Monday, August 25, 2014

Lonely Planets, Big Fish, and the Death of PBR

I've always enjoyed reading the Lonely Planet guidebooks, despite not having much cause (i.e. cash) to be able to use one as an actual, you know, guidebook. But in typical escapist fantasy fashion, I'd often check them out at the public library just to read about regions that interested me. They always seemed to be well-written, informative, and geared a bit more toward the cash-challenged adventure travelers rather than the more typical tourist, sort of a pre-Internet book version of the excellent GlobeTrekker show on PBS.

Like all print media it seems the Lonely Planet empire, battered by the Great Recession and the advent of all things digital, has seen better days. I was perusing the Outside website not long ago and came across this story about how the Kentucky billionaire who now owns the franchise is betting on the future.

From the story

Last year, a media-shy billionaire bought the flailing Lonely Planet travel-guide empire, then shocked observers by hiring an unknown 24-year-old former wedding photographer to save it. Charles Bethea straps in for a bizarre ride as a kid mogul tries to remake a legendary brand for the digital age.

It's a really interesting read, and gives hope to young, poverty-stricken visionaries everywhere that their grand dreams, visions. and ideas are just a single odd and reclusive billionaire away from being realized. I always thought there was a market for a Lonely Planets-type guidebook series for itinerant, cash-strapped anglers who wanted to experience the world's angling opportunities from somewhere other than a lodge they could never hope to afford, but I think the Internet has probably rendered that opportunity moot. Apps are where it's at now, I suppose.

But speaking of planetary fishing and exploration, here's a video I saw on Facebook and had to steal and share. If this doesn't make you want to quit your job, sell all the useless trappings of modern life that are currently enslaving you, hop a tramp freighter, and just travel the world catching the amazing variety of gamefish out there just waiting to be caught, then you're an automaton...

Pretty cool stuff. I'm now ready to leave it all behind and go explore the world, rod in hand. Of course, most of the fishing scenes depicted in the video require a high degree of affluence and/or lack of familial responsibility  to experience, so I guess I'll stick to YouTube videos and daydreams. Besides, if I sold everything I owned and set out into the world, rod in hand, I'd get about as far as, I dunno, Denver, before going completely broke, but not before spending my last six bucks or so for a six-pack of PBR with which to drown my sorrows. At least I'd look cool and destitute rather than simply drunk and destitute. Or maybe not...

Again, from Outside Online... Have we reached Peak PBR?

Last month, a curious thing happened: After a long day of work, my husband showed up on our doorstep with a six-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

“It was on sale,” he said, offering up the iconic red, white, and blue cans. “If the hipsters like it, how bad can it be?” (Spoiler alert: pretty bad.)

What you need to know about my husband is that, while I think he’s cool, he’s not, you know, hipster cool. Earlier this year, he asked me what Coachella was. And he’s been to Brooklyn exactly zero times.
As such, his buying PBR is the perfect example of what hipsters have been dreading—PBR has entered the mainstream, and it may be the beginning of the end for the brand.

Good god, let's hope so. What atrocious horse piss that stuff is. Everything has its moment, then that moment fades as the herd thunders on to the next great truth. I live in a part of the world where folks mainly drink beer to screw, fight, pass out, or some combination thereof, so like most trends I largely failed to notice the PBR craze. I guess there are some benefits to living in an unfashionable rural backwater. One wonders, however, if the decline of PBR among the PPRI (Perpetual Personal Re-Invention) crowd might signal a portend of things to come for other hot trends, like Adult-Onset hunting and gathering? Personally, I hope not. PBR is a bad thing, and should be given back to its rightful demographic: tastebud-less alcoholics, but hunting needs all the friends it can get, demographic-wise. But who knows, they're a fickle crowd, these hipsters.


  1. Everything old is new again... or meet the new boss... or somesuch.

    The PBR thing (the beer, not the bovine borne madness that I love to watch) never made sense to me. It was swill in the 70s, when I first encountered it. It has not aged well at all, despite the fact that some friends whose taste I never thought to question keep their coolers stocked with it. What's worse... they actually drink it! The fad can't die a quick enough death.

    As far as the likely future of adult-onset hunters, locavores, and other variations on the theme... look no further than Euell Gibbons and the "back to the earth" movement in the '70s (oddly enough, about the same time PBR hit its sales peak). A few die-hards are hanging in there yet, but the bulk of the trend-trailers will be on to the next thing momentarily... most of them soon after they realize that hunting is harder than it looks on Steve Rinella's Meat Eater show. I think the best we can hope for is that, after the hipster hunters have moved on, at least there'll be greater understanding and appreciation of hunting to defy the anti-hunters' stereotypes.

    Was that too pessimistic?

    It comes, it goes.

  2. I for one never tire of seeing pike take ducklings, vicious v's fluffy. Nature v's disney.

    1. What I want to see are pics of you with a giant Spanish wels catfish. When are we going to see that?

    2. good idea, my boar hunting opportunity in france has become bent out of shape, so I need a new plan. trying to go to Porto next month, big things in the offing but little to actually report

  3. I put myself through college in the early 1970's, driving a beer truck. Three brothers owned the distributorship and were friends of my father's. They hired me because I needed a job. I was 19 years old, made 15.00 an hour...union wage. My friends were fellow drivers, bar rats and anybody that drank.I graduated from a small private college in the Midwest. Spent my junior year at the Newberry Library in Chicago. I think you should drink anything you want. Enjoy your blog...season opens here in 5 days...I'll drink a 16oz.PBR for you in my special sharptail spot. Best to you and yours, Tom Condon

    1. Aww,man, I knew I was probably going to insult a PBR fan :) Great story, Tom. Five days... and I'm down here in the heat looking at two more months before the quail opener. One of these days I'm gonna make it up there permanently. I'll miss my quail, but I love those sharptails, and love to hate those huns. My dad lives in Kalispell but Itoo many trees for me. I'm shooting for the plains... Hope your Cody pup has an awesome season, and I'll be looking for pics on FB...

  4. Anybody who complains about PBR never drank Buckhorn.

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