Saturday, January 14

Paul Martin: Grizzly Man

Timothy Treadwell (who didn't), was recently memorialized in a film by Werner Herzog and was finally eaten by Bears after pushing his luck communing with his sentimentalized, and idealized, four-legged friends in Alaska.

His dopey girlfriend was eaten too (not that they ever slept together much; a simple viewing of the film reveals Treadwell to be a potential ring boy at an Elton John wedding).

But, if there is a tribute to Treadwell, perhaps it should be the bear shit that so captivated him during one scene of the "Grizzly Man" documentary.

Perhaps a bronzed mound of bear excrement, replete with an extended arm holding a video camera, might be an appropriate memorial to Treadwell's self-destructive, ego-manic, nature narcissism.

So, what will the requiem be for our great political bear hunter Paul Martin?

After traipsing around in the wild thickets of Ottawa, old Paul certainly knows his Bear shit. And while his pending loss might lose him some steam -- without losing steamships -- it is time to ponder the relationship Paul has to history, and to the late Timothy Treadwell as an Icarus metaphor.

Paul's Grizzly bear was, of course, the late, great Jean Chretien.Scowling in the woods, his breath hot and fowl, boiling out of only one side of his Tory-biting jaw, "Old Side Mouth" (as the Park Rangers referred to Jean the Bear) waited patiently for Paul -- waiting to strike. And strike hard.

And Strike he has. For the bear-trap Paul's intrepid Park Rangers had set: Shawinigate, Gomery, and wait-times for Prime Ministers in waiting, ended up being, itself, a bear trap that our hapless hunter Paul had stepped into.

So, here we sit in Minority Land, trying to make sense of it all, with a sea of regrets and not enough Troops, Park Rangers, or Liberals in cities --and still the shadow of the great, brooding bear looms.

Jean Chretien, who fought and scraped his way to 3 bear-like majorities before his political hibernation and the discovery of his cache of golf balls and berries for his Quebec cub club, is still eating, though asleep.

Asleep, in Robert Frost-like repose. Fatter. Bigger now, digesting the carcass of his once-tormenting tracker, Paul.

Unlike the religiously underpinning Herman Mellville, whose White Whale ate Ahab's hubris and spite, there is no still water after the thrashing in this "Grizzly Man" story of Park Ranger Paul Martin.

The waters in the park are still churning -- churning in the belly of the beast.

Only now, there's a new Park Ranger in town. The Bear is no longer to be hunted. The bear is gone.

All that remains is the mound. Shall we really bronze it?

Somewhere, out there, Timothy Treadwell understands.

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