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Watching "Grizzly Man"... and... good grief! - "You didn't hear about the polar bear?"
February 3rd, 2006
09:37 pm


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Watching "Grizzly Man"... and... good grief!
You probably don't want to read this unless you've seen the film - which I don't recommend - so I'll lj-cut this. It's a rant, pure and simple - so please ignore.

Very, very strange. Werner Herzog took the footage shot by Timothy Treadwell during 13 summers that he "lived with the grizzlies" until he and the woman with him were killed by grizzlies. What a poor, sad man the "grizzly man" was. He wants to be "the man who saves the bears", and presents himself as such, but, really, his very being there is so wrong, and so... self-indulgent, so lacking in awareness of his effect on others - like, for example, the bears. Timothy feels the bears need him to "protect" them, when the very best thing that he could do for the bears is leave them alone! So sad. And I have to wonder (have I just been reading too much slash?!), if he's having troubles with his own sexuality. He keeps talking about his problems with women, how he's too nice around them - but "he's not gay"! Oh, no! *G* Sorry, kind of hard to see this guy with a blonde Prince Valiant haircut and a teddy bear, and that voice, and the way he talks to his little fox friend, and not think "gay". Poor confused guy.

I just hope that nobody takes this film the wrong way and follows what he's done! Leave the bears alone. Me? I've gone to photograph them, which is bad enough. But I try to have as little effect as possible, and I always respect their wildness. Sad... just so sad.

The eeriest part of the film? The night that Timothy and the woman with him were attacked, he turned on his camera (but the lens cover was on), which meant that all the sounds were recorded. Another woman that he worked with inherited the tape, and she lets Werner Herzog listen to it. We don't hear the tape; we just get Herzog's reaction. Which is to ask her to stop the tape finally, tell her never to listen to it, never to look at the photos of the remains - and destroy the tape. So that she's never tempted to listen to it. Now that - is chilling. I'm surprised that he was attacked in his tent, btw; grizzlies are actually very slow to attack, unless provoked, or lured in by food or food smells. But every animal is unique; one never knows how one will act.

Oh, lord, now they're showing his reactions to some people coming to photograph. The people are throwing rocks at an approaching bear, and Timothy is moaning and groaning - oh, how can you do that! Ummmm... they're throwing the rocks so that the bear will not approach, which is the right thing to do. They're not trying to hurt it; they're trying to scare it away. And - now he's getting all upset because somebody left a "hello Tim, see you in summer 2001" - and feels this is an attack. And somebody left a pile of rocks with a happy face. "Very frightening - it's a warning" - *LOL*! Give me a break! And now he's approaching a bear and touching it... which means that these bears will get acclimated to humans, and therefore less likely to be afraid of them - and more likely to be hurt by humans. Lord, this guy is scary. *shudders* I don't agree with Herzog that Timothy was angry at civilization, but more that he feels self-aggrandized by creating himself as the savior of the grizzlies.

Anyway, those are just my opinions. But I've probably seen more of and been closer to grizzlies than most of the people on my list.

(10 comments | Leave a comment)

Date:February 4th, 2006 04:27 am (UTC)
I read the Vanity Fair article (May '04), which was very well written, horrifying, and made me want to *bap* Treadwell on the side of the head. I think TT was outside the tent when he was attacked, and his girlfriend tried to hit the bear with a frying pan or something. The camera was in the tent, though. And they'd been there for a while, so the smells must've been too much for the bear to ignore.

One of our former neighbours has moved out near Yellowstone to observe wolves (mostly) and photograph wildlife, and sends back email dispatches which often feature the sheer cluelessness of park visitors when it comes to bears. Scary, scary people. Boo remembers him mentioning (I seem to have erased it from memory) an instance of someone anointing their child with honey to bring a bear closer. Ahahaha.
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Date:February 4th, 2006 04:37 am (UTC)
Ha. ha. ha. *gulp*

They've (Yellowstone) been really good about putting up signs/info on the right way to act around bears, so you don't see foolish behavior as much; they've really reversed the approach they had when we were kids, thank heavens!

I'm watching the beginning of it now (caught it about 1/3 through), and I also watched some discussion between his acquaintances after the film was made and viewed, and I've calmed down a little bit. One point his friends made was that they claim that no bears were poached in "his" area for those 13 summers, and the next year 6 were taken. So it may be that the presence of a man with a camera did discourage people from poaching there. I'd have to hear that from somebody objective. And he did show films to kids in schools, which is great. But if everybody did what he did? Hoooooboy!
Date:February 4th, 2006 04:53 am (UTC)
The cruel irony is that the bears he so wanted to save got shot (because they had killed him and his girlfriend), whereas they probably would be fine if he never had been involved that way, or if he had at least brought a riffle with him, as the gamkeepers advised hi to do - not to shoot the bears but to scare them away.

And about "touching the bears" not only they get more used to human presence, but cubbs get rejected by their own spieces if they have the human scent on them. So, no, not helping them at all.

It's sad because he wanted to do well.


Oh! and Hi,Rosamunde!
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Date:February 4th, 2006 05:42 am (UTC)
Absolutely agree. Good intentions; wrong approach. Hi, anonymous Nimue!
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Date:February 4th, 2006 06:17 am (UTC)
The guy was an idiot.He didn't respect bears or wildlife enough to give it appropriate space and leave the animals alone. The pictures of him touching the bear just give me the chills. He truly thought he could become one with the bear. It just does not work that way.

A great many tourists are idiots too. There are signs near Yosemite warning people not to feed animals. Signs showing a stag attacking a person. Still the tourists persist in trying to get ever closer. They all seem to have a "its not going to happen to ME, it only happens to the Other guy." mentality. Then the animal steps in and eventually loses its life because of tourist idiocy.
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Date:February 4th, 2006 06:30 am (UTC)

I was charged by an elk while there. Apparently it was charging everybody who walked by on a wooden walkway they had going through a field of mudpots. I courageously put a small pine between the elk and myself... *L*! Fortunately it was a bluff charge. Unfortunately, I looked up and saw several video cameras trained on me. *L*! Surprised it neer showed up on America's funniest videos.
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Date:February 4th, 2006 07:18 pm (UTC)
Only someone who has a screw or two loose in the brain would touch a "wild" grizzlie or stand less than ten feet away filming the animals. The guy sure had a death wish if he wasn't 'just a nut'. What I don't understand is how he survived so long amongst them in the first place-this is what amazes me. He should have been dead the first time one walked up to him.
I have to admit I was both fascinated and horrified watching the movie...

Oh and hi! I got here via my friend mariavah to check out your Elijah pics from ORC. I was at Billy's brunch too. :)
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Date:February 4th, 2006 11:57 pm (UTC)
I have to admit that he obviously did a lot of things right, in order to be "accepted" by them. What worries me is that he didn't think about the effect on them!

You were! Cool! I'll eventually get the Billy pics up... just taking time. *S*
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Date:February 5th, 2006 01:17 am (UTC)
I've read about this film and what I read sounded just like what you've said here. The guy had major problems. It's sad they died such a horrible way. And then, for this other dude to go and make this film . . . just not right.
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Date:February 5th, 2006 04:06 am (UTC)
Well, I do think that Werner Herzog did the film in a very good way. And all of Timothy's friends say that he would have loved that he was the star of a film - *S*. Werner was very much against making anything like a "snuff" film, as he says. He really tried to use it as a view of one person's struggle with his demons.
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