Sunday, February 05, 2006

A fool and his life, parted

Timothy Treadwell
1957 - 2003
Spent a couple hours watching Grizzly Man, a film about a misguided and naive animal lover who ultimately is loved (savored even) by the very animals that he wanted to protect from humanity's sprawl. The story is gripping and confirms several theories that I've held for a long time:

  • Nature can kill you
  • Humans who ignore this fact and try to make friends with it are stupid

The movie is about Timothy Treadwell, a recovering alcoholic wannabe actor with no formal training in the area of Ursus arctos horribilis, who spent thirteen summers living among wild grizzlies in an attempt to understand and protect them from poaching. Using video cameras that he carried into the wilderness, he would document his brazen attempts to humanize these bears. To him, they weren't dangerous, only misunderstood. The footage shows him within inches of these half-ton behemoths, sometimes touching them and always talking to them in a sing-song voice.

Do you suppose those bears looked at him the way that Wiley Coyote saw the Road Runner? In a few scenes the bears would swipe at him or otherwise make it known that they felt threatened, but you never really see any fear in their faces. To a thousand pound bear, a hundred-weight human is but a morsel.

So, to sum up, the movie isn't really about bears, but more about human stupidity. We live in this world and we pretend that we're the dominant species, but take us out of the cities and we're just another prey animal.

The folks who pretend that nature is the Coca-Cola polar bears-love-seals commercial are doomed to be dinner.

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