Timothy Treadwell is a mentally ill icon <3 (The Torchure)

J Engels

Staff Writer

jengels@umassd.edu

There’s some celebrities I hear about and I wonder, what’s the big deal? Why is everyone so obsessed with this average looking goon? More often than not, to me, celebrity worship feels like a pointless waste of life.

 But there’s one celebrity I’ll make an exception for, one man whose reputation truly lives up to the hype: golden haired,  cherub faced bear enthusiast Timothy Treadwell.

You probably know Timothy Treadwell from his mauling, which was infamously recorded on his video camera. The public has had a field day with it, saying awful, totally unfounded things about Treadwell. It’s been claimed that Treadwell was responsible not only for his own untimely death, but the death of his girlfriend. National park services and bear behavioral scientists alike have labeled Treadwell a menace and public safety hazard for sneaking into parks to interact with bears in a way that put himself, the bears, and potentially park visitors at risk. Treadwell’s haters have been relentless, vilifiying In the comments section of every article written about him or youtube video. 

But I’m here to set the record straight about this tortured man. 

Anyone who watches the documentary Grizzly Man- which chronicles Timothy Treadwell’s many adventures running wild with bears despite being completely uneducated about their behavior or how to interact with them- will be able to plainly see that Timothy Treadwell was no villain but in fact a soldier, civilian, martyr , and victim. Treadwell, who delivered such unhinged speeches as “Let’s have some water, Jesus man, let’s have some water- Christ boy (https://youtu.be/qJ6WBDDXjmw)” or the even more iconic “Animals rule, Timothy conquered” (https://youtu.be/gDQkLF1Vd3o) speech, is a portrait of a mentally ill man clearly in need of some therapy.  So what if Timothy Treadwell dragged his girlfriend along with him into an unsafe situation, so what if a bear had to be euthanized because of his recklessness? Treadwell has his demons, like all of us, and it’s ableist to hold him accountable for his own actions.

To drag such a free spirited man through the dirt is attack the resilience of the mentally ill community. No matter how many haters try to tarnish his memory, to those of us who have suffered mental illness he will always be an icon. To us, he is more than just a foolish man who was killed by a bear; to us, he is a free spirited soul who passionately defended the cause he believed in. He had the guts to call out National Park services when very few would; and, like Jesus, they hated him because he told the truth. 

Say what you will about Timothy Treadwell; throw your stones if it will make you feel like a bigger man.  But to this mentally ill queer, he will always be a hero.

(This article was created for The Torchure Week 2021, this article is purely a work of satire as it is the April Fools edition)

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