Monday, September 04, 2006

Steve Irwin We Hardly Knew Ye

Devastating news - yet another true life hero has been struck down in his prime, adding his name to the list of such dead luminaries as Bill Hicks, Hunter Thompson, James Belushi and John Candy. Yes, today in the cruelest twist of fate imaginable by a morally decrepit butcher of a God, Steve Irwin, TV's the Crocodile Hunter has been savagely murdered by a Stingray in the a diving accident in Queensland's Great Barrier Reef. The stingray, whose identity cannot be disclosed for legal reasons was arrested by Queensland police and taken into custody.

Several Australian cities now lie in ruin after riots broke out shortly after his death was announced this morning. And who can blame them? We have surely lost a Herculean figure. Irwin was always a larger than life character, and through his TV series and movies brought us closer to many exotic breeds of creature. Dubbed "The man without fear" Steve had no qualms about getting up close and personal with the animals he studied. In fact, it landed him in trouble sometimes - in addition to the myriad bites, stings, gauges and chomps he received, he was also wildly criticised for feeding a rampant croc while holding his strangely sedate baby son and slammed by animal rights groups for getting too close to penguins and rare whales. Nevertheless the main selling point of his show was the way he pushed, prodded & cajoled creatures to lure them into some kind of camera activity. Indeed, the image of Irwin jabbing a venomous snake with a stick and saying "He's REALLY aggravated now" was possibly enough to women sigh and grown men sob piteously for their lack of manhood. But there was a sort of almost lackadaisical innocence about him that really appealed to people - he was almost like the natural progression from a child poking worms with a stick, full of curious delight for the world around him and its treasures.

Steve was a truly decent man, and his loss is a grave one. This is a sad case of the heaven's injustice. Why God, why? Why take Steve of all people? What did he ever do? Why take an entertainer like Steve when Jim Davidson is still alive? One day perhaps I will understand why. It is better for us to never forget him, remember him as he was, a hi-octane blend of Indiana Jones and Rolf Harris that couldn't but hold mass appeal. A thatch-haired, iron-nutted, khaki-wearing legend wrestling rolling crocs with a cheeky grin on his face and poking hairy tarantulas with sticks for the power of education and, of course, our entertainment. May flights of angels wing thee to thy rest! He is survived by his wife Terri and two children.

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