Yes, I actually did a double-take when I saw the word's "American Survival Guide" in the all-too-familiar font atop a brand-new magazine.
I was quickly passing through a truck-stop in Eastern Colorado when the cover caught my eye. It was late at night and I was on a tight schedule. So, I quickly snagged on the last copy they had and added it to my Dr. Pepper and Beef Jerky as I made my way to the cashier.
I was so tired when I got home that I fell asleep in my chair without having the opportunity to read it.
This afternoon, I filled a pipe with my favorite MacBaren Vanilla Creme and a pilsner glass with my favorite, well. . .Pilsner and sat down to read it.
Before I go on, I must make a few observations. First of all, I loved the original American Survival Guide and most of the "Self-Reliance Journal" issues that came with the change of being purchased by another publisher. I was passing friends with Mr. Jim Benson, the editor, in the late 80's and early 90's, even having contributed a few times to the publication.
When SRJ folded, Jim Benson opened www.modernsurvival.net
and kept the same look and layout of the original dead-tree periodical but in an online form.
Strangely, about a year ago, the entire domain disappeared along with contact information and his Independence Press. I posted a couple articles here inquiring if anyone had heard anything, but received absolutely Zero responses.
I presumed that Jim's time had come and he had, perhaps, passed on.
Then, I saw this. In my mind, I had briefly hoped that all the ModernSurvival.net stuff had been pulled down to start this new venture (and it's still possible that it has been).
I will admit to a bit of actual excitement at opening this new American Survival Guide.
Immediately, I went to the page with the editorial information. My heart plummeted when I saw this was now being done by Beckett Media, publishers of the generously-described as mediocre magazines such as GunWorld, Sports Card Monthly, Victorian Homes,
and the ever-popular Yum Food and Fun for your Kids
Flipping quickly to the table of contents and scanning the names of the contributors, I found only one name, Paul Hantke, who I recognized from the original ASG.
Already, my enthusiasm was dwindling. I proceeded to flip through the pages and what I beheld was a magazine that appeared to be entirely generated for clueless yuppies whose only concept of preparedness was that they knew something was going to happen, and didn't want to be caught without the latest name-brand gear lest their neighbors scoff at them for having such mundane equipment.
The articles, despite the number pages dedicated to each one, were very short and quite devoid of anything but fluff information. This magazine appears to be geared toward preppers suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder. Every page has several Box-Outs, usually hocking this high-end piece of equipment (along with price and where to buy it) or that bit of worthless information (my favorite: Survival APPs for your IPhone/Droid).
There are two decent articles, one by the aforementioned Paul Hantke, and another which appears to be an interview-by-email with Les Stroud.
This magazine that bears the iconic ASG name appears to now be nothing more than a way to suck down advertising dollars by offering them multiple opportunities to showcase their equipment in full color, regardless of whether it's appropriate for preparedness.
Some examples? Sure!
How about the "Editor's Choice Award" for best Survival Sunglasses? Their recommendation: Adidas Terrex Fast (only $210). It does have anti-fog lenses, but no comment on whether it's ANSI Z-Spec approved, is polarized, etc.
How about the following for your Survival Gear:
Footwear? Look no further than Garmont Tower Plus GTX's available in Crimson, yellow and black for a budget-inspired $399!
Gloves? You'll be the envy of your Doomsday Prepper friends with Mountain Hardwear's Hydra Pro Glove (only $125/pr)!!!!
Need creative, practical gear for your bug-out bag? How about an Eton American Red Cross Rover (another Editor's Choice Award!!)? For $49.99 you can have a combination dynamo flashlight/radio/phone charger in silver and red!!!!
Want to spy on that roadblock up ahead? Use your Zeiss Victory HT Binoculars (affordably priced at $2444.00 to $2499!!), with "protection on knob for durability" and special coating so "fingerprints can be wiped away."
It gets worse.
Yes, I realize I may have been expecting a lot more. Yes, I'm being harsh, but with a magazine that is/was as iconic as ASG originally became, they had a very high standard to meet.
And they failed miserably, choosing to make the quick buck rather than earn the respect and dedication of those people who actually need the information.
So, to recap: The new American Survival Guide: Useless as teats on a boar hog. Save your money, buy one of the other magazines actually edited by people who don't think that starting a fire involves rubbing two Boy Scouts together.
<MODS: Please move where-ever you feel it's necessary. I was going to put this in the General Media board that has, apparently, been removed.>