A Reflection on Being Part of Take A Hike

from Eco-Revolt by Julian Langer

– written before the show aired

When I was contacted to be part of a BBC2 TV series about walking in Devon I was excited for the prospect, as well as somewhat horrified. What I enjoy about television is primarily watching stimulating fictions, generally for the horror, thrill, or violence within the performance. With regards to “news”, documentaries, “reality TV” and “factual television”, I am generally revolted by my experience of what is called “the Spectacle” by Situationists and “hyper-reality” by the sociologist Baudrillard. This contradiction goes with the experience of living between the technologically-drivenurbanising mass-extinction machinery called civilisation and the wild breathing world of the living.

I will share here that I thoroughly dislike “nature shows/documentaries”, that propagate and perpetuate the ideology of the living world as one of images, disembodied factoidal objects, far away & not here or now, and that it is explainable; rather than the living world being here and now, an experience we encounter in our being-alive & when with living flora, fauna and minerals, and is not limited to the facts and explanations of “experts”. Why watch a scientist talk about trees, rivers, hares and birds of prey, on TV, when there are trees, rivers, hares and birds of prey outside your door, that you can meet in the same way that you might meet a friend, face-to-face and in-person?

So why agree to participate in the making of such a spectacle? Is it hypocrisy for me to have engaged in such activity? Well, I don’t consider it hypocrisy, though I’ll accept it being a contradiction. What this was, for me, was primarily the opportunity to infect BBC2 with my badger-loving, rebellious, guerrilla ontology, taking this moment to use the largest microphone I will ever have and not losing the potential it holds. I was also excited for the opportunity to experience this mode-of-production, to have a more tangible basis for my thoughts on the matter. After this, my reasons for being part of the show were to experience the walks and see parts of Devon that I have not yet been to.

When it came to the week of filming the episodes, I had a nasty cough that eventually turned into a chest infection, and was getting through cough sweets and syrups at a rate I have never done before, so was not at my friendliest or most socially-agreeable – I tried my best to not be too much of a grump, while also not being insincere or inauthentic. At risk of coming off as being a dick, if I’m honest, it also didn’t help my frustrations with the situation that the other individuals on the show were less than interested in the spaces the walks were located, the experience of being-there, and how they’d agreed to be on a walking show but seemed to hate walking – the complaining about walking was stunningly ridiculous!

What I loved most about the experience was encountering beautiful spaces and affirming the intensity of life that lives here in Devon (despite encroaching urbanisation, pesicidal-machinery and cull-culture). There is a power in the rocks that constitute the coastline of this landscape, the inhuman sea, in the rivers that force their way through the soil and the hills that constitute the topography of this land. There is a dance that is danced by the wild plants, from the tallest trees to the tiniest daisy, by the wild animals, from the smallest of the insects to the mightiest of the deer, and by the winds, rains, hail, sunlight and shadows. While I am horrified and revolted by the abuse that this culture enacts upon the living here, I am in awe of those living beings who live here in-spite of it and who find joy, love, creative potential and home here. I love living here, in this beautiful part of this island in the North Sea – not for cultural or historical romance, but because I am able to walk from my home to woods where birds sing, flowers bloom, pollinators feed, badgers make setts, foxes hunt, ivy climbs walls, the waters of the sea beat against the rock throwing the scent of the salts on the air, and where I experience myself being-here, being-in-this-space, so intensely that I can cry and laugh and dance; and this is what I wanted to affirm through participating on the show, through the largest microphone I will ever have the opportunity to use.

I don’t know if I will get what I desired from participating in the project. I hope that my presence within the spectacle affects some of those individuals who experience it, so that they seek the presence of trees and badgers and rivers in their lives. Perhaps I will only have exacerbated the spectacle and the mediation, alienation and psycho-geographic-distancing. My feeling is that taking the risk was worth the potential it contains, so I can affirm the experience and my choice to partake in the project.

There are 42 Comments

This is so pathetic! Wtf! a radical primitivist ends up in a silly TV show...

Looks like his nature poetry, romanticism was really cheap.

What's next? Selling primal anarchy online classes?

You are welcome, i was just trying to find the right way into primal life, so after discovering your Patron Anarchy lifestyle i became enlightened.

I will buy your classes, then maybe i could be a primal patreon teacher.

The only reason I can imagine that this would be an embarrassment were if “anarchy” referred to something that would restrict anarchists and prohibit certain activities, regardless of whatever potential benefits they might contain. The idea that anarchy means something like is ridiculous in my eyes - though sadly something that many “anarchists” have apparently embraced.

I took this opportunity as it seemed to hold potential and am glad to have bashed sports hunting, agriculture/civilisation, David Attenborough and English flavourlessness through the largest broadcasting company on this island,. Snark away, but I’m not embarrassed.

Hell yeah, brow. Don't be embarrassed. I too will reach the masses and change the system from the inside! First I will amass my Instagram following as a vanlife influencer and then I will get elected to city council and then who knows? Congress? CNN? A million eyes on my influential specialBeing to transform into eco-anarchs with the power of my words! I shall change the world. For anarchy!

should the same be said of "seattle robin" for talking to 60 minutes?

You don't get it. The point Langer is making is that the vision of anarchy you're promoting is one that constantly tears everyone down for not being good enough, a set of "thou shalt nots". Besides just being a miserable way of living and experiencing the world, it's not necessarily more anarchist either

No, you don't get it. The choice to accept media representation is no less an acceptance of delegation than voting or unionism. The rejection of delegation, so central to an anarchist perspective, includes the refusal to deal with the media on its terms. Just ask the anti-WTO-era Eugene anarchists how participating in such media bullshit turned out. To those whose interest is creating their lives as their own and destroying the society that prevents this, such marketeering is worthless.

What JL is a media one off. Voting and unionism is not. He's not constructing a spectacular personality via repeated media performativity.

Have you been paying attention at all? Have you seen JL's repeated, performative media presence? Might want to keep yer yap shut, Ziggy.

This is the first time to my knowledge that he's appeared on any public media. The other stuff is basically twitter. What on earth are you defining as media presence and performance because MANY anarchists and anarchs could fall under your stupid charge.

This individual is probably referring to me being interviewed on podcasts - apparently another activity that is unacceptable and off limits to the gatekeepers of acceptable anarchist activities.

They’re not wrong, in that I’ve been included in those public-media spaces, as well as this television one. It’s not something that fills me with shame or embarrassment though - like how I’m not embarrassed by being on the tv series.

Frankly the only thing embarrassing here is that these “anarchists” are so boring and lacking in their lives that they are so concerned about what I’ve done and are attempting to throw farts into cyberspace.

It's not gatekeeping, mate. It's simply pointing out how cringe and not-anarchist your flavour of millennial anarchy-spectacleism is.

I don't think you know what that is

it's when you're leaving the house and you check your pockets, along with testicles, wallet and watch

The spectacle is ... a social relation between people that is mediated by images.

Your move, you bumbling fool.

>through out

its also an industry (advertising) with dominant reinforcing social motifs which drives the corporate machine.

The very fact that Julian posts here (despite the mediation of the internet) precludes his persona and existence from being a spectacle. You're able to communicate directly with him, which is precisely what The Spectacle doesn't allow. Get your head out of your ass

people interact through tthe spectacle (like folks at a party who judge themselve sfor not being as happy as those folks in the advertisements, for example).

people interact through tthe spectacle (like folks at a party who judge themselve sfor not being as happy as those folks in the advertisements, for example).

Bob Black in particular who in The Realization and Suppression of Situationism said this:

"The Situationists conceptualized recovery and diversion as polar types, as of course they are, but forgot that they are ideal types, abstractions from the concrete actuality of experience — aids to interpretation, ladders (in Wittgenstein’s metaphor) to be climbed up, then thrown down. All forms are mixed. Recovery and diversion are abstractions just like the points and the lines of geometry which have never been found in the wild, only approximated there. To complicate matters still more, recovery and diversion (unlike points and lines) form a continuum, not a dichotomy. Neither the Situationists nor the managers of the spectacle ever had full control over their manipulations of ideas and images. Nobody does. Diversion can also recuperate, recuperation can also divert. And so the recuperation of Situationism which is unmistakably occurring at an increasing pace is not necessarily entirely anti-Situationist. "

STOP TELLING ME WHAT TO READ! I Love Guy Debord's failed narcissism. I'm just waiting for Julian Langer to die so i can worship him without his consent! Bob Black is alive, and he likes vengence, so i know that if i read his books he come out and get me!

I'd probably have to read more BB to take in the full context of the paragraph you extracted, but I enjoyed The Abolition of Work.
The Situationists took aim at capitalism's --- indoctrinuation by commodity fetishism--- methodology, and they borrowed from a plethora of social theories and experiences in an attempt to snap perps out of their blind obedience to this authority and instead pursue more authentic forms of life woven within immediate organic-based desires removed from the marketplace.

The spectacle is a hamhock in your cornflakes

The spectacle is the ring around your bathtub

The spectacle is a joint rolled in toilet paper

About a political theory book written in a language you dont speak, huh? Even though I love hamhocks and bathtubs, I dont eat corn flakes or use rings for any purpose. PLUS, what you just said is not going to smash your computer or help with the anarchist study group I have with stuffed animals and taxidermied snakes.

Please try harder to enlighten people, they're not too smart.

Stop being defensive! I'm tired of hearing old people's voices in my head! Open up! Tell us what you really are ?! STOP IT, STOP IT! I just thought you were trying to tell me to read books!

Once every year, certain members of the species who hate plastics and metals gather and perform a "hike" ritual whereby they begin walking amongst animals and helping them, animals that in another ancient era had once been their enemies and which they had been eaten by, or vice versa, had eaten around huge bonfires in gorging orgies barbequeing their favourite pieces of animal meat. Times had changed in the latter stages of the anthropocene when all the wild animals had been eaten or their habitats cleared for the production of meatburger ingredients and hops for beer.

Woah! A friend of stirner on reality television?! I wanna hear Julian call britain a spook! This is not an embarrassment at all, but a once in a lifetime experience. Well, i'm not so sure about that considering the way things are going.

That didn't happen, but it was pretty clear that Julian wanted to see plants and animals. Oh, and he got his heroic presentation alright! Part of the package with broadcast tv!

Dear Langer human,
On behalf of the Tree Individuals, we demand you apologize at once to the individual Tree you mocked by climbing upon without first receiving Tree consent. This humiliation will not stand and will only lead to scores of other human to follow and climb upon the bodies of other Individual Trees.
You have 48 hours.

I too was disgusted by this behavior from a bloke that fancies himself an anarchist. Can you imagine being out relaxing in the sun minding your own business having a meal and some raucous clods climb onto your body ripping off pieces of your skin and straining your limbs with their weight as their gawking companions cheer them on? Can you imagine anyone thinking this is how anarchists should treat others?

An annual meeting will be held this Sunday for all members of the Workerist Tree Party to vote on who will be president and to decide what to do with all the wild and free anarch weeds growing around our spectacular rainforests!

Who would guess... An eco-pessimist in a ridiculous TV show... You just made your theories into toilet paper

Unfortunately I took the time to watch the episode which starred JL on BBC iPlayer. This was a dismal, predictable and very cheap piece of reality TV with (apart from JL) was a cast of utter morons. The voiceover guy was even worse, with a really irritating 'humorous' style which was basically to belittle anything and everything the least bit unconventional. I have enjoyed some of JLs writing and interviews, but this felt like a serious lapse of judgement. My only hope was that at some point the fact that JL is an anarchist would be mentioned, but of course that did not happen. Instead, he was described as a 'tree hugger' and derided accordingly.

I appreciate that going on the show was meant to work as a 'microphone', but all it achieved from what I could see was to confirm the mainstream audience's views of bearded, vegetarian, XR-types who deserve little but derision from mindless TV watchers. Perhaps his 'microphone' was heavily edited by 'auntie' BBC, but that would always be the case.

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