Well, the death of Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin has generated hysterical mourning at a level not seen since Princess Diana had her last car drive. This idea of getting really worked up over the death of someone you don’t actually know has always made me a bit queasy. Irwin was a very interesting bloke who did some amazing work both in entertainment and conservation, and his death was unfortunate and undeserved. It was arguably only a matter of time until his rather dangerous lifestyle caught up with him but it’s still a bummer that it happened.
Then Germaine Greer decided to lob a hand grenade into the worldwide crowd of mourners with a newspaper column where she said among other things: “The animal world has finally taken its revenge on Irwin.” She honestly didn’t say anything too outrageous in the piece but her timing sucked – to me it smacked of someone who is either utterly insensitive to the moods of others or someone who is so desperate for attention they do something that they know will generate a tsunami of negative attention for them (negative attention is better than no attention for some people). Germaine being Germaine, she gladly went on a high-rating tabloid “current affairs” TV show defending her view which guaranteed her nationwide vilification.
A day or so later, Jack Marx put an insightful piece on his blog completely skewering the hypocrisy of the situation. Longer term readers may remember Marx as the writer who Russel Crowe attempted to recruit as his “inside man” – his mole in the world of journalism who would write positive stories about Rusty, particularly about his (shudder) music. A job which I’m still open for, by the way Rusty. Call me! The relationship did not work out well for either of them although Marx got an interesting, if self-serving, article out of it. One thing Mr Marx is not scared of is pissing people off.
And I’d just like to round this off with the one piece of this whole circus that made me really angry. Irwin’s producer held a press conference to give the details of what had happened. In his statement he uttered one of the most egregious misuses of the term “ironically” it has been my misfortune to hear (another topic regular readers will know is important to me). He said (I’m paraphrasing because I can’t find a transcript) that Irwin was filming for a show that would have been called something like “Ocean’s Deadliest Creatures” when he was killed, “ironically”.
NO!!! Being killed while filming World’s Deadliest Anything is not ironic! The title is bloody accurate! It’s apt! The one thing it isn’t is ironic! It would be ironic if he was filming a show called “World’s Cuddliest and Friendliest Animals” and some cute fluffy bunny tore his throat out. This is the real smear on Steve Irwin’s legacy, not anything Germaine Greer said. I swear, anyone who says to me “isn’t it ironic how Steve Irwin died” is headed straight for intensive care.