|Treadwell and Huguenard|
Last night I watched Werner Herzog’s documentary film, Grizzly Man. It tells the tale of Timothy Treadwell, full-time lunatic and bear-lover, who spent a remarkable 13 summers living in a tent near Grizzly Bears in Alaska, before meeting his demise at the jaws of a hungry bear. His girlfriend, Amie Huguenard, who was with him, was also savagely killed and eaten.
Throughout the film, I felt the urge to roar at the outright stupidity of Treadwell. Here was a self-proclaimed protector of bears, a “kind warrior” against the injustices of poaching. A man who filmed himself with the disingenuous intention of portraying himself as alone in the wilderness (in fact he had a few human companions), nobly forced into action by the inaction of the government. He was in no way to be considered an expert on bears. The man was simply a delusional fanatic.
One of the men interviewed candidly talked about how Treadwell “got what he deserved”, and in a way he’s got a point. To view monstrous beasts who are guided by instinct as rational, understanding friends is the height of lunacy.
As Herzog observes, Treadwell was a man who sought meaning in life but ended up pursuing a deathwish. Some might wax lyrical about how he died doing what he loved, but I’m not so sure. There’s nothing poetic about getting yourself and your girlfriend eaten by a bear.