Reflection: Interspecies Relationships
week 6- grizzly man response
By Evan Hynes (06/07/10 22:57:01)
Related animal: Bear

Before actually watching th entirety of Werner Herzog's film, Grizzly Man, I had already formed my opinion of Timothy Treadwell's work with bears--that his work with bears was foolish, and that his death was inevitable because of his work's foolish nature. I had based this off of hearing many people comment on the film; it seemed to be the message of the film. In fact, after watching Grizzly Man, I can confidently say that this is probably the message the film maker was going for. He portrays Timothy Treadwell as a risk-taker and a dare devil. After reading a response to the film by a friend of Timothy Treadwell's, Charlie Russell, however, I now have a different view of Timothy Treadwell's work with bears. Yes, it is true Timothy Treadwell was taking a major risk when working with bears. But the fact that he spent many winters of many years, and upward of 3500 hours working, interacting, and living peacefully (until his death) with bears needs to be recognized not as the crazy act of a flamboyant wild life advocate, but rather as an astonishing, worthy point being made in a physical sense; the fact that he spent so much time living with bears shows that bears are not necessarily dangerous by nature. Instead, I would argue that although bears can be dangerous, it is our presence around them that causes the danger--yet with the right understanding of them and the knowledge of how they live, bears and humans can exist in the same environment theoretically, with no negative impacts on either groups. This point that is also argued in Russell's text about Treadwell, is unfortunately overshadowed by Treadwell's death and the portrayal of his death in Herzog's film. Nontheless, Herzog is a talented film maker, and I did enjoy the film, but it was very important for me to read Russell's response because it shed light on the life and work of Treadwell in an alternative way.

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