A Reflection On Werner Herzog’s Philosophy And Career

A Reflection On Werner Herzog’s Philosophy And Career

To Werner Herzog, so many images in our daily lives are superficial and utilitarian, meant to serve a purpose rather than exist as a natural part of the world.

This Spring, I was honored to be able to attend a lecture held by legendary filmmaker Werner Herzog at Boise State University in April. For those unfamiliar with the name, Mr. Herzog is one of the most influential directors of cinema in the 21st century. He has spearheaded such ambitious film projects as “Grizzly Man” in 2005, documenting the life and death of bear enthusiast Timothy Treadwell, and 1979’s “Nosferatu The Vampyre,” a remake of the 1922 German horror classic.

Born in 1942, Herzog was an early leader of the German New Wave, the first major evolution in German cinema after the 2nd World War. With over 50 years of experience in the film industry as a director and screenwriter, Herzog has firmly established himself in the world of cinema both at home and abroad, captivating fans all over the world with his distinct expressionist style.

Herzog’s films often explore characters in psychological and physical situations, often in conflict with nature. I would like to reflect on one of Herzog’s most treasured philosophies, that being that filmmakers should strive to create images worth preserving for future generations. Besides the appreciation this philosophy can bring to our viewing experiences, I also believe it is one which is important to consider throughout all aspects of life.

To Werner Herzog, so many images in our daily lives are superficial and utilitarian, meant to serve a purpose rather than exist as a natural part of the world. This vision can easily be seen in films like Herzog’s "Grizzly Man," a personal favorite of mine from the early 2000s. The film pieces together footage captured by Timothy Treadwell, environmental and bear enthusiast, after his tragic death in 2003 caused by the bears he was studying. The documentary focuses heavily on Treadwell and his connection with nature, as well as his reasons for seeking to live among the grizzlies. It’s easy to see why Herzog would be intrigued by the life, work, and death of this enigmatic figure. Treadwell sought to preserve and educate the public about the beauty of the natural world and its connection to humanity.

Not only is the cinematography itself beautiful and worthy of preservation for future generations, but also the millennia-old message of mankind’s kinship and stewardship of nature is also one which will be relevant far into the future and captures a feeling which can be felt by all of humanity.

Another of Herzog’s most famous films (and the most recent one I’ve watched) is “Wrath of God.” The plot follows a 16th Spanish explorer leading a hopeless expedition in search of a city of gold. The story of a man caught in a hopeless struggle had been a significant facet of stories since the beginning of time, but Herzog still manages to inject his philosophy into the archetype.

Such a struggle against nature is a common theme in much of Herzog’s work. It also stands as a reminder of his courage in tackling the harshest and most heartbreaking elements of human nature. To Mr. Herzog, these scenes and stories are worthy of preservation and deserve to be seen by all of humanity as a reminder not only of our often-fragile nature but the similarities which bind each of us together throughout the ages.

Cover Image Credit: Erinc Salor at Flickr.com

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9 Reasons Crocs Are The Only Shoes You Need

Crocs have holes so your swag can breathe.

Do you have fond childhood objects that make you nostalgic just thinking about your favorite Barbie or sequenced purse? Well for me, its my navy Crocs. Those shoes put me through elementary school. I eventually wore them out so much that I had to say goodbye. I tried Airwalks and sandals, but nothing compared. Then on my senior trip in New York City, a four story Crocs store gleamed at me from across the street and I bought another pair of Navy Blue Crocs. The rest is history. I wear them every morning to the lake for practice and then throughout the day to help air out my soaking feet. I love my Crocs so much, that I was in shock when it became apparent to me that people don't feel the same. Here are nine reasons why you should just throw out all of your other shoes and settle on Crocs.

1. They are waterproof.

These bad boys can take on the wettest of water. Nobody is sure what they are made of, though. The debate is still out there on foam vs. rubber. You can wear these bad boys any place water may or may not be: to the lake for practice or to the club where all the thirsty boys are. But honestly who cares because they're buoyant and water proof. Raise the roof.

2. Your most reliable support system

There is a reason nurses and swimming instructors alike swear by Crocs. Comfort. Croc's clogs will make you feel like your are walking on a cloud of Laffy Taffy. They are wide enough that your toes are not squished, and the rubbery material forms perfectly around your foot. Added bonus: The holes let in a nice breeze while riding around on your Razor Scooter.

3. Insane durability

Have you ever been so angry you could throw a Croc 'cause same? Have you ever had a Croc bitten while wrestling a great white shark? Me too. Have you ever had your entire foot rolled like a fruit roll up but had your Crocs still intact? Also me. All I know is that Seal Team 6 may or may not have worn these shoes to find and kill Osama Bin Laden. Just sayin'.

4. Bling, bling, bling

Jibbitz, am I right?! These are basically they're own money in the industry of comfortable footwear. From Spongebob to Christmas to your favorite fossil, Jibbitz has it all. There's nothing more swag-tastic than pimped out crocs. Lady. Killer.

5. So many options

From the classic clog to fashionable sneakers, Crocs offer so many options that are just too good to pass up on. They have fur lined boots, wedges, sandals, loafers, Maryjane's, glow in the dark, Minion themed, and best of all, CAMO! Where did your feet go?!

6. Affordable

Crocs: $30

Feeling like a boss: Priceless

7. Two words: Adventure Straps

Because you know that when you move the strap from casual mode chillin' in the front to behind the heal, it's like using a shell on Mario Cart.

8. Crocs cares

Okay, but for real, Crocs is a great company because they have donated over 3 million pairs of crocs to people in need around the world. Move over Toms, the Croc is in the house.

9. Stylish AF

The boys will be coming for you like Steve Irwin.

Who cares what the haters say, right? Wear with pride, and go forth in style.

Cover Image Credit: Chicago Tribune

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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