Friday, September 16, 2011

Did He Get What He Deserved?

While watching Werner Herzog's documentary, Grizzly Man, I noted the words of one man interviewed who claimed that Timothy Treadwell, someone who studied and lived with grizzly bears, "got what he deserved".

What do you think of this statement?

In Roger Ebert's review of the film, he quotes the director, Herzog, as saying, "I believe the common denominator of the universe is not harmony, but hostility, chaos and murder."

Ebert goes on to reveal his own opinion of Timothy Treadwell:
I have a certain admiration for his courage, recklessness, idealism, whatever you want to call it, but here is a man who managed to get himself and his girlfriend eaten, and you know what? He deserves Werner Herzog.

15 comments:

layne said...

I don't believe anyone deserves to be eaten by a bear, especially such an animal lover like Timmy. I think (and hope) the person who said Treadwell deserved his untimely death meant he played with fire and got burned, so to speak. Timothy said multiple times in the movie that Grizzlies can and will kill. He felt such a deep connection to the bears that he rolled those dice; the worst happened.

As far as the Ebert quote, I think it's more of a compliment to Treadwell than anything. Herzog is a master filmmaker (see Cave of Forgotten Dreams for proof). To say that anyone deserves Werner Herzog is to say they deserve a person a class-A documentary filmed about them.

David K. said...

I don't think its fair to say that a person got what he or she deserved just because a risk was being taken. If a person had committed a crime and gotten punished for it, then the phrase would apply because its just for a criminal to face consequences. However, Timothy was not a hostile person and he didn't commit any serious crimes. He was just trying to live among bears and protect them. So although I don't think he made a particularly smart decision in living with wild grizzlies, he didn't deserve to die and he doesn't deserve to be treated like a criminal who deserved a punishment. I think its disrespectful to Timothy's memory because he shouldn't go down in history as any sort of person that deserved harm.

becky.h said...

I agree with layne that no one deserves to be eaten by a bear. The man at the museum said that he was making a huge mistake because he was teaching these bears to not fear humans, which would lead them to their death with poachers and hunters. The truth is that bears, and all animals, shouldn't have to be afraid of humans. Timmy Treadwell was spreading awareness about these bears to try and stop the hunting and poaching. It is not like he just decided that bears were cute and he might want to spend some time with them. He was truly trying to help them and all other kinds of animals that are being hunted to the brink of extinction.

Ross W. said...

I agree that nobody deserves to be eaten by a bear, especially someone who dedicated his life to prove they’re not dangerous. However, I know that Timothy Treadwell was fully aware that he could die and kept going because he loved it so much. He always said that if he were to die, that is how he would’ve wanted it. So, while I think nobody deserves to die doing what they love, I think Treadwell accepted the fact that he could die and was ok with it because it would only help his cause to raise awareness to protect the bears, which is what he really wanted.

Katie C. said...

I love Layne's comment, "I don't think anyone deserves to get eaten by a bear." Very True.
I think Timothy believe himself to be a savior, a protector. Stronger than others. This thought is not true. Timothy was an average human being with some abnormal thoughts.
But let's be honest. No one deserves to get eaten by a bear.

Betsy P said...

I agree that he did not deserve what had happened, and as Layne originally said, "no one deserves to get eaten by a bear." But as said in the movie I do believe he started to, "lose sight of what was really going on." His extreme infatuation for bears and the wild made him lose sight of the fact that he was only human. But just how McCandles managed to survive multiple near-death situations, I think what made Treadwell fearlessly go back to the grizzly maze year after year was knowing he had not gotten seriously hurt yet--causing an overconfidence that would prove to be fatal.

Kathleen F. said...

I agree with what has been said but I like that Betsy brought up his overconfidence. A particular moment that stood out to me when was Timothy was speaking to the camera saying "Come out here, do what I do, and you will die here - you will die". He had truly come to believe that he had conquered the risk of death with the specific bears he had befriended.
This overconfidence could be seen as a crime to himself as it stole his ability to be cautious and wary among the bears. So in response to David's comment that he wasn't a criminal, we could get all philosophical and say even our emotions and actions have punishments. Saying that he "got what he deserved" does apply because his death was the punishment to his morally criminal actions of overconfidence and underestimation of the bears instinctual nature.

Casey B. said...

I could not agree more with Layne. I think although the tone Roger Ebert uses when he chooses the Herzog quote mentioning a common denominator of "hostility, chaos, and murder" is quite dark, it is complimented with his acknowledgement of the risks Timothy Treadwell took and his love for animals. Yes, Timmy rolled the dice. He rolled the dice some 17 summers in a row living among completely dangerous Grizzly Bears doing what he loved most. It was for this reason that he did "deserve" a brilliant filmmaker such as Werner Herzog.

Alexi S. said...

I agree with what David said about how, "If a person had committed a crime and gotten punished for it, then the phrase would apply because its just for a criminal to face consequences." To say that Timothy "got what he deserved" is to imply that he did something wrong. Its what one says about a criminal after their sentence has been decided. The only true "crimes" Timothy ever committed was his occasional disregard to the laws against staying in the same place in the reserve for too long. However, I'm sure the consequence to breaking that law is not death by bear.

Some people would argue that his expeditions were an intrusion unto the bears home and therefore a crime. But then I would ask those people what they think of researchers all around the world who study different cultures of people and animals. All they want to do is better understand the world around them, just as Timothy was trying to do. Did he get what he deserved? No, he got what was expected by the general public and possibly Timothy himself, a death by the dangerous animal he loved.

AbbeyR said...

I also agree with Layne's comment, "I don't believe anyone deserves to be eaten by a bear, especially such an animal lover like Timmy". Timothy Treadwell was a risk taker just like McCandless and loved being with nature/animals. Betsy states, "His extreme infatuation for bears and the wild made him lose sight of the fact that he was only human". I believe that Betsy came up with a great point that Timmy isolated himself so far from the "human world" which resulted in his death.

Allison M. said...

I agree with Alexi when she says that saying Timothy Treadwell deserved death as a result of his lifestyle implied he was evil, unjust or commited a crime. Yet, he was none of the above. He chose to live his life in a way that made him happy; that made him feel complete. In a way, that makes him deserve more than others, as he chose to be brave and live life with a purpose. Shouldn't a person who lives a courageous life filled with this kind of passion deserve more than this? He took risks, yes, but that was his choice to make.

Matt R. said...

I agree with what has been said and especially Alexi who wrote that all Treadwell wanted to do was, "better understand the world around them [him]."

It seems that one of the biggest arguments critics of Treadwell have is that he intruded upon the bears' territory (played with fire) and consequently got burned. However, it seems to me that Treadwell was simply doing what he loved to do and was inquisitive about the world around him.

I do, on one hand, feel that Treadwell's death, however tragic, was also not a big surprise. What he believed was his calling came across to most people as illogical gambling due to his massive risks. However, I think Treadwell would be proud to say that he followed his dream as far as he could into reality and I feel that we should be proud of him as a human being for being so passionate in the face of adversity.

aidanl. said...

I would not say that Treadwell got what he deserves but rather reality caught up with him. Treadwell had good intentions in going out and living with bears, but he had a skewed sense of reality. He believed he had created some sort of formula for invincibility and thus the bears could never harm him. However it is the nature of a living thing to continue on living. That is reality. The bear that ate Treadwell and his girlfriend needed to eat, so it ate. The power and good intentions that Treadwell convinced himself that he had simply didn't matter. Treadwell was up against a starving bear. He had no chance. Because he had good intentions: he wanted to protect the bears: so I say that he didn't deserve to die. However he had it coming, his death was realistic and one could argue even inevitable if he continued to live the same lifestyle.

Hayley B said...

I think that an interesting element in Treadwell's story is not just whether he "deserved" what he got, but whether he even achieved his goal.
Becky H mentioned that she didn't believe Treadwell was harming the bears by getting them accustomed to humans because they should not have to fear hunters or poachers, but Treadwell was doing more than just getting them accustomed to seeing people. If they merely were used to one human being around them that might not be so bad, but he was teaching them that humans are perfectly save to approach - he was touching the bears. Put a bear like that near anyone and it will get shot - probably not maliciously, but because someone will think it's trying to eat them. Aside from just this, though, there are also general problems with bears being too comfortable with society and beginning to live off of eating people's garbage or such.
Also, Treadwell's eventual death was, I assume, pretty publicized, which probably actually led more people to look critically at grizzly bears - even if he was an extreme case, many people will just see the headline of a man who loved grizzlies getting killed by them and just believe bears to be super dangerous. They're not. Treadwell was out there touching bears - he went over the top. But I think that if he had kept just ten, fifteen feet distance between him and the bears, and been more of an observer than an active participant, his death would have been more surprising. Grizzlies really aren't that scary or awful, I wandered around with some in Alaska while I was their and got within ten or fifteen feet of one (while in a group, but still). All it did was look at us a little, then lie down, then fish for a while. Treadwell's fault was getting too close, not just trying to live with bears. A more hands off, scientific approach probably would have kept him from getting killed, it was his need to personally connect with, even challenge the animals that was so dangerous.

Jasmine T. said...

Oh I really like the point Haley is getting at. I defiantely think that even though he died he died for his cause and i dont think that he deserved it but like Layne said, "he was playing with fire and got burned". But like Haley was saying Timothy Treadwell's death brought so much media attention and publicity to his cause that hadn't really been present before. However I would have to agree with what Betsey H. said about Treadwell not doing as much good as he thought he was. He was helping bears become accustomed to humans and that does not necessarily help their situation. In an ideal world it would but the world we live in currently isnt that way. Bears definately should be able to be comfortable with humans however the fact of the matter is that they cant be because people are used to bears. We're the ones that arent accustomed to bears and that is who Timothy Treadwell should have spent the majority of his time trying to help.