Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Did Steve Irwin Have It Coming? You Bet He Did

Now that a respectful amount of time has passed since Steve Irwin, the wildly popular Australian TV naturalist, was offed by a stringray, I can say that I thought he was a world-class asshole.

This view was sealed when he held his infant son in one arm while provoking a crocodile. (See photo.) Germaine Greer, herself an Aussie ex pat, shares my assessment in a Guardian commentary:
What Irwin never seemed to understand was that animals need space. The one lesson any conservationist must labour to drive home is that habitat loss is the principal cause of species loss. There was no habitat, no matter how fragile or finely balanced, that Irwin hesitated to barge into, trumpeting his wonder and amazement to the skies. There was not an animal he was not prepared to manhandle. . . .

The animal world has finally taken its revenge on Irwin, but probably not before a whole generation of kids in shorts seven sizes too small has learned to shout in the ears of animals with hearing 10 times more acute than theirs, determined to become millionaire animal-loving zoo-owners in their turn.

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