September 19, 2007

Blog Stew with Hedysarum mackenzii

Men's Journal called it "The Cult of Chris McCandless", the 24-year-old who sought wilderness solitude in Alaska and died there. Jon Krakauer's book, Into the Wild, captured the mythic dimension of McCandless' last months.

And now . . . the Hollywood treatment, directed by Sean Penn.

Krakauer's first article for Outside magazine is here. Chip Brown wrote about McCandless for The New Yorker (abstract online).

Some environmental lit. professors want to screen the new movie in class alongside the TV show Northern Exposure.

¶ Charlie Russell, who hangs out with grizzly bears in Siberia, is cast by some writers as what Tim Treadwell should have been.

His new film Edge of Eden has been praised a lot. Russell and his wife, as I understand, rescued orphaned cubs from so-called zoos and raised them.

¶ Blogger Mary Scriver opined on an environmental email list, in regard to all this stuff about seeking a wilderness rite of passage:

You know, it's not uncommon in the Pacific Northwest for the highway workers who occasionally clean out the vigorous jungly blackberry tangles along the way to find the bodies and even skeletons of adventurous young men who were on the road. Sometimes their bikes are with them.


mdmnm said...

Krakauer's book was good, but the guy seemed pretty reckless and ill-prepared to me. That Men's Journal article you linked was good. I heard a radio interview with Penn the other day and he said something to the effect that McCandless had lived a full life and didn't die of starvation or being unable to find his way back out, but rather made the choice to die, fulfilled by his journey. I have a hard time with that. Of course, I haven't given up everything and walked off into Alaska with a bag of rice and a .22, either.

Chas S. Clifton said...

A lot of people seem concerned that the movie will cast McCandless into a more heroic mode than he deserved.

Indeed, he seems to be a more polarizing figure than Tim Treadwell was. Was he a prisoner of "wilderness" mythology? Was he self-indulgently fleeing a home situation that really was not so bad? Was he stupid for not exploring the area, because he could have gotten out if he had? Et cetera.

Anonymous said...

When I read Krakauer's original article on McCandless in Outside years ago my first impression was how stupid the boy was. I guess it's just the "be prepared" old Scout in me. I didn't bother with the book and won't be seeing the movie

Doesn't Krakauer still live in Boulder?

Chas S. Clifton said...

Reid, hasn't "everyone" lived in Boulder at some time? (Even me.) Don't know where Krakauer hangs his backpack these days.

Anonymous said...

Reid, hasn't "everyone" lived in Boulder at some time? (Even me.)

All of us Kool Kidz have anyway!

Dan said...

The question is whether you lived in Boulder before or after the Pearl Street Mall came into unfortunate existence. (Well, actually, I kinda like it.)

I saw Penn talking about the movie on Charlie Rose. Ebert, Roper, or whomever was replacing Ebert thought it was a brilliant movie. My guess it's that it's a brilliant movie for those who really don't have that much wilderness experience. What would be a great film for those who do know a bit about wilderness?