed in written, audio, and video forms of media. I understand how propaganda, culture jamming, and instructional “how-to” tutorials are used and their likely impacts upon their respective readers, listeners, and viewers. I appreciate each forms’ strengths and weaknesses, not to mention their individual idiosyncrasies. On several occasions, I have experimented using two or all three methods simultaneously as a “simulcast.” From my experience and observations, what people have mentioned time and again is their great hunger for instructional information, regardless of whether it is in a political, military, or survivalist context, but who otherwise would prefer it in audio and/or video formats.

Survivalism’s bread and butter media has been written materials, such as books, newsletters, and in more recent history, blogs. While I am certainly not knocking the written word at all (since this article itself is proof that I am engaging in it), I am simply pointing out the necessity of broadening into other types of media, considering their advantages. I’m sure once someone actually decides to become a survivalist they will have no problem reading Dr. Bruce Clayton’s “Life After Doomsday” but quite frankly, a five to ten minute or so tutorial on one method of saving seeds is infinitely more useful for outreach as well as for quick reference. Now, it goes without saying that using audiobooks, podcasts, videos, and even digital PDF files of books all require electricity, so learning through these methods pre-SHTF is apparent, but is it also obvious that if provisions were made for some form of electricity, these materials would be particularly useful post-TEOTWAWKI.

Some folks have already broadened into an audio format, such as podcasting and audiobooks. This venue should be explored more by authors of the more traditional written works, especially the audiobooks, considering that in “normal” life, people typically spend a significant amount of time in their cars while otherwise having next-to-no time for reading. Great strides have already been made in this endeavor, including (but not limited to) Clint Portis and David Whitman’s “Urban Survival Podcast,” and especially “The Survival Podcast” by “Jack,” whose accompaniment YouTube username (aka “YT Alias”) is SurvivalPodcasting. Even The Corbett Report, which deals with more politically oriented content, does occasional delve into the significance of survivalist subjects (like urban edible gardening or establishing small communities of trust), but other than an socio-political overview of these topics, James Corbett does not provide any specified instructional information. I have also noticed that anarchist philosopher Stefan Molyneaux will read his own books aloud, which he makes available on his web site (Freedomain Radio) as a free downloadable audiobook. As per this example, recording an audiobook need not be as complicated as getting it “professionally” made; all that is really required is a decent microphone, a relatively simple audio recording program (such as Audacity), and the patient skill to actually read aloud any book.

Considering the breadth and depth of survivalism, podcasting provides another avenue for easily accessible information. Unlike audiobooks (even when self-made), podcasts allow for a very easy way of updating information when needed. They also provide a more condensed instructional format and even can be used for interviews. Podcasting’s advantage over their video counterparts also lies in the fact that audio digital files occupy much less space on average than video files. If space on your computer’s hard drive is a concern, or you don’t want to bother with the additional skill required for filmmaking, then podcasting and recording audiobooks would be a better option, and is still a quite effective communications medium. If you are so inclined, you could offer your audiobooks for free (especially if they are of the homemade variety) instead of charging people for a copy, but even if the latter option is where you are at, keep in mind that podcasts have been and will (most likely) always remain completely free to be recorded, downloaded, and listened to by everyone.

My preferred method is actually showing people what to do. Video sharing sites provide a guerrilla media mechanism by which video files can be uploaded to the Internet and be seen by folks who can benefit from it, especially if they are still wet behind the ears, or the task at hand is better taught by demonstration than by pure description. Obviously, the number one video sharing site is undoubtedly YouTube; the utilization of this web site, in conjunction with a video downloading site (such as SaveVid.com or KeepVid.com), allows both brand new and experienced survivalists the ability to view and archive open source instructional videos for free. YT buddies of mine, including Ryanjcus, ShinobiMystic, RodneyAHampton, TheAntiTerrorist, and especially ThePatriotNurse, have, at the very least, delved into survivalist topics at one point or another. A common topic (and which is conducive to demonstration) is the assembly of the Bug Out Bag (aka the G.O.O.D. kit). Fellow YouTubers will whip out their camcorders and shoot a quick look at their laid out equipment that they plan on carrying for when they bug out.

Two YouTubers deserve a more detailed look here, the first of which is ThePatriotNurse. This fine Tennesseean devotes herself to medical SHTF issues, such as assembling different kinds of first aid kits (such as for home, the car, and even a $50 budget version), treating burns, giving an intramuscular injection, stocking antibiotics, caring for gunshot wounds, and storing nutritional food. She will also examine the more logistical and scenario planning aspects, including the true shelf life of drugs, the top five diseases that will become prominent, the psychological impact of societal collapse, and even one video on the categories of people who will die first when the SHTF, which by itself has accrued more than 29,000 views. Her latest three videos have focused on preparing children and newborns for a more survivalist lifestyle. With over 94,000 total upload views and 2,500 subscribers, ThePatriotNurse is already a survivalist force to be reckoned with, and who’s emerging success can be attested to her being interviewed by MrLockandLoad (on TheWatchmen.biz).

The other YouTuber that deserves particular attention here is TheAntiTerrorist (AT). A British gentleman who usually focuses on political and especially privacy topics, he, like me, knows that self-empowerment begins with open source intelligence gathering. His two videos on survivalism, “The Larder of Last Resort” and “Bunker In or Bugging Out?,” are unusually quite fantastic, and is my recommended starting point for folks who are contemplating preparing for the worst. Unlike James Corbett whose treatment of the field is purely analytical relative to other issues, AT bridges that common gap by giving very basic pointers on preparation, beginning with food storage; he mentions the “why” of preparation for the politically inclined but also describes the “how” as well. Not only does AT make selected transcripts of his video broadcasts available for download from his web site (in this case, only “The Larder of Last Resort”), but he occasionally has downloadable supplemental information packets to accompany his videos. “The Larder of Last Resort” episode had one such packet that was available as a ZIP file, that once unpacked, revealed its contents to be Al Martin’s “Protocols for Economic Collapse in America” article, The Bacon Report’s list of the “Top 100 Items to Disappear First During a National Emergency,” HEO’s “Bean Bowl” recipe, and AT’s “Survival Links” (which was updated by me recently) that also includes the Survivalist’s Rule of 3. This method of including downloadable transcripts and supplementary information packets through a web site can easily be used by any survivalist with a modicum of computer aptitude.

Now, I am well aware of certain claims made by others on YouTube as well as on other web sites, message boards, and forums that anyone who discusses survivalism is simply a wimpy “armchair survivalist” or “cyber-patriot” who should not be taken seriously. I would like to take this opportunity and mention to any genuine survivalist, who is willing to at least consider my suggestions, that such baseless assertions usually tend to be levied by those folks (typically still within the mental confines of the mainstream media) who perceive any and all attempts by anyone trying to achieve a measure of self-sufficiency independent of the corporatist controlled economy as threats to that specific industrial paradigm. Needless to say, a paradigm shift is already in order, especially in light of the thin veneer of civilization which, as AT mentions, relies on the support tripod of the power grid, the financial system, and the transportation network. Like the infamous fire triangle (heat, air, and fuel), if any leg goes out, the others will as well. It is because of this flaw of modern Western civilization as well as other events (such as the worsening recession/depression, the continued devaluation of the dollar, and the likely removal of the greenback as the world reserve currency) that increases even more the importance of effectively and efficiency disseminating survival information in new ways that can improve retention and accessibility.

In conclusion, any survivalist can learn the basics of information dissemination via the Internet. Unlike other political content that has been able to highly exploit the above mentioned techniques for their purposes, I believe that individuals who have been literally begging for survival tutorials will benefit, especially if experienced survivalists teach the newer crowd using these methods. Of course, all the reading, listening, and watching in the world by itself will accomplish nothing in tangible reality without action; however, my observations point to desperate people attempting to learn by doing, and a lot of times incorrectly, hence the incredible need for reliable survival information dissemination, especially through audiobooks, podcasts, and tutorial videos. While detractors do commonly assert that there is plenty of information and a lack of action, my experience testifies to the exact opposite situation.

If you are interested in any of my material, keep in mind that I haven’t made any dedicated survivalist content yet, but I do intend to in the very near future after my second documentary, which is about culture jamming, is released exclusively over at YouTube. See my blog, my podcast, and my YouTube channel if you are interested.

Regards, – Sleepysalsa