Saturday, September 16, 2006

Death of Steve Irwin

I want to say something (belatedly) about the death of Steve Irwin, naturalist and TV personality. I was very sorry when he died, much more affected than I expected. He always reminded me quite pleasantly of some of the outgoing young field zoologists I studied with at university. He was just a bit more extreme and dedicated, I suppose. I also liked his politics, which were fairly conservative. In a world where 95% of celebrities seem to identify with the Left, it was nice to find him an exception. Apropos of this, in a sense, was the way that he linked Australia and the United States in a friendly way. They are playing his movie tonight on TV, and it is a little gem of its kind.

When his death was announced, and what had killed him, I happened to have Dr Carl Edmonds' book, Dangerous Marine Creatures, out on loan from the public library. I was able to check the details on stingray barbs and venom. Dr Edmonds also appeared on TV the night of Steve Irwin's death, giving his expert opinion. His book is not bad, although there are some rather strange attempts at humour.

Most Australians don't live life like Steve Irwin, of course. But even citybound people in Australia occasionally come close to the nature that he loved. Both my studies and my job have taken me into some interesting Australian backwaters, and the Australia that Steve Irwin presented really is there.



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