The good news, Gentle Reader, is that Steve Bloody Irwin is still dead. The bad news is that his gimlet-eyed, troll-headed and puppet-like daughter Bindi is not, and shows no sign of dying in the near future. The equally bad news is that the pseudo-canonisation of this gibbering buffoon gives no indication of ever intersecting with reality.
Irwin died in a slow news week, so the Australian media was not distracted from its insane, inane and seemingly endless “memorials” to this clueless animal-bothering bogan by any actual events of genuine significance. Sure, several hundred people died in car bombings and assassinations in Iraq, but no-one was very interested in that and only SBS bothered to show the usual footage of wailing women and dazed and bloodied survivors sitting in streets strewn with car wreckage and gobbets of human flesh. Australian author Colin Thiele – someone with actual talent and brains - died the same day, but that news was swamped in the same way the idiotic tsunami of grief that followed the death of Princess Diana swept away the death of Mother Teresa.
The Aussie media was also not distracted by the fact that, in the past, its main coverage of Steve Irwin consisted of talking about what a complete clown he was. Because let’s face facts – Irwin was a goggle-eyed, gibbering galah whose main talent was his ability to market himself as a “genuine Aussie adventurer” to the more clueless end of the American consumer demographic.
This isn’t exactly a great achievement, since this is the same demographic to which you can market things as stupid as a “Decorate and Eat Marshmallow Egg Kit”, which includes pens with edible ink so you can write messages to yourself on marshmallow eggs before eating them. This is also the demographic that was the only population on Earth that actually really bought that story about Saddam Hussein and WMDs. So getting them to believe that a suburban guy running his parents’ two bit reptile park was a cross between Crocodile Dundee (minus the wry humour) and David Attenborough (minus the intelligence and beautiful voice) wasn’t really that hard.
Irwin’s first notices in the Australian news media consisted of stories saying “Look at this goose – the Yanks are actually taking him seriously and watching his show” and then moved to “Well bugger me, that annoying drongo Steve Irwin is actually getting rich from his goofy ‘Oim an Aussie!” schtick”. Then came the moment he almost fed his baby son to a croc, his molestation of innocent animals in Antarctica and his merry acceptance of $175,000 worth of taxpayers cash for some Federal Government-sponsored TV commercials, after which he glowing described our loathsome rodent of a Prime Minister as "greatest leader in the world" – possibly his only funny line.
The brief flurry of controversy over that cosy deal (followed as it was by an audience with Emperor George Bush at the PM’s residence when the Chimp-in-Chief scourged us with his Imperial presence) led to Irwin blinking and gibbering on Channel Nine’s Today Show, assuring us that he was supremely apolitical and just a humble “environmentalist”. But when the interviewer suggested that this might mean he could be inclined toward a real environmentalist – Greens senator Dr Bob Brown – the bogan made scoffing noises as though this was a ridiculous notion and said “Well, I don’t think much of Bob Brown.”
Which kind of makes his elevation to the status of “environmentalist” post mortem rather bizarre. Here is a guy who declares that an environmental vandal like John Howard is "greatest leader in the world", but who “doesn’t think much” of the guy who led the successful campaign to save the Franklin River and preserve the pristine wilderness of South-West Tasmania. How does this kind of clueless dickhead get dubbed an “environmentalist”?
But perhaps I’m being too harsh – after all, Irwin did manage to teach the kiddies a very valuable lesson about evolution. His death was a pure demonstration of “natural selection” in action: an idiot who consistently bothers dangerous animals is going to be removed from the gene pool eventually. Unfortunately this happened after the stupid prawn had spawned progeny. And now the media keep wheeling out the loathesome Bindi-muppet to afflict us. God help us all …
PS Why bother writing a post slagging this goofball seven months after he died? Well, I may be a bastard and I may not hold with any superstitious nonsense about not speaking ill of the dead, but I'm enough of a good bloke to let the dirt settle on his grave a bit before sinking the boot. And besides, Irwin shat me to tears.