The End…A Farewell

December 26, 2010 § Leave a comment

Hello all,

It has been wonderful being in a class with all of you. I had a great time and it was easily one of my favorite classes, in no small part due to the our awesome class. I doubt many of you will read this – what with the class being over and second semester seniors to boot – but I wanted to thank all of you for such a great semester. Especially Carla, since it’s not often that I get watch The Lion King and call it research =D

 

Have a great 5 days and 2011 everyone!

-Matthew Roy, “sǝɹıɟ & sɹıɟ”

 

 

Lovin’ the love

December 9, 2010 § 1 Comment

Watching Grizzly Man teaches you more about the director (Werner Herzog) than the actual man, Timothy Treadwell. First of all because we learn little about Treadwell, or at least a lot less than we could have.  the bibliographical facts about Tim’s life are splattered throughout the film, and never really get explained (ex: the fact that Tim faked an Australian accent for part of his life). When we do see direct views of his life, or at least interviews with is close family and friends, they seem very staged.  Herzog, the German director of the film, is known to stage his documentaries.  In this one he seems to do the same thing, asking leading questions which hint at a hidden agenda.  For example Herzog asks Jules (a close friend of Treadwell’s) if she “feels like Tim’s widow.”

There are also many scenes I would think had already occurred, or that Herzog would not be invited to. Such as the awarding of Tim’s watch to Jules, and the spreading of his ashes in the wilderness.  Though this staging shows us less about Tim, it brings up interesting beliefs of the director himself.

I believe that animals, in movies, allow the audience to project their own emotions, and lives, onto the screen.  Herzog seems to think this is what Tim is doing with the bears.

Tim names each bear, he explains their “emotions” and behavior to the camera.  Time loves the bears and believes they love him to.

Herzog, however, has a very different view.  He claims that the only emotions in the bears eyes is that of the “overwhelming indifference of nature.”  Herzog clearly believes the bears cannot love Tim.

Watching the movies I would have to agree.  Every time Tim attempts to touch, or get close to the bears they start or move away from him.  If the bears truly loved him he would not continue saying that they could kill him at any moment.  I think if the bears loved Treadwell they would not kill him on a whim, at least I hope that’s how love goes.

The more interesting question to me is whether of not Tim can truly love the bears. Herzog, it seems, would say no.  He seems to portray Tim as loving the idea of the bears, bu the the bears themselves.  He is simply projecting his own desires and emotions onto the the bears and, according to Herzog, onto the camera.

A Little Late: Herzog by the Years

November 30, 2010 § 1 Comment

A little bit late, but in case you hadn’t done your reading up on the famous Werner Herzog:

He was born the same year as Bambi is released, the fight in Guadalcanal begins, and we first begin using DDT on crops.

He made his first feature film the year winter Olympics were held in Grenoble, France, Martin Luther King is assassinated, and the American public opinion turns against the war.

His first son was born the year of the Watergate Scandal, the DEA was founded, and the first hand held phone was used.

He made Grizzly Man the year GW Bush was kept in office, Hurricane Katrina hit, and suicide bombings were getting worse.

He was shot by a rifle (and lived) the same year as Saddam Hussein is sentenced to death, the winter Olympics were held in Italy, and North Korea conducts a nuclear test.

“If Attacked, Fight Back”

November 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

While walking the dish this Thanksgiving with my family I found myself retelling the entire story of Grizzly Man to my sister. I think I was still processing my own opinions about Timothy Treadwell’s tragic ending and wanted some input. As we were discussing what it would be like if we were in that situation I glanced at the sign in the entrance to the trail and noticed a warning about mountain lions. In order to keep up with my family’s fast pace (which was necessary to return to the unattended turkey before dinner was ruined) I was only able to catch a few words. However, the part I did catch was the last bullet point which read “If attacked, fight back.”

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Treadwelling On Thin Ice

November 26, 2010 § 1 Comment

Yeah, my puns are wearing thin. LIKE THE ICE! Ha, Ha?

You will have to excuse my blatant disregard for protocol on this noble blog.

Here is a picture I found.

I thought it was kinda pointless…

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But I uploaded it anyway.

 

Alright, onto Treadwell. To be honest this is kinda far from my mind right now.

So on one hand you have a man who lived for 13 years in close company with the planet’s largest land predator. He collected hundreds of hours of footage that has untold scientific value, and he raised awareness for bears far more than any by-the-book park ranger could.

On the other hand he acclimated the bears to human presence and blatantly ignored federal, park, and common sense law. His death resulted in the death of two(?) bears and his girlfriend.

 

On your third hand you have a pie. Why aren’t you eating the pie? 

Thanksgiving was awesome. I hope you all enjoyed your participation in the slaughter of tens of millions of innocent turkeys. Unless of course you ate tofurky, in which case “What the heck is wrong with you?”

 

 

 

And on your 4th hand, you have the question of his sanity. I wouldn’t recommended eating that, it looks kinda thorny. And if you are now standing examining the contents of your 3rd or 4th hand I would go to a surgeon or shrink, depending on whether or not you can punch someone with it. If you are Chuck Norris you can ignore this recommendation.

 

 

 

Anyway, back to my main point. Was Treadwell a net positive influence for the bears, people, and bear-people? Personally, I think the Treadwell was a positive influence in the end. It would have been a lot more positive if he hadn’t gotten eaten by a bear (what a thoughtless bugger), but as it is I think awareness definitely increased. Like Steve Erwin – Crocodile Hunter, may he rest in peace – he exposed people to the wonders of the natural world. It is hard to care about an abstract idea, but he turned it into an experience we can see and hear.

But I’m far from certain. It is a tough question to tackle, especially when your main sources of information are obviously biased.

A Worthy Cause

November 25, 2010 § 2 Comments

We all know that Timothy Treadwell constantly exclaimed how he was going to “protect the grizzly bears from poachers” who would kill them for sport while he was out in the wilderness.  But then I have to wonder, why wasn’t a single poacher in the finished film?  Now I’m not trying to discount Treadwell’s purpose out in the Alaskan wilderness: it takes a special kind of bravery to spend every day and night in the proximity of grizzly bears without any self-defense precautions such as weapons, an electric fence, bear spray, etc.  I feel that Treadwell’s purpose out there transcended any preservative causes that he constantly talked about.  Now don’t get me wrong; he clearly started a movement and spread awareness about grizzly poaching in all of his visits and talks at schools and commercials (he even received sizeable donations from celebrities).  However, I believe that Treadwell needed the grizzlies more than the grizzlies needed him.  Treadwell’s profound love and care for the bears was, in this writer’s opinion, unrequited in magnitude.  His rather dark past involving substance abuse and violence was cast away when he moved to Alaska and finally found a measure of peace.  He confided in the Grizzlies, bonding with nature and purifying his lifestyle of the human corruptions (guns, drugs) that once plagued him.  The grizzles saved Treadwell’s life from a downward spiral; they lifted him up and helped him rediscover himself.   I doubt any of the grizzles really understood the impact that they had on turning Treadwell’s life around.  I personally feel that Treadwell braved the Alaskan wilderness simply because of his profound love for them alone and not  for their protection

The Escape

November 23, 2010 § 1 Comment

NPR wisely said “…the bears saved [Treadwell].”  In all community service be it Grizzly Bear protection or can food drives, the person doing the community service work seems to get more out of the experience than the animal or people the work is aiding.  This seems to be because we, benefactors, seem to always get profound amounts of happiness from helping others whether the helping is necessary or even helpful.  Humans love having a purpose for their life, and community service work is the perfect opportunity to add meaning.  Treadwell is no different than any other human.  He was an alcoholic and found meaning for his life when he took upon himself the grizzly cause (a cause which several articles and myself question the validity). Timothy Treadwell needed to be saved from himself.  What better way to save yourself is there besides becoming totally obsessed with something other than yourself?

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