now you’ve scene it! with rear-entry gentry and kevin smith clark
while out on vacation kellie and I had the pleasure of watching grizzly man with kevin and amy clark. grizzly man recounts the journeys of tim treadwell, a burned out hippie, failed actor and erstwhile medieval times character who fell in love with alaskan grizzly bears and so spent the last fourteen years of his life living among these magnificent creatures and advocating on their behalf.
i was transfixed by timothy’s passionate idealism, for in a way he reminded me a little of saint francis, the self proclaimed “jongleur de dieu” or juggler of God who was not afraid to make a fool of himself as he fulfilled his purpose in life. as foolish as some of timothy’s decisions were – i.e., walking among and talking to ferocious bears he personified with nicknames like “mr. chocolate” and “baubles” – I could not help but respect his willingness to pursue his passion at all costs. fortunately, i was also transfixed by timothy’s ability to scale the heights of unintentional comedy. The autobiographical videos he left behind record such comedic jewels as: his musings on why life would have been so much easier if I was gay (actual excerpt: “I've always wished I was gay, it would have been a lot easier. You know, it's just Bing! Bing! Bing! - gay guys, no problem. They go to restrooms and truck stops and perform sex, it's like so easy for them and stuff.”), his weeping over the beauty of a red fox and blubbering “you, you are the star of all the children!,” his passionate exploration of a pile of bear shit (at which time he said something like “it’s so warm! Look at it! it was just inside mr. chocolate!”) and his profound theological musings (actual text: “I want rain. I want, if there's a God, to kick some ass down here. Let's have some water! Jesus boy! Let's have some water! Christ man or Allah or Hindu floaty thing! Let's have some fucking water for these animals!”).
i recall that on one occasion during preaching class, dr. sackett said that “if you’re not an interesting person, you will never be an interesting preacher.” well, timothy was an interesting, passionate person and a world class unintentional comedian. i think you will find grizzly man oddly fascinating, overwhelmingly funny and unexpectedly touching.
As I get older, my appreciation for documentaries increases. From the heart-wrenching (Sound and Fury) to the bizarre (Dancing Outlaw), I've found several that I would view multiple times before entertaining any more feel-good dreck from Ron Howard (especially A Beautiful Mind...which is just a step above dogshit). I found another gem in Grizzly Man. I agree with my brother, Jeff, about its ability to make you laugh ("Downy is hungry! Tabitha is hungry! Melissa is eating her babies!!"), wince, and marvel at one man's passion.
I asked myself, "Where is the line between passion and madness?" Treadwell had a geniune love for these animals, and I think he thought he was doing the right thing. But, through Herzog's presentation, he was unable to function outside of this environment. He would complain about his lovelife, but failed to notice that few women would be attracted to this dangerous lifestyle. And the one that was (Amy) lost her life as well.
Bottom line: there's a reason man should not interact with bears the way Treadwell did. I disagree with Herzog, who said that the underlying current to the universe is chaos. It's very much rooted in order, the way it was designed. Though these bears would sniff at Treadwell in a curious sense, there's always the chance they would snap/attack/defend. Even domestic animals, like dogs, will snap and attack, sometimes kill, humans. We weren't designed to have fellowship with bears, nor they with us. I can't lament Treadwell for his choices. I, like Jeff, can appreciate his passion, but I cannot and will not condone his behavior. He's not a humanitarian. He's not Dianne Fossey. He's not Jacques Cousteau. Hell, he's not even Steve Zissou. He's a man who proved what these bears have been trying to communicate for a long time: leave us alone.
It's a fascinating watch, and a reminder that though we are first among His creation, we are not exempt from the laws He set to govern it.
and now, for the denouement
we enthusiastically give grizzly man two thumbs up, way up (the ass).
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