On Saturday we went to see "Into The Wild." Directed by Sean Penn, this marvelous flick depicted the two-years-in-the wildnerness trek of Christopher McCandless. A poignant theme of self-discovery.
Story ends with Christopher (superbly played by Emile Hirsch) out of touch in the Alaska wilderness. His starvation and death was accelerated by his failure to compete with other beings for scarce food, and then eating poisonous berries that robbed his body of the capacity to absorb nutrition.
I know this isn't a film site. So let's cut to the chase of why I am writing this post.
Barely 24, Christopher died in 1992, alone and without any communications equipment. At that time cell was mostly tethered to automobiles, and according to what I remember, satellite phones were hugely expensive and most often used by the military, deep-pocketed oil and maybe a few well-endowed (if you came here via a search for that term in another context, heh, stick around you may learn somethin') scientific research missions.
OK let us fast-forward 15 years to 2007. A 24 year-old Christopher McCandless of the present would have experienced his formative years in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He would have come of age in a time of near-universal cellphone use, power GPS and even relatively inexpensive satellite phones.
It's easy to say that on the eve of his jaunt, a Christopher of the present-day might also have turned up his nose at all these ways to communicate and stay in touch.
Although that's a likely conclusion, I ask you to consider this. Would a Christopher McCandless who came of age in an era of ubiquitous personal communications technology- have been so acculturated to such enabling devices that he might have taken, say, a satellite phone with him to the wilds of Alaska? I mean just in case?
And when the maggots hit the moose and the poisonberries were the only culinary alternative, might a current-day Chris McCandless have swallowed his solitude-nurtured pride and called for help?