This week in boredom prevention…
Now, this week must have been really boring because I decided to watch Sean Penn’s Into the Wild for the fiftieth time. Don’t get me wrong, it’s in my top five, if not my favourite. Not only is Emile Hirsch easy to watch, but Christopher McCandless is one of the most fascinating characters I have ever read about. For those of you who have yet to hear about Chris, this quote by him in May 1992 is illustrative of his spirit.
“Two years he walks the earth.
No phone, no pool, no pets, no cigarettes. Ultimate freedom. An extremist. An aesthetic voyager whose home is the road. Escaped from Atlanta. Thou shalt not return, cause “the West is the best.” And now after two rambling years comes the final and greatest adventure. The climactic battle to kill the false being within and victoriously conclude the spiritual pilgrimage. Ten days and nights of freight trains and hitchhiking bring him to the Great White North. No longer to be poisoned by civilization he flees, and walks alone upon the land to become lost in the wild.”
Chris’ story is something that I will only be able to gloss over in the length of this blog, but has been an obsession of mine since I was introduced to it. Christopher McCandless completed his bachelor's degree in history and anthropology at Emory University; a task that he felt to be extremely tedious and irrelevant. He then decided to make his way to the Alaskan outback, living off only the things he could carry on his back and destroying his identification. He idolized Jack London, Leo Tolstoy and Henry David Thoreau and could call upon their theories to suit any occasion. The people he met along his way speak of his intelligence and the impact he had on them. Changing his name to Alexander Supertramp he ventured into the wild as an act of his contempt for capitalistic society.
I could go on and on about Christopher and his adventures but I’ll let you read the book, or at least watch the movie (seriously, EMILE HIRSCH). I would also like to consider the argument of Chris as a hero or a moron.
I was introduced to Penn’s movie “Into the Wild” before I read Krauker’s novel “Into the Wild.” My initial reaction to the movie and McCandless was nothing short of an infatuation; the guy was my new hero. I turned to good old Wikipedia for further information and discovered that Chris wasn’t a hero in everyone’s eyes. He has been criticized as being an idiot with a death wish, a spoiled brat and even inconsiderate. I guess if you think about it going into the Alaskan wild with a 10lb bag of rice, a Remington semi-automatic rifle, a book of local plant life, several other books and some camping equipment isn’t necessarily the best plan for survival.
Despite the haters, I think the guy’s courage is something to be recognized. Although his path was unconventional and not something I wish to follow, his story is fascinating and worth your time. so, check it out!