29-year-old Claire Jane Ackermann was a big fan of Jon Krakauer's bestselling book Into the Wild, about a young man named Chris McCandless who went to Alaska to live on his own in the wilderness and then almost immediately died.

Ackermann wanted to find the abandoned bus where McCandless spent his last days, so she traveled to Alaska from Switzerland. On her way to find the bus, she fell into the Teklanika River, got caught in the currents, and died. You can read more about it here.

I don't blame Krakauer's book for this; Krakauer, I think, had a good sense of McCandless's inexperience and lack of self-awareness. But the Sean Penn film adaptation of the book is irresponsible and stupid; Penn turns McCandless into a great American Saint who bucks the system and sticks it to the man before coming to an unfortunate end that was not his fault.

Penn completely missed the subtle message of the book—Krakauer never mocked McCandless, but he makes damn sure that the reader understands that he basically killed himself. Penn glorified McCandless, Hollywooded his story up, and turned it into something glamorous, something that young people around the world would want to emulate. Sean Penn made McCandless's story into an incomplete hero's journey, something that impressionable viewers would want to finish on the young hero's behalf. Stupid fucking Sean Penn.

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