Thursday, 15 September 2011

Grizzly Madman

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.


  1. It was a real shock watching this to discover he had a "girl" friend. I assumed he was a gay.

    It's very easy to become blinded by our passions in life. No matter how crazy they seem we still follow blindly like moths to a flame.

    I read another recently about a mother in Russia who received three phone calls from her daughter while she was being eaten by bears. The mother bear started to attack and eat her and then left to get her cubs and finish her off. She called her mother one last time during this time and said she could feel no pain anymore. That's was a sad story to read but this was not sad but more pathetic really. Stupid is as stupid does?

  2. To be quite frank, I've been a little disappointed that you have never even toyed with the idea of us being mauled as a couple. You should really put more thought into our romantic pastimes.

  3. @Christian; Yeah, he was quite camp indeed, but I think that's more a manifestation of his warped mind than his sexual preference!

    @Jenn; If you recall, I talked about how you'd have to get out the window first! I'm no Timothy Treadwell, so I don't intend to get us mauled. That'd be no craic at all.

  4. Saw this documentary a while back myself. Rough stuff indeed. It was one of the more dramatic results of anthropomorphism that I've come across. Should we blame Teddy Roosevelt for the Western preoccupation with the bear?

    It really is an odd thing to take one of natures most ferocious creatures and raise kids to think they are cute and cuddly.

    I say bring back the wear bear:

    Begin by letting the child think it's all cute and cuddly and once the false sense of security is embedded scare the beejesus out of him/her by turning it into the fanged beast it really is.

    Yes. I owned the featured wear bear. Howler was his name.

    I've never been attacked or eaten by a bear. Coincidence? I think not. Only because there are no wild bears in Ireland? Pah! The only explanation can be that I learned the true nature of the beast and have survived accordingly.

    On a more serious note. That documentary was horrific to say the least. Mr. Treadwell was reckless, feckless and quite delusional. If I recall he did try in vain to tell his girlfriend to save herself so despite his irresponsible behaviour he was not a malicious guy. Just a fool out of his depth.

  5. Ha! I had a good chuckle at that!

    He was an odd creature. There was part of the film were he lamented that he wasn't gay. LAMENTED!

  6. I just watched the first part of Warner's film and was awed by this guy's stupidity, walking up to and then turning his back on grizzly bears. I wouldn't do that with a cow, let alone a grizzly bear. Cows will attack you if they think you're dangerous or have intentions toward their young. Grizzly bears, as far as I know, don't need any provocation other than hunger. The one that got Tim and his girlfriend was obviously hungry. He ate them of them anyway. The thing I didn't understand was that while Tim recorded the audio portion of his death, he didn't take the lens cap off his camera. Why not? How is it that he could turn on his camera and yet not take off the lens cap? This I don't understand. And why did Warner not allow us to hear that audio? I can understand why he asked Tim's ex gf not to listen to it, but to tell her to destroy it was senseless in my opinion. Yes, tell her not to listen, but allow everyone else the chance to hear this death struggle. And, no, it’s not goolish. It’s a desire to hear and see the whole story, all censorship aside. Also, about Tim’s gf: She was obviously as senseless as Tim, going into the wilderness of grizzly bears without a 44mag on her hip. That’s just dumb beyond words. She shouldn’t have gone up there in the first place, 44mag or not. Or if it was impossible for her to resist going with Tim, she should have stayed well away from those creatures. But there’s a scene of her sitting on the side of river with two grizzlys in the water not more than 20 feet away. Dumb! That’s just being too stupid for words. By the way, did the bear that killed them attack them at their camp or some distance from their camp? I don’t think that was made clear. All in all, the story was one of the most engrossing I’ve ever seen. I’ll watch the rest of it tonight. I turned it off, rolled over and went to sleep when Tim was filming himself touching bear poop. That convinced me he had lost his marbles and was little more than a walking ham sandwich. But the girl…what made her think for a second those grizzly bears weren’t dangerous? What got into her head for her to set all reason aside? “Come on, Honey. We’re going to live with grizzly bears.” “Oh, okay. Give me a minute to throw my brain out the window.”