Tuesday, October 01, 2013

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." I wonder what this statement reveals about the director's feelings toward his subject?

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.

19 comments:

William E. said...

In my opinion Timothy Treadwell somewhat got what he deserved. Treadman is often quoted saying that he knows that the bears are dangerous and both able of killing him. In addition, the narrator goes on to say that bears are one of the most dangerous animals in the world so you have to think that he knew what he was getting in to from the beginning when he started his first summer. The reason I dont think that he got what the deserved as said by the interviewed man is because nobody deserves to die even if he/she knows the possible consequence involved with what they are doing. In my mind, Treadwell is definitely crazy in regards to what he does but he shouldnt be regarded as someone who got what they deserved

Shannon said...

I think that whenever somebody dies, saying they "deserved it" is just wrong. Even when they shot Bin Laden I did not go out rejoicing in the streets because a person, however horrible, had died. Was Timothy Treadwell at risk of death and thus his end not a huge surprise? Yes. did he "deserve it"? Eh... I'm not so sure.

Audrey K. said...

I agree with both Will and Shannon in that Timothy Treadwell did not "deserve" to be killed by grizzly bears. I think that the man diction's of the statement was not intended to sound so negative. Since Timothy dedicated himself to living with grizzly bears, he knew it would be risking his own life. He did not deserve to die, but his personal decision led to his own death.

Analyzing the director's quote, I think Herzog chose to direct this documentary in order to use Timothy's death to open the eyes of the viewers. By saying that the "common denominator of the universe is...hostility, chaos and murder," he means that in society there will and must be competition and loss. Timothy tried to leave in "harmony" with the bears, but because he denied the basic law of nature, he ended up losing his life. Since he would not kill, he ended up being killed.

Emily Coplan said...

Contrary to the writers before me, I actually believe that Treadwell "got what he deserved". Treadwell was living in an idealistic world, not able to see the danger in bears. Although Treadwell was able to have a special connection with nature and get along with many bears, I think he was too caught up in this fantasy world of thinking of bears as friends and not wild animals. Like Herzog said, "the common denominator of the universe is... hostility, chaos and murder". Treadwell was disrupting this common denominator by following bears around and treating them like they were his friends. He was trying to create harmony where harmony did not exist and in this way, I believe he "got what he deserved".

Emily Coplan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Guy R said...

The toughest part of Timothy Treadwell's story is that his girlfriend was along to receive the outcome Treadwell "deserved." I can understand that Treadwell was very passionate about his beliefs and in a way he seemed to relate to the bears on a spiritual level. The excitement he felt interacting with the beasts in his videos was heart warming to see. He went as far as to say that God would be happy with the way he lived his life. All of this is great but a problem arose when he coaxed another human being into trying to imitate a bear with him. Obviously I'm not advocating people being mauled but that is where he crossed the line in my opinion. His girlfriend DESERVED better than to meet her end in the Alaskan wilderness without a way to protect herself.

Jack O said...

It's not fair for us to say Tim Treadwell "got what he deserved". He was a kind, yet very confused person. I believe every death is tragic, however, I can only sit here and shake my head as to how he thought he was going to survive. I dig his spirituality and faith he has with the bears, and it's interesting how he can 'connect' with the wild animals in a way he can't do with humans. But everyone must understand that what he was doing was dangerous, and not logical. I would like to pose a question to Emily C. Do you think that perhaps the reason Tim went to live with the bears was to escape the "common denominator[s]" of "hostility, chaos and murder" in our own society? And therefore finds harmony in the simple minded bears?

William E. said...

Jack, i like what you are saying about how he wanted to escape all the bad things in life that you had listed above and i very much agree with you on that. I believe at one point during the film, but i dont remember fully i think Treadwell said something alone the lines of that he never really felt connected to society and thus he channeled his time and energy to a different type of "Job". I do feel that even though he was happy with the animals he found a sense of community with them. I say this because although one of his main motives was to stop poachers and protect the bears, i think that he was actually happy where he was and saw the bears as friends. He constantly calls them by names and he is able to identify them by markings, size, color ect.

Josh Sussman said...

Though he obviously was aware of the dangers that the Alaskan wilderness poses, especially when living and being within close vicinity of grizzly bears, I don't think he deserved to die. It sort of made me wonder, Why grizzly bears and not furry koala bears? It occurred to me after reading the review by Roger Ebert that Treadwell did what he did because he wanted to follow his passion and possibly change the "common denominator." Another idea that came to mind after hearing Jayce say in class that one of Treadwell's possible motives to go out and live with bears was fame. I then thought, did he let the bears kill him??? He survived for 13 years with them, so he probably knew what he was doing when he got into close contact with the bear that ended up killing him and his girlfriend.

Callie Walsh said...

Hi Jack! I really liked the question you asked Emily, and thought I might take a stab at it. I think that Herzog believed that humans do not decide they're own fate. That humans are not whole numbers but numerators, and as numerators humans are doomed by the denominator of hostility, chaos and murder.

I think that the director sympathises for Timothy,who I do think was trying to escape this denominator in our own society by becoming one with nature. However, his murder shows that the denominator exists in the wilderness as well.

I think that Herzog believes that this denominator is inescapable, and because of this might be questioning what is the better way to live. If we are all doomed, should we pretend the denominator doesn't exist, run from it, hide from it until it eventually hunts us down? Or should we embrace it like Timothy Tredwell?

niko_k said...

I agree with you Josh, but for different reasons. Tim was a drug addict and an alcoholic. He pets the bear's excrement. He was mentally unstable, and probably did not realize what he was dealing with. It most likely never really sank in that these are carnivores and very lethal animals. I don't believe he really knew what he was dealing with, and nobody seemed to interject. His reality check was his death. He did not deserve to die because of his mental incompitence to comprehend the ability of these animals. He overestimated the bears compassion and paid the ultimate price

Noah Low said...

Although Timothy Treadwell was a passionate, funny, likable person, he inevitably got what he deserved. For me personally, it is too hard to look past the fact that he lived in "the most dangerous place on earth", as he put, for 13 summers. Living there for one summer can be considered observation based, even two summers can pass for scholarly, but 13 shatters the boundary of scientific, and becomes a lifestyle. He was never forced to go live with bears and foxes, he chose that destiny for himself. Considering that he lived this lifestyle by choice, I have no doubt in my mind that he deserved what he got. His passion for these animals may never be matched, but he lived an extreme lifestyle, and his luck ran out after 13 years. Although I wish this never happened to him, considering how interesting he was to learn about, he not only deserved, but chose his own fate.

Carolyn D. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carolyn D. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carolyn D. said...

Although I would side with people who say that Tim got what he had deserved instead of people like Shannon who says death should never be deserved I do not think the argument is so black and white. I think Tim didn't as much get what he deserved, as what he wanted. Just as Noah was saying, he put himself in the situation He quotes many times that it is out in the wilderness among the bears that he will die. His friends and coworkers all say that he told them many times that he wanted to die there. So I think he got what he wanted dying among his people (or animals shall I say.) Not that anyone wants death, but as much as it is possible to embrace your cause of death, I think Tim would have done it the most. He did deserve the way he died, but I feel like it may not have been in a bad sense rather then in a sense that Tim would've welcomed.

Alex Wyse said...

I agree with everyone who said that Tim got what he deserved, and I really like what Niko said about how he probably didnt realize what he was dealing with - he seemed to be in his own little idealistic world, and he kind of did create another world by completely distancing himself from other people. I mean yes he did acknowledge that it was dangerous, but if he really thought he would be killed, he wouldn't have gone. I'm not sure I've ever heard of someone that over-confident. In one of his final videos, Treadwell explains how nobody else could do what he does, which is partially true; he did have a unique ability. However, he forgot that he was still a human, and that we are not supposed to interact with bears.
For me it seems that by living with the bears he did more harm than good, and that by living with them he was actually disrespecting them greatly. I'm also amazed at how his girlfriend Amy would just agree to go on a trip like that. I think either Mr. Bolos or Mr. O'Connor said this in class, but it was her own choice to go on the trip, and therefore she got what she deserved. I'm surprised that so many people who cared greatly about Tim would let him do this. Yes, he's a grown man and can make his own decisions, but there's a limit! Also, as Niko was getting at earlier, I'm not so sure how mentally stable Tim was, and I'm sure his friends and relatives knew this, so why wouldn't they interject? they are also responsible for his death

Charlie B said...

I completely agree with you Alex W. I believe that because Tim Tredwell couldn't find any sense of community in society, he went to a community that couldn't deny him. He created a life in the wilderness with the bears. I think it was selfish of Timothy to do this beacuse he probably caused more of a disturbance to the wilderness rather than create harmony. The bears probably felt threaten by Timothys foreign presence. He said that his mission was to protect the bears from poachers and people trying to invade the bears home. I feel that he is hypocritical because he himself "invaded" their land and proclaimed him the leader of the bears.

I understand Timothy had some problems and he was a little crazy, and he needed a sense of community in his life. I feel bad that he died out there, but he died doing what he loved, and I think he always knew that this was the way he would die.

Madi M said...

Callie I think you bring up a great point and the question you posed really made me reconsider my point of view on Timmothy treadwell. And if what Herzog believes is true, and the denominator is truly inescapable then I believe that anyone should be etitled to live their life in whatever way they feel mst fulfills them. For Timmothy, although he may have not been living the life that the rest of society would accept as successful, or even a life that his own father would be proud of, he doesn't let that stop him from doing what he loves. He did not "deserve" to die exactly, although he did deserve to do what he had a passion for in life, and he knew what he was doing would most likely ultimately lead to death, yet he still put his whole heart and soul into his work. Although he wouldn't have chosen to die, he died in the way he wanted.

Madi M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.