Catholic commentary on culture, media, and politics.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

"Crikey" guy finally gets his wish

TV's Crocodile Hunter, the late Steve Irwin once insisted, "My number one rule is to keep that camera rolling. Even if it's shaky or slightly out of focus, I don't give a rip. Even if a big old alligator is chewing me up I want to go down and go, 'Crikey!' just before I die. That would be the ultimate for me."


I say that with full sympathy for his widow and their two kids who must now deal with a dad-free life. It reminds me of insane base jumpers whose chutes don't open and they self-splatter on the rocks below. The media then lionizes them as brave pioneers of...what?

Is anyone else bothered by the death-wish lifestyle Mr. Irwin embraced, which led to his death? He regularly did very stupid things around, and in the face of, very dangerous animals. All for the fame that comes with faux heroism paraded before a voyeuristic TV audience, namely us.


Anonymous Jon Hansen said...

You know for being a "Catholic" Blogger you show don't show much respect for this mans life or family. ...with full sympathy!?!? I'm sure if the family read this they would just feel the sympathy oozing out of it.... The man had a true passion for what he did and he did it well. The only thing "Pathetic" about this post is the person writing it.

2:42 AM

Anonymous justine said...

Whoa, now. Patrick may be a lot of things, but he's not pathetic. (I think your line here, Pat, is "Who you calling scruffy looking?")

The vocation of fatherhood is a pretty serious one, and career decisions need to be made accordingly, so I don't think it's an inappropriate question to raise.

That'll be 25 bucks like we agreed, Patrick.

6:19 AM

Blogger Patrick said...

Jon, unlike you who directly calls me pathetic, I was criticizing the fame-at-all-costs attitude expressed by Steve Irwin himself. I thought my further explanation made that clear. That quote from him -- the cavalier attitude about his own life, the "get the money shot even if I die" sentiment" -- sums it up better than I could. The best word
for such a craving for attention and fame, when one has young children and a wife, is pathetic, ie worthy of pathos and censure.

I just watched a bunch of clips of Mr. Irwin on TV: taunting a huge alligator, and almost losing a leg; holding his one-year-old son as he provokes another alligator with a chunk of meat (a outrageous stunt that he defended vehemently); getting his face inches from a deadly (and angry) cobra; etc etc.

For what?

For the wafer-thin immortality of fame. True passion for what he did? Don't make me laugh. I also watched an interview Jim Hanna, a man who's been (responsibly) handling wild animals when Steve Irwin was in diapers. He came very close to saying Irwin brought the sting ray episode on himself. One eye witness said he crowd the ray and it panicked. Gee, what a surprise.

Mr. Hanna didn't use the word idiot, but the sense was clear.

When a foolish daredevil dies, everyone jumps up and says stupid things like, "Well, he went doing what he loved." This is especially true when it's a media figure, who are always defended and lionized by the rest of the media. It's nonsense.

My duty as a "Catholic" blogger (your sneer quotes) is to call things by their right name. I think my take on the death of Steve Irwin expresses true sympathy for his widow and fatherless children. If you aren't angered by his childish need to crow, "Crikey" as he dies on camera, you should be more shy to throw around the word pathetic.

11:22 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

a predictable self righteous response

9:49 PM

Blogger Patrick said...

Some of you com boxers puzzle me. If we have a difference of opinion, why can't you just argue for your position? Instead it's name calling. I think Steve Irwin's needlessly early death was partly caused by a reckless attitude. That's my opinion, based on some hard facts about his prior on-camera behavior. This somehow makes *me* pathetic. And when I explain further what I mean by it, I'm predictably self-righteous.

For the record, Steve Irwin appeared to be a likeable mate: childlike and energetic. I'm not glad he's dead! I merely stand by what I said about the irresponsibility that contributed to his children now having no father.

11:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too wish that Steve Irwin had not taken so many risks, causing his premature death. Anyone hearing his child speak at the funeral could not doubt her love for him and that his absence will
touch her deeply. Life is sacred. I wish he had stayed around to live it with his wife and children. It is also disturbing that our voyerism encourages risky behavior. May Steve Irwin rest in peace, and may we remember the good things he did on earth.

9:22 AM


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