2005: Grizzly Man. Werner Herzog’s tragicomic documentary about wildlife nut Timothy Treadwell, eaten in Alaska by the bears he loved, presaged in a freaky way the philosophical conflict that would erupt a couple of years later with the coming of the New Atheists. Treadwell was no punk (“If I show weakness, I’m dead!”), but he looked in the eyes of a bear and beheld a promise of cosmic fidelity. Straight-man Herzog, dourly Germanic, saw only “the cold indifference of nature.” Which side are you on?
The US is particularly miserable at putting aside money for the future. Should we blame our paychecks or our psychology?