Created: Thursday, 26 October 2006 Written by Chato
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Was the sting-fucking-ray sent by God
to avenge the suffering of crocodiles?
This excerpt is food for bloody thought.

Crocodiles 0, stingrays 1

Robert Kirby: LOOSE CANNON

17 September 2006 11:59

The level at which Australian "Wildlife
Warrior" Steve Irwin appealed was epitomised
by a blog from some sweet soul responding to
a trenchant United Kingdom Guardian article
in which Germaine Greer criticised the
self-delusion of Irwin and his kind. One
fine Australian commented: "What else can
you expect from a woman who's never had a
cock in her." What clearer glimpse of the
television viewer echelon where Irwin
enjoyed his most ardent support? The
headline above, which has been circulating
on the net, reveals, however, that not
everyone's been conned. I can't say that
Irwin's passing inspires even the most
transient distress. Rather it is a sense of
relief that yet another exploitative human
parasite has left us. And a parasite Irwin
was. With his blustering invasions of the
natural world, he personified slum-grade
television. The Australian Prime Minister,
John Howard, called Irwin a great
conservationist. That comment is as
ridiculous as saying lion-tamers in
circuses, who make their tigers and lions
sit on gaudily painted barrels, walk
tightropes and jump through flaming hoops,
are contributing something positive to the
natural environment and our understanding of
it. Or was Howard doing a bit of payback for
Irwin having called him "the greatest leader
the world has ever seen"? Steve Irwin was of
the lion-tamer breed. No animal he dealt
with was ever allowed its own terms. There
was no observation, not the slightest
attempt at understanding how wild creatures
assimilate, how intrinsic the morality of
the natural edifice. Instead of the respect,
the knowledge and the sheer wonder of a
David Attenborough, magnificent snakes had
the Irwin buffoon hanging on to their tails,
yapping at the camera in another show of
cheap bravado, dangling dead chickens in
front of crocodiles sick and distressed from
their confinement in the slimy green ponds
of the Irwin zoo. Make no bones about it,
Irwin made a shithouse full of money out of
his violations. He recognised that there was
endless profit in the world of the so-called
nature "documentaries" that punt the
wilderness as a place of mortal danger. Look
across the satellite TV menus and see the
brand of television ordure Irwin exploited
to such effect: The World's Deadliest
Insects, Wilderness Warfare; Killer Crocs;
The Terror of Sharks; Dangerous Snake
Encounters. Steve Irwin's contributions were
the wildlife equivalent of the Jerry
Springer Show. To call him a conservationist
is like calling Springer a marriage
counsellor.When Irwin was killed he was
filming a new series called, predictably,
The Ocean's Deadliest. He'd taken time off
to get a few extra shots for his
eight-year-old daughter's upcoming TV
series. If he wasn't offering up his toddler
baby as crocodile bait, Steve was making
sure his children would cash in.I remember
feeling a similar sense of gratification
some years ago when hearing about another
stroke of natural reciprocity. The dedicated
Okavango crocodile hunter of the Fifties and
Sixties, Bobby Wilmot, proudly and loudly
responsible for shooting legions of these
animals, got his come-uppance from the world
of reptiles in the form of a black mamba
bite that killed him. More than poetic
justice. Until such time as they show the
still suppressed footage of Irwin's
so-called guileless encounter with the
stingray, there will always remain the
visions of him torturing and stressing some
animal for his cameras. More than likely he
was sticking his finger in the stingray's