Stephen Robert "Steve" Irwin (22 February 1962 - 4 September 2006. May he RIP.
September 3, 2006 9:33 PM   Subscribe

Steve Irwin, better known as The Crocodile Hunter, is dead after a sting-ray barb went through his chest. He is survived by his wife and two children and both he and his larger than life persona will be missed.
posted by Effigy2000 (469 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow! That is unbelievable, shocking and sad.

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posted by Beaufort at 9:39 PM on September 3, 2006


Crikey!

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posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:40 PM on September 3, 2006


And he didn't get killed by some stupid stunt with an croc. Who would have thought?
posted by bob sarabia at 9:40 PM on September 3, 2006


I'm going to go ahead and add that to my list of ways I don't want to die. Poor bastard. I remember him wrestling an inflatable crocodile on Holmes.
posted by Wataki at 9:40 PM on September 3, 2006


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posted by owhydididoit at 9:41 PM on September 3, 2006


Ugh. That's awful, but maybe it was just because I watched that Grizzly Man show the other day but it's not really surprising that he didn't die of natural causes... I guess out of all the stuff he risked his life doing at least it's a little bit comforting to his family that he didn't die in pain. Sad. He seemed like a nice guy. Crazy, but a nice guy.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:41 PM on September 3, 2006


blazecock beat me to it...

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posted by Kifer85 at 9:42 PM on September 3, 2006


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posted by dhammond at 9:42 PM on September 3, 2006


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posted by cerebus19 at 9:42 PM on September 3, 2006


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posted by Jerub at 9:43 PM on September 3, 2006


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posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:43 PM on September 3, 2006


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he lasted much longer than i would have thought, and wonder why he really thought tempting fate for fame was more important than his life.
posted by amberglow at 9:44 PM on September 3, 2006


I wonder if it truly was "a freak accident", as the article alludes, or if he was mildy tormenting the sting ray for better footage. Serious question, no disrespect intended, but he did have a reputation as an "extreme" naturalist who got up close & physical with the subjects of his documentaries, and the article does indicate that he was filming at the time. Still & all, horrible way to go, he will be missed.
posted by jonson at 9:45 PM on September 3, 2006


It is understood.
posted by shoepal at 9:45 PM on September 3, 2006


Wow, that's awful.

He's been a fixture, albeit a small one, of the cultural landscape. For example, I have never watched any of his programs, yet I'm find him familiar. I guess stunts and an accent go a long way in American pop culture.
posted by spaltavian at 9:46 PM on September 3, 2006


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posted by Rancid Badger at 9:47 PM on September 3, 2006


Don't do this at home or on tv either, I guess.

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posted by allen.spaulding at 9:47 PM on September 3, 2006


Something like this give me pause. How many among us are at a realistic risk of death doing what we do for a living? Very few of us, I assume.

My imagination is exhausted trying to imagine a press release announcing my unfortunate demise in a string bass related accident.

Though I am no stranger to dying on stage.
In leu of a "." I offer a >_,__,/
posted by sourwookie at 9:47 PM on September 3, 2006


...has anybody seen the Kratt brothers? Zabu? Anyone?

Damn this is sad. My 11 year old in particular is going to be broken up about this. Jeff Corwin is his favorite, but what budding naturalist doesn't have a place in their heart for Steve?
posted by Biblio at 9:48 PM on September 3, 2006


amberglow: I wonder why he really thought tempting fate for fame was more important than his life.

Maybe that wasn't it- perhaps he just really loved what he did. I don't get it, but then I don't get dancing either.
posted by spaltavian at 9:48 PM on September 3, 2006


The ABC News page posted the news and then, for what is the first time I can ever remember, the whole site went down. Not even September 11 made the ABC News website croak, but this did. It's a measure of how much the man is liked, I think. I'll wager money that a lot of people might have thought him a dickhead at times, but despite that they still would have had an underlying current of genuine admiration for who he was, which is a guy who was doing what he loved and didn't care what other people thought of him.

I'm at work and about to post a comment to MeFi which has, on occasion, seen me inadvertently post three times in a row because of issues with our server. I apologise in advance; I just needed to say this now before I get home.

Also, Matt or Jess, could you please remove the bracket I accidentally left in the title. And if I have posted three times, please delete all but one of this comment. Thanks.

posted by Effigy2000 at 9:49 PM on September 3, 2006


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posted by daninnj at 9:49 PM on September 3, 2006


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Crazy dude, but he made life interesting.
posted by pivotal at 9:49 PM on September 3, 2006


it's so weird that it only takes about five minutes after someone dies for their wikipedia page to go from 'is' to 'was'
posted by petsounds at 9:49 PM on September 3, 2006


While I'm sure a lot of people were thinking that it would be a crocodile, I'm certainly not surprised in the least that a sting ray would be responsible.

While I was never a big fan of him, he certainly did lift the profile of Australian wild life, some of which I (with some bias perhaps) believe is the most fascinating in the world.

Sure, he did some stupid shit like the baby thing, but what Aussie bloke hasn't done something regrettable? I'm sure he'll be sorely missed.
posted by Serial Killer Slumber Party at 9:49 PM on September 3, 2006


The same site now has a short article with more details.
posted by cerebus19 at 9:49 PM on September 3, 2006


<~~ [a stingray].
posted by rossination at 9:50 PM on September 3, 2006


<
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 9:53 PM on September 3, 2006


This is truly sad. I remember seeing him on Discovery HD and I never thought he would go out like this. I mean, I could understand being eaten by an animal but like this, it's unbelievable. Lord rest his soul. The only reason I'm alive is because I stay at home, and I don't do shit.

RIP
posted by sawthesign at 9:54 PM on September 3, 2006


Wow.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:56 PM on September 3, 2006


Wow. The man was the Marlin Perkins of his generation. Easy to make fun of, he introduced a whole generation of young people to nature. Godspeed.
posted by LarryC at 9:56 PM on September 3, 2006


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Crikey.
posted by Schlimmbesserung at 9:56 PM on September 3, 2006


"I bled a lot. I got hit across the face. We couldn't film for seven days. I got hit, whacked, underwater, across the face. I finished the shot, got into the boat and blood started coming out."

"But I put my life on the line to save animals. "

"Every cent we earn from Crocodile Hunter goes straight back into conservation. Every single cent."

"I have no fear of losing my life - if I have to save a koala or a crocodile or a kangaroo or a snake, mate, I will save it."

"I believe sustainable use is the greatest propaganda in wildlife conservation at the moment."

"Because when they strike it can be that quick that if they're within range, you're dead, you're dead in your tracks. And his head weighs more than my body so it's WHACK! "

"My field is with apex predators, hence your crocodiles, your snakes, your spiders....So, my tactic with conservation of apex predators is to get people excited and take them to where they live."

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posted by furtive at 9:57 PM on September 3, 2006


Oh boy. This is sad. Australia should be roped off.
posted by jimmythefish at 9:58 PM on September 3, 2006


I wonder if it truly was "a freak accident", as the article alludes

A stingray barb through the chest! Do you know how unlikely that is? Even if you were tormenting the thing--if you've ever been diving in the Carribean with stingrays, you'll understand how crazy this sounds. Stung in the foot, sure, that makes sense. But in the chest? That's a freak accident.

If the headline had been something like, "Steve Irwin killed in freak accident while suspended 2 ft. over a pit of cobras" I'd be more inclined to say, "What did you expect to happen!?" But after all he's been through and all the close calls he's had, this is such a random, haphazard way to die.

Hooroo you dumb bastard.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:58 PM on September 3, 2006


it is a rare thing indeed to be unique in today's world

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posted by lundman at 10:00 PM on September 3, 2006 [1 favorite]


Kids all over the world are going to be heartbroken about this, but not nearly as much as Bindi and Bob. Poor little things.
posted by jrossi4r at 10:01 PM on September 3, 2006


Oh my God. I heard about this through a friend and thought it was an urban legend. Oh goodness.

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posted by divabat at 10:01 PM on September 3, 2006


this story is weird as hell, I mean a stingray barb, are you serious? LET ME TYPE IT AGAIN.... a stingray barb?
posted by sawthesign at 10:04 PM on September 3, 2006


Apparently the stingray has a defensive reflex: The stingray is non-aggressive, but is capable of protecting itself. Treading on the dorsal surface by mistake or swimming too close above a ray can result in a reflex upward and forward swing of the tail. The injuries can be either a sword like lacerations or penetrating injuries with the serrated spine. Serious injury can either be from the physical trauma of a vital body part, from the venom of the spine or both. In the USA 1,500 stingray injuries are reported annually.
posted by Brian B. at 10:04 PM on September 3, 2006


Of all the things in Australia that can kill you. I'm still just stunned.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:05 PM on September 3, 2006


When I saw this, my first reaction was that it had to be a hoax, but... Geeze.

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posted by wanderingmind at 10:05 PM on September 3, 2006


It's just amazing that the guy was so well-known and well-liked that, within a half-hour of notice of his death posted late at night here on Metafilter, there are over 40 replies. RIP.
posted by MegoSteve at 10:06 PM on September 3, 2006


Sydney Morning Herald article.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:07 PM on September 3, 2006


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posted by number9dream at 10:08 PM on September 3, 2006


Funnily enough I first heard of Irwin via Mefi. He was originally much more popular/well known in the States before becoming big in Oz. I thought he was a bit of a wanker actually; albeit a harmless one, and he was surely a popularizing character for science/nature so I'm sorry he done got it in the end.
posted by peacay at 10:08 PM on September 3, 2006


i bet money he was holding it up and it whacked him. poor bastard. my thoughts are with his wife and kids. :(
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 10:09 PM on September 3, 2006


Accessible link here.

I suppose the positive way to look at this is to note that he was doing something he loved and helping to make the world a better place in a major way. The less optimistic view is that years of experience and celebrity made him foolhardy, and it caught up with him in a predictably bizzare, avoidable way.

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posted by gsteff at 10:10 PM on September 3, 2006


Police say he was stung through the heart by a stingray while diving off Port Douglas. from

Sweet Lord! At least it was quick....but still....
posted by MikeKD at 10:13 PM on September 3, 2006


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posted by greycap at 10:14 PM on September 3, 2006


He managed to combine being a popular public figure, a regular ozzie bloke and an enviromentalist. That's no mean feat.

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posted by spazzm at 10:17 PM on September 3, 2006


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posted by Felicity Rilke at 10:18 PM on September 3, 2006


double .
posted by NationalKato at 10:22 PM on September 3, 2006


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so I guess that means they got it on tape?
posted by Busithoth at 10:23 PM on September 3, 2006


But after all he's been through and all the close calls he's had, this is such a random, haphazard way to die.

That's exactly what I thought. Wow, what a shock. (Animal Planet just had an ad on for his show...oops...noice toiming mate, beauuuuuuutiful). I'll miss him.
posted by biscotti at 10:24 PM on September 3, 2006


When I saw the baby picture above, I assumed it was a doll. But he actually did dangle his one-month old son in front of a crocodile, prompting a new government regulation specifically prohibiting children from entering crocodile enclosures.

Foolhardy.
posted by gsteff at 10:24 PM on September 3, 2006


I feel like I lost a crazy uncle or something. Sad day.
posted by sawthesign at 10:25 PM on September 3, 2006


It just seems so ridiculously unlikely. It is basically the only way to die from a stingray, and somehow it happens to a guy like this who is comfortable around large wild animals and used to dealing with them? It would not surprise me in the least to discover this is a hoax and/or misreported.
posted by nightchrome at 10:26 PM on September 3, 2006


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posted by Ostara at 10:26 PM on September 3, 2006


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posted by Jade Dragon at 10:26 PM on September 3, 2006


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posted by moonshine at 10:26 PM on September 3, 2006


i really enjoyed watching him speak about animals.


he seemed so utterly fearless, and yet at the same time respectful of the power of animals.

sad to see him go.


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posted by lazaruslong at 10:27 PM on September 3, 2006


He died doing what he loved: being skewered through the chest with a venomous stinger.
posted by Citizen Premier at 10:27 PM on September 3, 2006 [4 favorites]


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posted by Paragon at 10:28 PM on September 3, 2006


gsteff:, that was a doll. There was no M.J.-esque "dangling" involved, just some questionable enthusiasm in getting his son into the line of work.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:29 PM on September 3, 2006


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posted by JWright at 10:30 PM on September 3, 2006


To quote my mom, "at least he died with his boots on, better a stingray barb than a car accident"

And did y'all see the awful ad for life insurance beside the CNN headline?
posted by zarah at 10:30 PM on September 3, 2006


bound to happen eventually, considering the way his shows usually went... "let's see if this croc gets pissed when i poke him in the eye with a stick!"

but sad nonetheless. rip, steve.
posted by djenigma at 10:31 PM on September 3, 2006


I'd like to add my voice to the chorus saying, "stung through the chest by a stingray? WTF?"
posted by lekvar at 10:31 PM on September 3, 2006


I am in shock. I never really liked the guy, but I feel that Australia has lost one of it's most unique personalities.

RIP
posted by cholly at 10:32 PM on September 3, 2006


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posted by heeeraldo at 10:33 PM on September 3, 2006


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(and, in memory of the way Irwin always lived his life:)

!
posted by Inkslinger at 10:33 PM on September 3, 2006


Crikey, indeed.
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posted by Aster at 10:33 PM on September 3, 2006



Wow. The man was the Marlin Perkins Jim Fowler of his generation


Marlin knew to stay out of the trenches. I'm sure MoO had his ass insured five ways from Friday.
posted by sourwookie at 10:33 PM on September 3, 2006


I bet he was trying to stick his thumb up the stingray´s anus.
posted by cardoso at 10:34 PM on September 3, 2006


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posted by ab3 at 10:34 PM on September 3, 2006


Wow. Everyone who watched his show has made a joke about him going like this, but now that it's actually happened, it's shocking.
posted by painquale at 10:35 PM on September 3, 2006


gsteff:, that was a doll. There was no M.J.-esque "dangling" involved, just some questionable enthusiasm in getting his son into the line of work.

no, he did have his son in with him, and yes there was new workplace legislation enacted to cover it

However, the news footage/photos were taken at such an angle it looked much worse than it actually was, he was infact 3m+ away
posted by oliyoung at 10:36 PM on September 3, 2006


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crikey.
posted by wendell at 10:37 PM on September 3, 2006


I don't believe it.

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posted by bshort at 10:38 PM on September 3, 2006


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posted by pez_LPhiE at 10:41 PM on September 3, 2006


RIP and thanks for all those crazy entertaining antics.
posted by HTuttle at 10:42 PM on September 3, 2006


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posted by twiggy at 10:44 PM on September 3, 2006


This really confirms a particular ambition I've had for many years, which is simply to not to die in such a way as to burden anyone tasked with giving my eulogy with the problem of not saying how stupid was the method of my demise. I particularly don't want to die as a result of a tractor rollover. I don't want to die after being bitten by any venomous animal. I don't want to die getting the last 1,000 miles out of a set of Firestone tires.

I'm sorry for his family, but damn, this death is really, more than any other I can think of recently, deserving of a Darwin award. I'm sincerely sorry for his children and family, but damn, man, you failed to be the apex predator.
posted by paulsc at 10:44 PM on September 3, 2006



posted by Tenuki at 10:45 PM on September 3, 2006


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posted by JT at 10:48 PM on September 3, 2006


Thank you, Steve. Be good.

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posted by billyliberty at 10:50 PM on September 3, 2006


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posted by zardoz at 10:51 PM on September 3, 2006


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Man, that sucks.
posted by NewBornHippy at 10:51 PM on September 3, 2006


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posted by exlotuseater at 10:52 PM on September 3, 2006


>_,__,/
posted by Tennison Tarb at 10:55 PM on September 3, 2006


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posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:55 PM on September 3, 2006


He entertained many people, made a lot of people think about the world in which they lived. People round the world know his face, and even those who didn't like him have to respect his endeavors, if not his methods. He did, in his own small way, make a contribution to humanity, and saved a few other species along the way.

He died as he lived. He died doing what he loved to do. May we all be so lucky.

Shine on you crazy diamond.

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posted by ZachsMind at 10:58 PM on September 3, 2006


so sad.

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posted by Hat Maui at 10:59 PM on September 3, 2006


>_,__,/
posted by Tennison Tarb


dude, I was so there first--but good on'ya.
posted by sourwookie at 11:00 PM on September 3, 2006


What I loved about TCH was how he would approach a wild orangutan, or hold a spider in his hand, and softly reassure it, "You're all right, you're all right."

Inspiring man.
posted by MarkO at 11:01 PM on September 3, 2006


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posted by icanbreathe at 11:04 PM on September 3, 2006


"Danger danger danger! Crikey I'm in a bad position right now! This Komodo Dragon could very easily bite me with his HUGE TEETH and then I'd bleed out and DIE!"

Good rest to you, you crazy bastard. You did a man's job.
posted by solid-one-love at 11:06 PM on September 3, 2006


"My aim in this world is to make that brown snake, that crocodile, that koala, that red-backed spider, that black widow, look good. That's my job."

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posted by Foosnark at 11:08 PM on September 3, 2006


I too was hoping this was a hoax. But apparently not.

Irwin was the sort you sort you might roll your eyes about, but that you were secretly glad to have around. Some of his qualities weren't so easy for me to notice until I saw some of his imitators--particularly those two kids on the MTV animal show, for whom the interest in animals seems mostly a put-on.

He isn't replaceable and will be missed.
posted by washburn at 11:14 PM on September 3, 2006


I used to be annoyed by the way he talked, like he was talking to a child, but then accepted that he was just a big kid himself and most of his audience was smalls. See you on the other side guy.
posted by Iron Rat at 11:15 PM on September 3, 2006


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I guess his luck ran out.
posted by Artw at 11:17 PM on September 3, 2006


particularly those two kids on the MTV animal show, for whom the interest in animals seems mostly a put-on.

If you're talking about Wildboyz with steve-o and chris pontius, then yes, the animals are just a put-on. Seems kind of obvious.
posted by bob sarabia at 11:20 PM on September 3, 2006


Lifted from Fark of all places, but still poignant:

A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the
scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The
frog asks, "How do I know you won't sting me?" The scorpion
says, "Because if I do, I will die too."

The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream,
the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of
paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown,
but has just enough time to gasp "Why?"

Replies the scorpion: "It's my nature..."

posted by sourwookie at 11:23 PM on September 3, 2006 [2 favorites]


I dont know why these high risk types decide to start families. There are two kids who will no longer have a father because of his reckless attitude with wildlife. At least the grizzly man didnt have kids. Maybe Herzog will make a crazy documentary.

So long ya nut!


posted by damn dirty ape at 11:27 PM on September 3, 2006


Wow. What a way to go out.

It's interesting, just half a day before the Herald's obit of Irwin, they printed this extensive profile on him.
posted by Happydaz at 11:28 PM on September 3, 2006


I dont know why these high risk types decide to start families. There are two kids who will no longer have a father because of his reckless attitude with wildlife.

There seems to be some sort of logic step between those two sentences that I'm not getting. ?
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 11:29 PM on September 3, 2006


I was never a huge fan of his showmanship, but I respected his goals. And quite frankly, the man clanged when he walked.

I'll raise a beer to you, mate. You had a good run.
posted by illiad at 11:33 PM on September 3, 2006


I dont think he was ever very sane to begin with. Remember this from a little while ago? A croc, a baby, and a piece of chicken:


posted by damn dirty ape at 11:34 PM on September 3, 2006


Man, ABC news page is now 100% Steve Irwin.

Owing to extraordinary demand on the ABC News Online site some features have been removed in order to improve performance. Removing these features will ensure as many members of our audience as possible are able to access key information. Normal presentation will return as soon as current demand ceases.

Weird.
posted by Jimbob at 11:35 PM on September 3, 2006


Lifted from Fark of all places,

dude, Aesop was so there first--but good on'ya


thanks Steve!
posted by arialblack at 11:37 PM on September 3, 2006


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posted by wilky at 11:37 PM on September 3, 2006


sheesh, he seemed like an affable person. He wrested a lot out of life and had a passion that is rarely seen. Sometimes that makes people uncomfortable, but above all I admired what he did.
posted by edgeways at 11:37 PM on September 3, 2006


Goodbye Stevo
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posted by bdragon at 11:38 PM on September 3, 2006


>'_,__,/

His larger than life personality made it easy to parody him, but he was enthusiastic about conservation, his job and died doing something he loved. RIP, Steve.

On Preview:

Owing to extraordinary demand on the ABC News Online site some features have been removed in order to improve performance.

Woah. As noted upthread, I don't think that even happened on 9/11.
posted by kosher_jenny at 11:39 PM on September 3, 2006


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posted by coriolisdave at 11:39 PM on September 3, 2006


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posted by sueinnyc at 11:43 PM on September 3, 2006


That's a crabby sting ray!
posted by Clave at 11:45 PM on September 3, 2006


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posted by conch soup at 11:49 PM on September 3, 2006


addendum: That would be ABC news as in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, not the American Broadcasting Company, which I originally mistook Jimbob as referring to.
posted by kosher_jenny at 11:49 PM on September 3, 2006



posted by squalor at 11:51 PM on September 3, 2006 [1 favorite]


When I read the title, I thought it was a joke... Then, when I read that it was true, I got a shock that I didn't expect. Oh look at that! Isn't he gorgeous?

RIP Steve
posted by spacelux at 11:53 PM on September 3, 2006


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posted by Kiell at 11:54 PM on September 3, 2006


You know, I actually went to see "The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course" when it was in theatres. I think that I am the only person in California that remembers seeing that movie and actually paid the $10 to go see it in a movie theatre.

RIP, crazy dude!
posted by drstein at 11:58 PM on September 3, 2006


For those who haven't had enough, "This guy rules!" TCH once said that dying in your sleep is the best way to go. Anyone remember when Steve Irwin faced down a wild attacking Boscoe? Was the stingray a special delivery? Here's some footage pro & con about the Baby Bob debacle.
posted by ZachsMind at 12:05 AM on September 4, 2006


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posted by TheDonF at 12:24 AM on September 4, 2006


The Sidney Morning Herald reposted a feature that was done on him in 2002, called Crikey, it's raw Stevo!.

It's a blast to read. Here's a quote about when Steve and his wife met: "I thought, 'Crikey, a sheila who loves wildlife and can take a good hit on the head, that's the woman for me!'"

I haven't watched an episode in years. It's too bad I don't have Animal Planet, I'd love to watch the memorial marathon.
posted by Kattullus at 1:31 AM on September 4, 2006


Truly sad. His enthusiasm for life and his passion for his work was amazing, and infectious.
And as echoed throughout this thread -- a *stingray* -- WTF?
posted by davidmsc at 5:27 AM on September 4, 2006


aw man
that
just
sucks.

peace be with you, steve....
posted by stackmonster at 5:33 AM on September 4, 2006


Truly a one-off, freak-of-nature who had as much fire in his heart for what he did as anyone else. This is a great loss for nature lovers, and hell, even nature itself. Sort of comforting that he died in the line of duty, his family have a lot to be proud of.
posted by Acey at 5:34 AM on September 4, 2006


This is not the way I wanted to start my week.

I thought he was absolutely nuts but you had to love him.

I'm actually crying.

Condolences to his wife and family....
posted by konolia at 5:37 AM on September 4, 2006


i've never given this guy even a thought. his entire life flew under my radar horizon. i'm like, [shrug].

what does floor me is what catches the attention and provokes the emotions of the general public. unreal.
posted by quonsar at 5:40 AM on September 4, 2006


Good on you, Steve.
posted by Joeforking at 5:40 AM on September 4, 2006


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posted by cephalopodcast at 5:41 AM on September 4, 2006


I'm sorry for his family, but damn, this death is really, more than any other I can think of recently, deserving of a Darwin award.

He had two healthy children and he left them financially well off and in the hands of a healthy young mother who likely will do well for them. By setting an example that could get others eaten, he may even have killed some of his competition before they reproduced. Genetically, that's not a bad record. How can you earn a Darwin after you've been genetically successful?
posted by pracowity at 5:42 AM on September 4, 2006


So odd how people have reacted to this. A heart attack wouldn't have been as big of a deal. It's a combination of how crazy he was and how exotic his death was that makes this such a media event.
posted by mert at 5:42 AM on September 4, 2006


His face is 95% child
posted by mert at 5:43 AM on September 4, 2006


Crikey!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:43 AM on September 4, 2006


is it insensitive of me to just think "pfft, so he finally managed to get that darwin award" ? Seriously, this guy has been putting himself in stupid situations for like... forever. It's about time.

Feel free to berate me with insensitivity comments.

whatever.
posted by sunshinesky at 5:43 AM on September 4, 2006


During my days of retail, we used to play this stupid game called Desert Island in which you picked the five people you would want to be stranded on an island with. Steve Irwin was ALWAYS on my list. People mocked me, but I stand by my choice.


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posted by kimdog at 5:47 AM on September 4, 2006


Crikey!

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posted by tomcosgrave at 5:54 AM on September 4, 2006


Man, I'm sad. Steve seemed like such a great guy. Is dying by the sting of a ray's tale a way to go? I didn't even know that was possible. Dang.
posted by orchidthief at 5:55 AM on September 4, 2006


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posted by jwells at 5:55 AM on September 4, 2006


I knew this would be the top FPP i saw the moment I heard about this. Absolute legend.
posted by takeyourmedicine at 5:56 AM on September 4, 2006


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posted by BaxterG4 at 5:56 AM on September 4, 2006


At first I thought this was a joke, but sadly no. It's hard to imagine anyone with as much enthusiasm for their work.
posted by tommasz at 5:57 AM on September 4, 2006


Genetically, that's not a bad record. How can you earn a Darwin after you've been genetically successful?

Yeah, you can. The only way you can really beat it is to have some of your sperm frozen.
posted by delmoi at 6:01 AM on September 4, 2006


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posted by starman at 6:02 AM on September 4, 2006


Hopefully he won't just be remembered for the stupid stunts but as a great conservationist in Australia and around the world.
posted by knapah at 6:04 AM on September 4, 2006


This sucks. Some of the posts in this topic are absolutely terrible. Steve did a hell of a lot for conservation in Australia (and elsewhere), and anyone saying that he “got what was coming to him” and that he deserves “a Darwin award” needs to seriously stop and take a moment to evaluate themselves. Everything he did was for the causes he believed in, and any attempt to gain 'fame' was so that he could better shed light on the subjects that he cared about, and the subjects that he wanted other people to care about as well. Through his documentaries, TV appearances, and outright enthusiasm, he achieved that. To paraphrase what he said recently in an interview on Animal Planet: ‘I’m an educator, but not an ordinary educator. I don’t read to you out of a book, I take you there and show it to you as it happens”. He could have resigned himself to doing what he loves in private, caring for animals, running smalltime operations, but he chose to put himself in the spotlight and under the scrutiny of the media (who he rightly stood adamant against in instances which we are all aware of). He was a great person, he wasn’t ‘nuts’, he was simply brave, enthusiastic, and extremely knowledgeable about what he was doing.

R.I.P. Steve…
posted by heylight at 6:05 AM on September 4, 2006 [4 favorites]


Front page of the NY TImes.
posted by mert at 6:05 AM on September 4, 2006


.

So long, you crazy bastard. Thanks for being wierd. You made my life more rewarding and you never even knew I existed.
posted by mmahaffie at 6:08 AM on September 4, 2006


Bye Stevo.
posted by squealy at 6:11 AM on September 4, 2006


Yeah, you can. The only way you can really beat it is to have some of your sperm frozen.

Ironically, the only way to have your sperm frozen is to- right. Tragedy. Sorry.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:11 AM on September 4, 2006


I first heard this on Drudge last night around 10. Irwin was neat to watch, and his shows had action instead of bs fluff like most outdoors shows. What a drastic and rapid way to go; right through the chest.

That being said; deathfilter always seems a little loopy.
posted by buzzman at 6:12 AM on September 4, 2006


His talk of apex predators was many little kids' first introduction to ecology. Instead of fairytales about evil wolves, he taught that "scary animals" are beautiful and vital to the functioning of the world around them. What more could we want out of a television show?
posted by hydropsyche at 6:19 AM on September 4, 2006


.
posted by moonbird at 6:21 AM on September 4, 2006


Damn. You know what this means: You're now going to have to check your barbs when you fly.
posted by srboisvert at 6:22 AM on September 4, 2006


.

He was fantastic because he really loved animals.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:23 AM on September 4, 2006


I personally didn't like watching his shows, but he had a good heart and was a generous entertainer and conservationist. May he have a lasting legacy.
posted by mrmojoflying at 6:25 AM on September 4, 2006


.
posted by pieoverdone at 6:25 AM on September 4, 2006


.
posted by joegester at 6:26 AM on September 4, 2006




A Darwin Award? Jeez, you must not have been paying attention. He did everything with flair but he wasn't stupid. He educated kids, he lived life to the fullest and he was damned entertaining. Even when I got a little tired of "Crikey!" and the huge number of times his show would turn up on the tube each week, he was still a good guy. And by the way, yes, he got into trouble while holding his kid in one arm while feeding a croc, but he didn't dangle the kid the way Sicko Jacko did. Watch the tape. Too bad, Stevo. God speed.
And what does this mean? I'm feeling dense this morning:
>_,__,/
posted by etaoin at 6:28 AM on September 4, 2006


At least he lived long enough to have to have South Park parody his show. That is one of my favorite episodes. It is in no way surprising that he died while handling a wild animal, but that does not make it any less sad.

.
posted by SteveTheRed at 6:28 AM on September 4, 2006


And what does this mean? I'm feeling dense this morning:
>_,__,/


I think it's a crocodile looking left, mouth open.
posted by pracowity at 6:30 AM on September 4, 2006


Huh, according to wikipedia, it wasn't the sting that killed him but actually being stabbed through the heart with the stinger blade. Talk about unlucky.
posted by delmoi at 6:30 AM on September 4, 2006


And what does this mean? I'm feeling dense this morning:
>_,__,/
posted by etaoin


I wondered about that, too. It 's an alligator
posted by SteveTheRed at 6:30 AM on September 4, 2006


RIP

.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 6:31 AM on September 4, 2006


What heylight said.


.
posted by fire&wings at 6:32 AM on September 4, 2006



posted by thefreek at 6:33 AM on September 4, 2006


.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 6:37 AM on September 4, 2006



posted by 13twelve at 6:44 AM on September 4, 2006 [2 favorites]


.
posted by slimepuppy at 6:46 AM on September 4, 2006


I always enjoyed Steve's bold enthusiasm and love for his job as a naturalist. For all that people might claim he was crazy and irresponsible, I can rarely think of any situation where Steve failed to show a lack of respect for the animal he was dealing with. My condolences to Terri and his kids, the world has lost a little bit of its passion.
posted by Atreides at 6:48 AM on September 4, 2006


On one hand I'm shocked that he didn't pass on sooner. On the other I'm sort of surprised it wasn't a pair of crocs. I guess I should know better. There is no way he was going to be killed by crocs or many of the other land animals that he spends lots of time with. I guess it sort of makes sense that he is killed by an ocean creature that he has less experience with and which science probably knows less about. I guess that is probably what compelled him to go out into the ocean to promote study.
posted by Numenorian at 6:49 AM on September 4, 2006


.

He couldn't even get a shark.


(13tweleve shoots...and scores!)
posted by eriko at 7:00 AM on September 4, 2006


.
posted by davelog at 7:01 AM on September 4, 2006


As soon as I saw this story, I came straight here to the blue. 175 comments later, I am so relieved that I am not the only one heartbroken over this. This is why I love you people.

"it is a rare thing indeed to be unique in today's world"

.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:01 AM on September 4, 2006


blade through the heart, how else
was someone so brave to go?

thanks, steve.

.
posted by eustatic at 7:08 AM on September 4, 2006


<ParisParamus> maybe the crockadiles(sp?), perhaps via Aquaman, put a hit out on him...

He died doing what he loved, and it was painless. I always assumed the first part, but the second is a comforting surprise. He did an absolute ton for conservation especially in terms of awareness. He will be missed.

.
posted by Ryvar at 7:10 AM on September 4, 2006


Very sad. I'll never forget his "Worlds 10 Deadliest Snakes" show (episodes 1, 2 and 3 via YouTube).

Great stuff.
posted by batou_ at 7:10 AM on September 4, 2006


He was a modern gladiator, playing with death over and over for the pleasure of the audience.
posted by stbalbach at 7:15 AM on September 4, 2006 [1 favorite]


It seemed obvious that he'd get killed by an animal one day, but a stingray? Wtf? I'm sadder than I thought I'd be about this.
posted by Ruki at 7:17 AM on September 4, 2006


>_,__,/

No doubt, he was the adult representation of everything I thought and wanted to do with animals when I was a kid.

RIP, crazy animal man.
posted by rollbiz at 7:18 AM on September 4, 2006


The few shows I saw of Steve were always some of the best entertainment and education I've ever watched. I loved his brash Aussie personality and how much he loved animals.

His critics only have that one risky bit with his kid and claims he was disturbing some Antartic animals.

Steve was full of life, he was good for Australia, good for conservation and great entertainment.

We're all blessed to have shared some time with him.

I'm sorry he's gone.
posted by rmmcclay at 7:21 AM on September 4, 2006


To anyone who ever doubted his feelings about the animals he "worked" with...

A Fark user comments:
You know, I'm remembering one thing I saw on the show when this crocodile...I think it was one of the first he had rescued...died in the zoo. And he just got in the water and picked it up and started crying. I mean, he totally broke down. Everyone was just stunned, but it was at that moment that I saw just how strong his feelings were about these animals. Nevermind that the water he was standing in had other crocodiles in it.

Later in the narration, he said the other crocs seemed to sense something was wrong and stayed away.
[ video ]
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:22 AM on September 4, 2006 [3 favorites]


Man. I liked this guy, crikey and all.

STEEEEENGRAAAAAY JEEEEEENKIIIIINS
posted by cortex at 7:22 AM on September 4, 2006


|v
=*
|'
(That's supposed to be a koala)

I heard this on the radio this morning and I was still half asleep. In my hazy morning state, in place of "Steve Irwin has died in a stingray attack" I heard "Steve Irwin has gone missing in Iraq".
posted by randomination at 7:26 AM on September 4, 2006


The airwaves are full of blowhards who passionately hate something. It was a rare treat to see a man who passionately loved something.

I'm going to miss him.
posted by Jatayu das at 7:26 AM on September 4, 2006


.

This is sad and tragic. His TV show was one my kids were always excited about. We'll miss him, too.
posted by pretzel at 7:27 AM on September 4, 2006


From Interesting Times, by Terry Prachett. In this scene, Death is in his library to find out about dangerous creatures in Fourecks (the Discworld version of Australia)...
Death held out a hand. I WANT, he said, A BOOK ABOUT THE DANGEROUS CREATURES OF FOURECKS-

Albert looked up and dived for cover, receiving only mild bruising because he had the foresight to curl into a ball.

After a while Death, his voice a little muffled, said: ALBERT, I WOULD BE SO GREATEFUL IF YOU COULD GIVE ME A HAND HERE.

Albert scrambled up and pulled at some of the huge volumes, finally dislodging enough of them to allow his master to clamber free.

HMM... Death picked up a book at random and read the cover.

DANGEROUS MAMMALS, REPTILES, AMPHIBIANS, BIRDS, FISH, JELLYFISH, INSECTS, SPIDERS, CRUSTACEANS, GRASSES, TREES, MOSSES, AND LICHENS OF TERROR INCOGNITA, he read. His gaze moved down the spine. VOLUME 29C, he added. OH. PART THREE, I SEE.

He glanced up at the listening shelves. POSSIBLY IT WOULD BE SIMPLER IF I ASKED FOR A LIST OF THE HARMLESS CREATURES OF THE AFORESAID CONTINENT?

They waited.

IT WOULD APPEAR THAT-

'No, wait, master. Here it comes.'

Albert pointed to something white zigzagging lazily through the air. Finally Death reached up and caught the single sheet of paper.

He read it carefully and then turned it over briefly just in case anything was written on the other side.

'May I?' said Albert. Death handed him the paper.

"Some of the sheep," Albert read aloud.
.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:39 AM on September 4, 2006


Still hoping for elaborate hoax.
posted by notreally at 7:43 AM on September 4, 2006


Is dying by the sting of a ray's tale a way to go?

'tis a powerful narrative they weave.
posted by quonsar at 7:45 AM on September 4, 2006


I had a snarky comment, but after reading this all, I guess I'll just leave it at

.
posted by SirOmega at 7:47 AM on September 4, 2006


.
posted by procrastination at 7:50 AM on September 4, 2006


- Esteban was bitten?
- Eaten!
- Is he dead?
- Esteban was eaten!
- He was swallowed whole?
- No! Chewed!
posted by ColdChef at 7:51 AM on September 4, 2006


Oh, man. It's not a *surprise* exactly, but as everyone has said, at least he died doing what he loved. I used to watch his show obsessively; for all the annoying catchphrases, he so clearly loved everything he ever did.

.
posted by kalimac at 7:55 AM on September 4, 2006


.
posted by about_time at 7:55 AM on September 4, 2006


I'm sorry for his family, but damn, this death is really, more than any other I can think of recently, deserving of a Darwin award.

"A Darwin Award is a tongue-in-cheek honor given to people who inadvertently improve the human gene pool by removing themselves from it following an episode of questionable judgment." (wikipedia)

This doesn't meet that criteria in the least. It sounds like a freak thing. If Irwin was saying "Now watch as I put this stingray barb through my heart!" then I'd agree.

What a sad end. If it weren't for him, I wonder if all the animal cable channels would even be in business in this country.
posted by dw at 7:58 AM on September 4, 2006


The first few times I saw his show I thought "this guy is going to killed by an animal one of these days", but after a while that never even entered my mind. He started to seem almost invincible.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:58 AM on September 4, 2006


.
posted by BeerGrin at 8:01 AM on September 4, 2006


For those implying that he was doing something stupid when he died: this is only the second or third stingray-related death in Australian history. Really a freak accident.
posted by rafter at 8:02 AM on September 4, 2006


.

RIP Steve, I may not have agreed with your ways, but your love for life sure shone through. Good hunting on the eternal crocodile hunting grounds.
posted by Zombie Dreams at 8:02 AM on September 4, 2006


He was full of everything anyone should be: feeling, kindness and passion. The video Civil_Disobedient posted just proves it.

.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 8:03 AM on September 4, 2006


So easy in this day and age for random wankers on the intarweb to completely disrespect someone for whom a single second of his life amounted to more than the entirety of their own.
posted by nightchrome at 8:04 AM on September 4, 2006


.
posted by MythMaker at 8:12 AM on September 4, 2006


I was never a fervent watcher of his programs, but his enthusiasm for education and conservation are to be commended, as well as his refusal to anthropomorphize or cutesey up the natural world.

To say he's worthy of a Darwin award or in the same boat as the Jackass crew really misses the point.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:13 AM on September 4, 2006


The crocs will miss ye.
posted by netbros at 8:15 AM on September 4, 2006


Steve Irwin followed his bliss right into Legend. His genuine joy came through on every episode of his show. Sure, he may have hammed it up. Sure, he took a million reckless risks and the habit eventually caught up to him.

But the man lived like he meant it. Who can say they saw his sense of purpose waver? When he spoke of his passion for conservation, of the mission that had chosen him, it was plain that his heart did not know the corruption of doubt.

Those rushing to be the snarkiest belle at the ball would do well to examine their own lives, their own ambitions. How many of your hopes and dreams are still folded up and uncolored? Steve Irwin became a mythic figure in 44 years. He stomps now through the wilds of Elysium, tracking game greater than any he knew on this mortal coil.

"Crikey, look at the size of that Chimera! What a little beauty!"
posted by EatTheWeak at 8:16 AM on September 4, 2006 [9 favorites]


Seemed like a good egg and gleefully indestructible. I now officially hate stingrays.

.
posted by Skygazer at 8:17 AM on September 4, 2006


Steve Irwin was the first person I thought of reading Astro Zombie's blue-ringed octopus post yesterday. I was reading that they're indigineous to Australia and the admonitions against having one of these exceptionally dangerous things in your home fishtank, and I thought "I'll bet Steve Irwin has a half dozen or so as pets, he probably feeds them by hand."

RIP Crocodile Hunter. There will never be another quite like you.
posted by edverb at 8:19 AM on September 4, 2006


I was feeling a little misty reading this thread, but the story of Steve crying over the dead crocodile finally got me. And I never even watched a full episode of his show.

This world is short of larger than life eccentrics, and even shorter of those who actually do some good. Today that small number has been reduced by one. Damn.
posted by rosemere at 8:21 AM on September 4, 2006


.
posted by hifiparasol at 8:26 AM on September 4, 2006


I loved his shows. Felt like his hyper-little-monkey act was the only way he knew to show how much he loved those animals.

He made me love them, too.

RIP, Steve-O.
posted by cmyk at 8:26 AM on September 4, 2006


He was a great big lovable goofball, I'm sorry he's gone.
posted by fenriq at 8:29 AM on September 4, 2006


.
posted by Vindaloo at 8:33 AM on September 4, 2006


I now officially hate stingrays.

Yes. I hope the Australian authorities have the stingray in custody.
posted by horsewithnoname at 8:33 AM on September 4, 2006


.
posted by horsewithnoname at 8:41 AM on September 4, 2006


I for one found his death by animal attack to be really shocking and surprising. I mean, it feels like a movie -- for him to die in an animal attack is so obvious and stereotypical that it makes more sense as a lame plot device or as a lazily-written script than it does as messy, incoherent real life.

Dying in a car crash somewhere in [wildnerness] while filming wouldn't have surprised me. Catching an infectious disease while filming wouldn't have surprised me. But actually being killed by a wild animal? That's the kind of stuff that just doesn't happen in real life because real life doesn't have to make any sense.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:49 AM on September 4, 2006


.
posted by plemeljr at 8:52 AM on September 4, 2006


onya mate
posted by popcassady at 9:02 AM on September 4, 2006


.
posted by purephase at 9:04 AM on September 4, 2006


Sad....

This guy lived more life in one show than most of us will live in our lifetimes. What a positive, inspired guy - more than anything he showed us that these animals are only vicious in response to our viciousness.

I can't believe waht people are writing here, that it was a stupid way to die etc. You realize that our civilization needs guys like this to balance out the rest of our cube dwelling Pottery Barn existences. He made a living breathing fresh air and playing with animals in the sun, and you mock him?

Diving with stingrays. I picture him trying to wrestle it saying, "Give us a kiss ya flat bastard!"

What a way to go. If heaven has a zoo...
posted by Pastabagel at 9:09 AM on September 4, 2006 [3 favorites]


.
posted by Dukebloo at 9:16 AM on September 4, 2006


.
posted by theknacker at 9:19 AM on September 4, 2006


"Those wack invertebrates will sting you... Old School!"

Even though stingrays actually have backbones, I can't get that quote out of my head.

R.I.P.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 9:20 AM on September 4, 2006


Well put, pastabagel.
posted by applemeat at 9:27 AM on September 4, 2006


This guy lived more life in one show than most of us will live in our lifetimes.

What a stupid thing to say.
posted by thirteenkiller at 9:29 AM on September 4, 2006


.
posted by Penks at 9:31 AM on September 4, 2006


.
posted by entropy at 9:37 AM on September 4, 2006


Please pardon my lack of HTML skills but I located this link with a clinical report of the survival of a patient with a stingray injury; http://www.nswseakayaker.asn.au/mag/47/stingrays.html

It mentions ray spines up to 37 cm long....
posted by X4ster at 9:42 AM on September 4, 2006


Steve should feel right at home crossing the river Styx ; the first animal he'll see, Cerberos, is described as "a monstrous three-headed dog (sometimes said to have 50 or 100 heads) with a snake for a tail and serpentine mane". I imagine he won't look back.

RIP, Steve Irwin
posted by stonedcoldsober at 9:44 AM on September 4, 2006


I shed a little tear for Steve Irwin this morning. He never entered my radar screen until the Wiggles did - 'Wiggly Safari,' which was filmed almost completely at Australia Zoo, was my kid's No. 1 absolute not-to-be-missed favorite video. We watched it every day for months, and after that I loved Steve Irwin just a little bit. He became a superhero in my eyes - in both our eyes. With his own theme song even:

Crocodile Hunter,
Big Steve Irwin!
Crocodile Hunter,
Action Man!


(Yeah, and at this point Steve breaks in with: "Crikey, it's a croc! I'll save him if I can!" It's actually quite wonderful.)

I also saw that episode of 'Crocodile Hunter' in which his "oldest friend," the croc Mary died. He was completely broken up with grief. It was actually an uncomfortable moment of TV (for a three-year-old, definitely. But for me too). But it was completely sincere and heartfelt.

RIP, Steve Irwin. You were a good guy.
posted by melixxa600 at 9:44 AM on September 4, 2006


I posted the above link before completing my reading of the article. It also lists other deaths as a result of stingray injuries.

http://www.nswseakayaker.asn.au/mag/47/stingrays.html
posted by X4ster at 9:45 AM on September 4, 2006


I've known a few guys with his personality, and sometimes they can be too much with their manic(k)y demeanor, endless enthusiasm, loud speech, and risky behavior, but when they disappear from your life you miss them much more than you thought you would.

When I heard the news, I remembered one of the Crocodile Hunter episodes where he was immobilizing a croc for an audience at Australia Zoo, and he joked about how he would make sure he was never killed by a crocodile because he couldn't stand the thought of all the people saying they knew a croc would finally get him. And sure enough, it wasn't a salty that got him.
posted by Devils Slide at 9:46 AM on September 4, 2006


'It's likely that he possibly died instantly when the barb hit him,' Stainton said. 'He died doing what he loved best.'
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:47 AM on September 4, 2006


.

I think it's disgusting that pruner posted a doctored image of Irwin dangling his baby over the crocodile's head as if it was really what happened. It's also disgusting that damn dirty ape suggests "There are two kids who will no longer have a father because of his reckless attitude with wildlife," when reports have the guy filming harmless bull rays for his daughter's show when he swam over the stingray.

If you have to be an ass, at least *try* to be an ass with its facts straight.
posted by mediareport at 9:49 AM on September 4, 2006 [1 favorite]


What a stupid thing to say.
posted by thirteenkiller at 12:29 PM EST on September 4 [+] [!]


Umm, care to explain why?
posted by Pastabagel at 9:51 AM on September 4, 2006


Ive never seen that video of him crying over the death of one of his gators and it just makes his death all the more sad. I loved his show and his enthusiasm, I agree with the poster that said he was like the 11yr old kid who was passionate for animals.
posted by spacesbetween at 9:58 AM on September 4, 2006


This is really sad but you know somewhere Paul Hogan's pretty happy about it.
posted by xmutex at 9:58 AM on September 4, 2006 [1 favorite]


I think Yahoo Serious may be looking at making it back into the limelight as well.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:00 AM on September 4, 2006


You see footage of people diving with and petting giant rays all the time. I fear he was overly-confident and manhandling the ray, as he did with just about every critter he ever touched.

I once met a guy who's been stung by a ray. He said the pain at the time was so bad that he wished he was dead. He had a divot on his calf muscle about the size of a golf ball to show for it.

BTW, 37 cm = 14.6 inches.

RIP, Steve.
posted by wsg at 10:04 AM on September 4, 2006


.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 10:05 AM on September 4, 2006


Also - Irwin had one of the best SportsCenter commercials ever when he wrangled the Florida Gator mascot. I wish it was on YouTube or something but copyright blah blah blah. As someone who had grown pretty tired of the SportsCenter schtick, somehow his was really and truly hilarious.
posted by xmutex at 10:05 AM on September 4, 2006


.

Incredibly, incredibly, bad luck. It's a shame that the world has lost a great educator.
posted by porpoise at 10:07 AM on September 4, 2006


.
posted by quin at 10:08 AM on September 4, 2006


He was a passionate advocate for the animals he loved and a tireless educator. He did a TON of good work while he was here and he'll be missed.
posted by LeeJay at 10:13 AM on September 4, 2006


.
posted by SisterHavana at 10:14 AM on September 4, 2006


.
posted by Parannoyed at 10:15 AM on September 4, 2006


I'll raise a tail in salute:

>_,__,/

Sad. His enthusiasm may have been cartoonish, but it always seemed genuine.
posted by Gator at 10:15 AM on September 4, 2006


Pastabagel, I suspect thirteenkiller will be too busy travelling the world, encountering amazing wildlife, and educating millions of people to respond.

And, since I forgot in my other comment:

.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:15 AM on September 4, 2006


This is a dark day indeed. It marks the beginning of the stingray-crocodile wars.

.
posted by TheGoldenOne at 10:18 AM on September 4, 2006 [1 favorite]


RIP Croc Hunter...
posted by samsara at 10:20 AM on September 4, 2006


Pages and pages of condolences.
posted by popcassady at 10:28 AM on September 4, 2006


.
posted by drleary at 10:32 AM on September 4, 2006


biggest obit since Princess Di.
The reaction's the real story here.
Would you have predicted the response?
posted by Fupped Duck at 10:36 AM on September 4, 2006


Skygazer: I now officially hate stingrays.

Steve wouldn't.

>_,__,/
posted by hangashore at 10:39 AM on September 4, 2006 [2 favorites]


He loved wildlife and really made a difference for conservation. I always loved his no-holds-barred attitude and his affection for the "non-cute" animals. My heart goes out to his family, but seeing how his wife is as passionate about wildlife as he was, I'm sure his family will honor his memory in the best way possible.

I'm so sad to see him go.

.
posted by matildaben at 10:39 AM on September 4, 2006


I was feeling a little misty reading this thread, but the story of Steve crying over the dead crocodile finally got me. And I never even watched a full episode of his show.

Seconded.
posted by Cyrano at 10:41 AM on September 4, 2006



posted by c:\awesome at 10:43 AM on September 4, 2006 [2 favorites]


Australia's Rose, RIP!
posted by geoff. at 10:45 AM on September 4, 2006


"... If it weren't for him, I wonder if all the animal cable channels would even be in business in this country."
posted by dw at 10:58 AM EST on September 4 [+] [!]


dw, I'm still trying to understand your comment. If TCH died by getting within strike distance of a dangerous wild animal, and was an experienced professional naturalist who wasn't in total control of the situation, then getting taken out by that animal wasn't accidental, it was a professional judgement lapse.

Look, among other things, I'm a recreational SCUBA diver, and I've done hours of cruising through Florida and Caribbean waters and reefs where there are barracuda, sharks, rays, and other nasties. And even as a recreational diver, I've come to understand that wild sea animals don't "interact" with you, as much as they try to figure out whether you are good to eat, or likely to eat them. Perhaps in coming to this judgement, they will make a few passes around you in the way of general observation, and if you are providing other food, they may chow down in your vicinity, and even allow you to photograph, but they never sign a model release, and at the first opportunity that looks safe to them, will put a tooth on you, just to see if you are tasty. It's what they do, and there's no moral judgement in it. Moreover, if they think you are threatening them, they get far more agitated and unpredictable than ever they will if they are checking you out as a possible dinner. Even simple animals "feel" fright, and fight hard and fast when filled with panic, and there is no place to go.

So, being a human, and wanting to see things for myself, I have to take initiative to control the situation, or suffer the consequences. If I dive in waters where fisherman chum, I can expect sharks with heightened prey responses, and that is just a dumb, dumb place for a recreational diver to be. If I swim along only a few feet above a sand bottom looking for shark teeth and bottom treasure, I give up any distance barrier to camouflage predators below, which is apparently another element of TCH's behavior that led to his demise. In other words, "controlling the situation" in the open ocean generally means keeping your distance from everything you can't survive or physically control, and not looking or sounding like interesting food.

And these days, with good video sources on underwater remotely controlled vehicles, there is just no reason to get physically close to large sea animals without full protection. It doesn't help the animals, certainly, and it doesn't improve our knowledge or understanding of their behavior. It is, perhaps, human to want to feed things, or pet them, but it is an immature impulse to do so. Doing it for commercial video footage that adds nothing to scientific knowledge is even less noble.

So, while I'm sorry for TCH's family, I stand by my nomination of his death for a Darwin award. Accidentally "boxing in" a large animal, equipped with a fast, venomous defense was fatally stupid, as well as unprofessional, and is best related as a warning to others. I mean no general disrespect to the man in saying so, but I do question his motives in getting himself in this situation in the first place.
posted by paulsc at 10:50 AM on September 4, 2006 [1 favorite]


For a while I was the caretaker of several stingrays. Whenever someone had to go in the pool with them to clean something, we did the "sting ray shuffle" along with a spotter to keep an eye out for something the person in the pool may not have seen. These were wild caught sting rays, and they never flicked a tail at us. Treating a sick one by force feeding antibiotic laced food by lifting it out of the water with a towel, and it didn't even flick its tail at us. Its just crazy that he would have died like this.

. . . Sometimes I wonder if humans are only allotted so many amazing moments in their life. When they're used up, they die. I can't imagine he would have traded it for 100 more years.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 10:53 AM on September 4, 2006 [2 favorites]


This death is a little hard to take. I watched his show, fascinated by the childlike way he acted and how he seemed to nearly demand being bit/attacked by some creature most of us would try to avoid.

Yet, except for a few minor things, he seemed to always make it. Somehow it made him seem invincible.

He is not, and none of us are. This is a reminder....
posted by Deep Dish at 10:57 AM on September 4, 2006


Sweet! Watch Steve Irwin's SportsCenter commercial. It's awesome.
posted by xmutex at 10:59 AM on September 4, 2006


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posted by effwerd at 11:02 AM on September 4, 2006


.
posted by fillsthepews at 11:03 AM on September 4, 2006


I am shocked, and saddened, but mostly shocked by how much this saddens me. RIP, and .
posted by monkey!knife!fight! at 11:05 AM on September 4, 2006


. RIP
posted by djeo at 11:05 AM on September 4, 2006


He also did a pretty funny ad for FedEx.
posted by mcwetboy at 11:12 AM on September 4, 2006


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posted by Joey Michaels at 11:13 AM on September 4, 2006


I liked him because he meant it.

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posted by PhatLobley at 11:14 AM on September 4, 2006 [1 favorite]


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posted by disclaimer at 11:15 AM on September 4, 2006


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posted by bz at 11:16 AM on September 4, 2006


Seeing him collapse from a deadly bite in that Fed-ex commercial seems a bit odd now.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 11:24 AM on September 4, 2006


.
posted by mrbill at 11:29 AM on September 4, 2006


.
posted by Bluehenspecial at 11:39 AM on September 4, 2006


Umm, care to explain why?

I suspect thirteenkiller will be too busy travelling the world, encountering amazing wildlife, and educating millions of people to respond.

The idea that because some people are famous and do exciting things they are "more alive" than the rest of us is dumb and insulting.
posted by thirteenkiller at 11:40 AM on September 4, 2006 [2 favorites]


I am definately more alive than Steve Irwin.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:43 AM on September 4, 2006 [3 favorites]


hehe me too

*hi5*
posted by thirteenkiller at 11:44 AM on September 4, 2006


As over the top as he was he seemed like a genuinely good guy. Sad day.

this guy lived more life in one show than most of us will live in our lifetimes.

He did exactly what he wanted to do with his life. I'm sure there are many on metafilter doing the same.
posted by justgary at 11:45 AM on September 4, 2006


.
posted by DragonBoy at 11:45 AM on September 4, 2006


It seemed from everything we ever saw of him, Steve was a good, decent human being that loved what he was doing and was able to make nature interesting for millions of people that otherwise would have no interest it. It's pretty rare when someone's genuine enthusiasm for what they do translates to every moment their in front of a camera, but his did. Tremendously. In that single regard, he was probably a better educator than most of us will ever have a chance to be. I'll miss the guy.
posted by smallerdemon at 11:47 AM on September 4, 2006


I watched his shows, but never came too enchanted with them. However I did like his enthusiasm and dedication, and am really in awe about for what he did.

.
posted by sebas at 11:52 AM on September 4, 2006


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posted by Marla Singer at 11:54 AM on September 4, 2006


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posted by chillmost at 11:57 AM on September 4, 2006


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posted by killdevil at 11:57 AM on September 4, 2006


So, while I'm sorry for TCH's family, I stand by my nomination of his death for a Darwin award. Accidentally "boxing in" a large animal, equipped with a fast, venomous defense was fatally stupid, as well as unprofessional, and is best related as a warning to others. I mean no general disrespect to the man in saying so, but I do question his motives in getting himself in this situation in the first place.

By that logic, if you're hiking through the mountains, and despite knowing there may be rattlers, and you don't see the rattler, and it bites you, you're up for a Darwin Award. Nah, I don't think so.
posted by Atreides at 12:01 PM on September 4, 2006


To those who think he deserved a Darwin Award or deserved what was coming to him, here's the truth. This guy studied animals his whole life. He'd muck with snakes and reptiles not cuz he was crazy. He was taking advantage of the curiosity of human beings to bring attention to these creatures - to remind us that we're not all alone on this spinning rock in space, and though we think we'll live forever, our existence as individuals and as a species is incredibly fragile.

Steve Irwin's job was to bring to our attention that edge between humanity and the wild. Show us how our neighbors on this spinning rock behave; how they are different from us, how they are alike, and why we should give a shit about them. His efforts look foolhardy, but if you watch him at work you can see that he knew exactly what he was doing and had prepared for each encounter. He knew his strengths and weaknesses. I don't believe Irwin ever went into a situation without having a game plan for how to get out.. until now.

Stingray -- what the fuck? You know what? Fuck the stingray. I got my own metaphorical crocodiles and I gotta stick my finger up their metaphorical buttholes. If a metaphorical stingray comes along, it BETTER get me in the heart on the first try. I won't give it a second shot, and I'll have metaphorical stingray for dinner that night. Or, y'know, I'll be unmetaphorically dead.

That's what we should learn from Steve's example. Live and let live. Take calculated risks. Have a good time while you're here. Know what you can muck with and what you can't muck with. Try to do something meaningful, if you can. Die with a stupid smile on your face. Get a MeFi thread with over two hundred responses. That ain't workin'. That's the way ya do it. Get yer money for nuthin' and yer chicks fer free.
posted by ZachsMind at 12:06 PM on September 4, 2006


paulsc: I guess when you get accidentally killed while diving, driving, or walking down the street at night, we can put you up for a darwin award too.
posted by bob sarabia at 12:08 PM on September 4, 2006


The idea that because some people are famous and do exciting things they are "more alive" than the rest of us is dumb and insulting.

Neither Pastabagel nor myself really said anything about 'fame', besides the opportunities it gave Irwin to educate. If the average person were to experience even 1% of his travels and adventures, I'm sure they would consider themselves very fortunate... ah, forget it.


Damn you for making me laugh and derailing my train of indignation, Astro Zombie.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:18 PM on September 4, 2006


I'm a recreational SCUBA diver, and I've done hours of cruising through Florida and Caribbean waters and reefs where there are barracuda, sharks, rays, and other nasties. And even as a recreational diver, I've come to understand that wild sea animals don't "interact" with you, as much as they try to figure out whether you are good to eat, or likely to eat them

Hyperbole, drama, rinse, repeat.
posted by docpops at 12:19 PM on September 4, 2006


I wasn't much of a fan, but he was definitely one of god's original mutants.

RIP, ya crazy nut.

.
posted by nonliteral at 12:22 PM on September 4, 2006


dw, I'm still trying to understand your comment. If TCH died by getting within strike distance of a dangerous wild animal, and was an experienced professional naturalist who wasn't in total control of the situation, then getting taken out by that animal wasn't accidental, it was a professional judgement lapse.

The point of the Darwin Awards was to identify people who do things so stupid that it is as if they are trying to remove themselves from the gene pool.

For example, dangling from a freeway bridge.

As far as we know, he may not have been doing anything other than just being too close to the ray. Or he could have been handling it. That detail is missing. But it sounds like an occupational hazard, not a case of just being completely stupid. This was freak accident.

And these days, with good video sources on underwater remotely controlled vehicles, there is just no reason to get physically close to large sea animals without full protection.

Yes. And no. Because in the end, people want to see other people experiencing these things. I mean, why the heck does Discovery run Shark Week every year? For that matter, why did Wild Kingdom pull in so many kids of my generation? (It certainly wasn't because of Mutual of Omaha.) People want the vicarious experience of seeing the animals.

You can drive a robot up to the top of Everest. It's not the same as climbing it. And while people abuse these "adventures" in the interest of "experience," humans are still compelled to climb mountains and trek across deserts and swim in coral reefs. I mean, you do it yourself. Would you rather we banned all SCUBA gear and snorkels and told everyone we have cameras now, you can see the colors on TV?

I just don't think this rises to the level of idiocy you expect from a Darwin.
posted by dw at 12:27 PM on September 4, 2006


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posted by mr.marx at 12:28 PM on September 4, 2006


What? No one has made a "crocodile tears" joke yet? Seriously, though, this really sucks. As has been said, I never imagined he would be killed by an animal. It's just too obvious.

Here's to ya, Steve.
posted by brundlefly at 12:30 PM on September 4, 2006


As of 1996, 17 deaths had occurred worldwide from stingray barb injuries.

That's rare. Almost as many people have died from exploding kittens. It seems unfair to call someone stupid for becoming the 18th known stingray death ever anywhere.
posted by pracowity at 12:32 PM on September 4, 2006


Wow, look at the number of comments this thread has.

I have to say, this is the most I've been affected by a celebrity death for absolutely years, and I'm not sure why. Fuck Diana, fuck the Pope, I miss the Crocodile Hunter.

Weird.
posted by reklaw at 12:38 PM on September 4, 2006 [1 favorite]


What a great guy. I'm very sad. Can't stop tearing up in fact. But it warms my heart to see so many others responding similarly.
posted by Onanist at 12:42 PM on September 4, 2006


Almost as many people have died from exploding kittens.

Tell me more about these exploding kittens.


and

.
posted by jokeefe at 12:50 PM on September 4, 2006


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posted by joedan at 12:52 PM on September 4, 2006


What Alvy said

.

Oh, and thirteenkiller: You clearly are someone who deserves to be insulted.
posted by evilcolonel at 12:53 PM on September 4, 2006


Oh, this makes me sad. I've thought about it all day (followed by 'crikey!'). He was a much better ambassador than Paul Hogan - at least he was himself and Australian - no shrimp for him - although I find the accusations of embodying a stereotype ridiculous (and the Darwin Awards - if you think he qualifies you need to learn to read for fuck's sake). His work for reptile conservation was astounding, and his bit of the Sunshine Coast hinterland is beautiful - I hope his family keeps it (and use it for the purpose he intended).

Crikey!
posted by goo at 12:56 PM on September 4, 2006


He died doing what he loved, and it was painless.

Jesus, I hope so. I've been stung by a stingray, and it ranked right up there with childbirth in terms of pain.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:57 PM on September 4, 2006


Could someone explain the

.

for me?
I imagine it means 'rest in peace' or something but why?
posted by PercussivePaul at 12:59 PM on September 4, 2006


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posted by Elmore at 1:00 PM on September 4, 2006


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posted by Soulfather at 1:03 PM on September 4, 2006


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posted by TwoWordReview at 1:04 PM on September 4, 2006


PercussivePaul, see the FAQ.
posted by cgc373 at 1:04 PM on September 4, 2006


Fuck Diana, fuck the Pope, I miss the Crocodile Hunter.

.
posted by forallmankind at 1:05 PM on September 4, 2006


This Darwin award thing is fun! I nominate Southern Lebanon!
posted by iamck at 1:06 PM on September 4, 2006


cheers cgc373

.
posted by PercussivePaul at 1:07 PM on September 4, 2006


Crocodile Dundee: Of course it took me a week to get this far. I thought I was a goner. I said to meself, "Mick old son, find yourself a nice comfortable spot and lay down and die".
Sue Charlton: Weren't you afraid ?
Crocodile Dundee: Of dying ? Nah. I read The Bible once. You know God and Jesus and all them apostles ? They were all fishermen, just like me. Yeah, straight to heaven for Mick Dundee. Yep, me and God, we'd be mates.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:28 PM on September 4, 2006


.
posted by Iamtherealme at 1:30 PM on September 4, 2006


Sweet and simple. Nice work, c:\awesome.

So long Stevo.
posted by maryh at 1:38 PM on September 4, 2006



Tell me more about these exploding kittens.


Kitten Exploding Syndrome (KES) occurs when you do not photograph your kitten and post the pictures publically. A lot more common that sting ray deaths. Fortunely, with the advent of digital cameras an the internet, the instances of KES have dropped significantly.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 1:42 PM on September 4, 2006


Comparing Steve Irwin to Paul Hogan as an ambassador for Australia is like comparing...*sigh*...the analogy fails me.

Of course the real Crocodile Dundee was shot and killed by police during a raid on his home to confiscate unpermitted weapons.

Crocodile Dundee Dead

If the police had used an armed remote controlled robot to enter the Crocodile Man's predatory strike zone and not boxed him in like that, there would be one more of them walking around as well. Lapse in professional judgement.
posted by mrmojoflying at 1:42 PM on September 4, 2006


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posted by n o i s e s at 1:44 PM on September 4, 2006


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posted by The Great Big Mulp at 1:45 PM on September 4, 2006


I equate the . to putting a stone on a grave. Or maybe a rose, depending on your own personal cultural knowledge and handling of funereal etiquette. In practice, actually it's more like: "I got nothing really to say cuz this is one of those times when words don't do what's in my heart justice, but I wanna acknowledge this thread and let others know I was here. So. . "

As for whether or not Steven Irwin felt the stingray, I should hope so. Painful as it may have been, if I were THE Crocodile Hunter, and I didn't get to experience my death or know what it was that finally took me down? I'd be pretty cranky at the Pearly Gates:

"Crikey! It happened so fast! Petey! Do you guys get Animal Planet up here? Did they get it on camera? ...How'd I look? ...Petey? What you mean you guys don't get cable up here? This is supposed to be heaven! You expect me to go an eternity without animal documentaries? This is hell!"
posted by ZachsMind at 1:45 PM on September 4, 2006


I can't say I was a fan, but I did have a chat recently with someone whose family used to own a small wildlife park in Australia and knew Irwin, and he told me that Irwin did what he did solely to benefit his family wildlife park and the creatures under his care.

He was apparently totally committed to animal conservation and every bit of spare money that he earned from his celebrity went back into the family wildlife park. The impression I got was that this was someone who put himself on show for the benefit of the nature he adored, not to be famous or admired.
posted by Duug at 1:48 PM on September 4, 2006


You know, I was sure that when he finally did die, it would be from a poisonous snake. He always said that despite all the times he had handled snakes he had never been envenomated. Always seemed like tempting fate to me.

My wife and I were pretty certain that the reason he was able to do the things that he did with these incredibly dangerous animals, was that there was some sort of unspoken agreement between him and the animal kingdom.

Snake: Oh crap, someone's touching me. I am so going to bite this fucker... wait, it's Irwin. Fine, yeah yeah, I'm a real beauty. Uh huh, yeah show me to the camera. Ok, now put me back man, I'm trying to get some sleep here.
posted by quin at 1:51 PM on September 4, 2006


Paul Hogan is not quite dead. He also isn't really the Crocodile Hunter either. He just played one in the movies. Comparing Steve Irwin to Paul Hogan is like comparing Superman to Tom Welling. Only... I think Crocodile Dundee predates Irwin's work.. but you know what I mean.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:52 PM on September 4, 2006


Anyone who thinks he was reckless needs to watch the 10 Deadliest Snakes show he made in 1998. The wide berth he gave the fierce snake was what convinced me he was actually much more in control with these animals than he usually appeared, and knew exactly how far he could take things without putting himself at unacceptable risk.

I don't think he was a reckless guy whose luck finally ran out. I think he was a smart guy using his knowledge and experience to do a potentially dangerous job safely. That the freak tragic accident which killed him happened to involve an animal is no more apt or predictable than if he had been struck by lightning.

I haven't been this affected by a celebrity's death since Sir Peter Blake.
posted by Soulfather at 1:58 PM on September 4, 2006


Word on the street is that the Stingray was under contract from the Crocs to hit Irwin. Queensland CSI are on the case.

RIP Stevo.
posted by movilla at 2:03 PM on September 4, 2006


to those who have implied that steve may have been aggravating the stingray, & thus 'gotten just what he deserved', here's producer & friend, john stainton on abc news:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200609/s1732663.htm

John Stainton says the fatal incident was unprovoked. He says the wildlife expert and a cameraman were snorkelling across Batt Reef in shallow water at about 11:00 am AEST. Mr Stainton says the cameraman was initially unaware of the fatal sting. "He [Irwin] just swum over the top of the ray and the barb came up and hit him," he said. "The cameraman said at the time he didn't even know that it had hit him [Irwin] and then he saw blood in the water." Mr Stainton says Irwin died doing what he loved best. "Today the world has lost a great wildlife icon, a passionate conservationist and one of the proudest dads on the planet," he said.

"He left this world in a peaceful and happy state of mind. He would have said, 'Croc's rule'."
posted by n o i s e s at 2:03 PM on September 4, 2006


I'm watching Aussie TV at the moment through the magic of something and it's saturated with coverage.

They're talking about the huge number of people that got jobs through tourism as a result of his work. And that's only one aspect.

He lived, he loved and he both DID and TAUGHT.

I cannot think of a better recommendation for a human being.

.
posted by Sparx at 2:21 PM on September 4, 2006 [1 favorite]


Oh, and thirteenkiller: You clearly are someone who deserves to be insulted.

Well, ouch.
posted by thirteenkiller at 2:23 PM on September 4, 2006


envenomated -- that's just a cool word. =) Kinda like exsanguinated, only, y'know. Different.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:24 PM on September 4, 2006


For those that are saying this was somehow his fault or he shouldn't have been there, I hope you plan on never going in the ocean again becasue stingrays are commonly found in all temperate and warm waters and stings are pretty common. I personally know at least half a dozen people who've been stung off LA beaches because they stepped on a ray. A mistake Steve Irwin didn't even make.

He was incredibly unlucky to be stung while swimming and even more unlucky that it pierced his heart. He was filming coral at the time for his daughters show. Just a freak thing that could happen to any of us. That's all there is to it.

RIP croc hunter.
posted by fshgrl at 2:34 PM on September 4, 2006


Today's Irregular Webcomic is, as the author notes, a little uncomfortable; but I also think that Steve would have appreciated it as well.

.
posted by yhbc at 2:34 PM on September 4, 2006


I caught his show a few times abotu four years ago while staying at a friends house for a week. Without internet access I had to rely on this whole TV business. I fell in love instantly.

Nothin' but respect for the man and his life.

.
posted by trinarian at 2:38 PM on September 4, 2006


He was a bit nuts, sometimes -- dangling food, children, etc. in front of crocodiles -- but he was so good with them, I never expected one to do him in. What a crappy way to go.

.
posted by danb at 2:42 PM on September 4, 2006


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posted by airgirl at 2:42 PM on September 4, 2006


Jesus, danb, that picture is a fake. He never dangled a child in front of crocodiles.
posted by mediareport at 2:49 PM on September 4, 2006


Like others -- Marlin Perkins, Jacques Cousteau, Jack Hanna and the Kratt brothers of Zoboomafoo -- Irwin's infectious passion for bringing "nature" to television viewers enriched many.
posted by ericb at 2:56 PM on September 4, 2006


He was so young. It is hard not to think of all he would have done had he lived longer. Sad, very sad.



posted by Surfurrus at 2:58 PM on September 4, 2006


One of the reports on CNN said that there were sharks in the area and the stingray might have been nervous/agitated and thus quicker to aggression than is typical.

I haven't watched one of his shows in years but the guy's love of animals was apparent. I would imagine if he were able to, he would not harm the stingray in retaliation. More likely he would scold it like a parent and then tell it how beautiful it was.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 3:13 PM on September 4, 2006


More likely he would scold it like a parent and then tell it how beautiful it was.

Brings to mind Roy Horn (of Siegfried & Roy) not blaming white tiger Montecore for his mauling.
posted by ericb at 3:25 PM on September 4, 2006


Fuck Diana, fuck the Pope, I miss the Crocodile Hunter.

Good on ya, mate.
posted by malaprohibita at 3:38 PM on September 4, 2006


better him than his baby.
posted by pruner at 9:43 PM PST on September 3


Thanks for the doctored photograph, genius. Maybe if I photoshop someone else's head onto your body you could make a worthwhile post for once.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:40 PM on September 4, 2006


Steve wasn't really a typical Australian (although I know a few like him), but he was definately a real Australian. What you saw was what he was, I reckon, with no bullshit involved. If anyone's interested, go search for "Andew Denton Steve Irwin Interview" on Piratebay or YouTube or whatever it is you kids use these days.

.
posted by Jimbob at 3:43 PM on September 4, 2006


Andrew Denton, that is.
posted by Jimbob at 3:43 PM on September 4, 2006


had accidently boxed the animal in, causing it to attack. "It stopped and twisted and threw up its tail with the spike, and it caught him in the chest," says Cropp. "It's a defensive thing. It's like being stabbed with a dirty dagger." Says Cropp: "It's a one-in-a-million thing. I have swum with many rays, and I have only had one do that to me."
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:52 PM on September 4, 2006


He says the wildlife expert and a cameraman were snorkelling across Batt Reef in shallow water at about 11:00 am AEST.

Aah, OK I think I can finally visualize how it happened. At first I was thinking that he was swimming in open water along with a ray, but the likelihood of the tail just whipping around and not catching him in the arm or leg first seemed so absurdly remote as to be impossible.

But it appears what happened was that he was swimming just a little bit above the sandy bottom of the waters, parallel to the floor like a bottom-feeder (no disrepect allusion intended). In which case, it makes perfect sense that an alarmed ray, sensing a huge animal directly above it, would instinctually jab its tail directly upwards and into poor Steve's chest. That's my guess, anyway.

Hooroo...
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:56 PM on September 4, 2006


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posted by killy willy at 4:12 PM on September 4, 2006


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posted by the_barbarian at 4:22 PM on September 4, 2006


mediareport - care to tell me how exactly that photo has been doctored? I've seen the same image (in video footage) shown on every newscast covering Irwin's death today.
posted by pruner at 4:57 PM on September 4, 2006


pruner, when I ran a Google image search for steve irwin baby, the first hit was your image labelled "spoof".

The real image is in this USA Today report. It's still too damn close to a croc for my liking, although me may have been further away than perspective would suggest, but he certainly wasn't dangling the baby directly above the croc.
posted by rosemere at 5:03 PM on September 4, 2006


There's a reason I never go into the water when I go to Florida, I'm terrified of the stingrays. At least the northern east coast of the US has nothing more dangerous than a jellyfish or a crap that can bite your toe.

RIP, good man. You did a lot of good.
posted by WaterSprite at 5:09 PM on September 4, 2006


So sorry to hear Steve Irwin died today but it doesn't seem appropriate to me adding "RIP" after his name. If there is life beyond I doubt he's ordered up a fluffy cloud or rocking chair. I'll miss him. I really appreciate that with his life he brought so much awarness and compassion to creatures worldwide. He was a joy.
posted by chance at 5:11 PM on September 4, 2006


care to tell me how exactly that photo has been doctored

Did you even look at the video footage linked here? Go ahead. I'll wait.
posted by mediareport at 5:32 PM on September 4, 2006


This one, for instance. And the linked reports about the episode here and at Wikipedia report it like so: "Irwin fed a four-metre crocodile with one hand while clutching his baby son in the other."

Your picture is a joke, pruner, and I'll repeat: If you're going to be an ass in an obituary thread, try to be an ass with its facts straight.
posted by mediareport at 5:43 PM on September 4, 2006


er, "like so"
posted by mediareport at 5:44 PM on September 4, 2006


.

What a unique guy. I always admired him for his courage and enthusiasm, and when my girlfriend told me the news last night in a text message, I was shocked.

Pretty unfortunate that Subway just started an ad campaign featuring him; I saw the commercial tonight and couldn't believe it.
posted by kyleg at 5:48 PM on September 4, 2006


What's the etiquette here?

I mean, how soon can we ask Shane Warne to take over where Steve left off, without appearing to be disrespectful...?
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:20 PM on September 4, 2006


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posted by dontoine at 7:01 PM on September 4, 2006


Seemed like a nut, obviously loved animals, good fella, it's too bad.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:52 PM on September 4, 2006


A rare death for a rare man.

RIP.
posted by mazola at 8:17 PM on September 4, 2006


Can I make the morbid comment that this is going to inspire this year's most popular halloween costume?

Okay, my work here is done.
posted by onlyconnect at 8:46 PM on September 4, 2006


care to tell me how exactly that photo has been doctored?

Probably in much the same way other photos are doctored. In a digital editing program like Adobe® Photoshop®.
posted by juiceCake at 9:02 PM on September 4, 2006


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posted by MrBobaFett at 9:20 PM on September 4, 2006


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posted by psmith at 9:43 PM on September 4, 2006


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posted by saraswati at 9:59 PM on September 4, 2006


He was great enthusiastic teacher! He will be missed!
posted by thedailygrowl at 10:12 PM on September 4, 2006


A state funeral? (!)
posted by pracowity at 10:19 PM on September 4, 2006


To be so passionate about a cause that you live your life for it, and risk death day-in-day-out for it, and feel the joy of life doing so instead of grim obligation, to become enormously successful doing so, and funnel all of that success back into your passion. I can wish myself and my friends and everyone here no better. He died young but wasted no time in living every moment of his life to the fullest extent possible. There's no Darwin award here. He was simply swimming in the ocean and got stabbed by a creture who I'm sure still had his admiration, sympathy and love even in that moment. If there's an afterlife, I'm sure he's up there defending that Stingray to every angel that'll listen.

But yeah, I can't ask for him to rest in peace. It's not what he'd want. Live on in adventure, mate.

.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:31 PM on September 4, 2006


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posted by sadie01221975 at 10:39 PM on September 4, 2006


.

pracowity writes "As of 1996, 17 deaths had occurred worldwide from stingray barb injuries.

"That's rare. Almost as many people have died from exploding kittens. It seems unfair to call someone stupid for becoming the 18th known stingray death ever anywhere."


Rare was my thought, I'd never heard of anyone dying that way before.
posted by Mitheral at 10:44 PM on September 4, 2006


Dying as he lived...with no fear. RIP.
posted by PsychoKitty at 11:12 PM on September 4, 2006


I don't think I have anything much to say about Steve Irwin that anyone wants to hear, but I think I should dispute the assertion that the website of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, (or any other major Australian website) got greater traffic during this event than on September 11. That's nonsense. I know people who work on big Australian websites and it wasn't even close.

But there would have been a very big and very unexpected spike in traffic because it was announced in the middle of the day while everyone was at work, whereas 9/11 happened very late at night Australian time and website people had time to prepare for an enormous surge in traffic.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 11:50 PM on September 4, 2006


On Metafilter nobody knows you're a stingray.

Seriously, though, this sucks.

.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 11:51 PM on September 4, 2006


.
posted by fullysic at 12:21 AM on September 5, 2006


If I get bit out here, I'm 200 km from the nearest hospital...
posted by jimjam at 12:31 AM on September 5, 2006


Because it has to be said, though thankfully, MeFi is proving to be the exception abour Steve Irwin, rather than the rule:



(image courtesy of mia_d )
posted by ShawnStruck at 5:44 AM on September 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


It's funny that for all of the times I've kind of mocked the guy for his stupid risk taking, I was really sad to hear that he'd died like this. It's too bad.
posted by OmieWise at 5:51 AM on September 5, 2006


Agreed with Jimbob - try to track down Andrew Denton's amazing interview with Steve (current search has been futile so far). They reveal him to be a well-humoured, gregarious, educated and passionate man - with a genuine curiosity and love of the world around him, as well as his family.

I teach at a school about 20 minutes' drive away from his zoo. The landscape of the Glasshouse Mountains is gorgeous, and his attempts to purchase land for conservation purposes have to be commended.

Transcripts of that interview can be found here.
Transcript of an interview with both him and Terri can be found here.

STEVE IRWIN: People factor does actually scare the living daylights out of me. I've seen some pretty awful, icky sort of things going on.

ANDREW DENTON: Animals don't scare you, but people do?

STEVE IRWIN: Fair dinkum, they do.


...

The only thing wrong with wildlife in Australia is that I don't own it. Imagine how many kangaroos and crocodiles I could have if I owned Australia? My wife is an American, so she's got this - she's a good capitalist and she's very clever with money. Me, I'm not that clever and I don't really give a rip. But she is. So, whenever we get enough cash and enough - and a chunk of land that we are passionate about - bang, we buy it.

I teared up today when the radio played their last interview with Steve - after the news that Australia Zoo's Henrietta, the 150+ y.o. Galapagos Turtle had died. The man was in tears, and not long after, so was I.

Miss him already! What a guy. What a joy to watch.
posted by chronic sublime at 6:06 AM on September 5, 2006


.
posted by cass at 6:10 AM on September 5, 2006


...try to track down Andrew Denton's amazing interview with Steve (current search has been futile so far)

The ABC broadcast that episode of Enough Rope last night; someone's ripped & squished it and it was up on Torrentspy when I looked a few minutes ago.

He died as he lived. He died doing what he loved to do. May we all be so lucky.

Seconded.
posted by d-no at 6:15 AM on September 5, 2006


Footage of Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin being killed by a stingray will be shown on TV to honour his wishes.
...
Steve had always ordered his crew to carry on filming even if he was mauled to death.
...

posted by amberglow at 6:23 AM on September 5, 2006


Steve had always ordered his crew to carry on filming even if he was mauled to death.
That's the coolest thing I've ever heard.
posted by ColdChef at 6:36 AM on September 5, 2006


Crikey, what a way to go.


.
posted by spirit72 at 6:49 AM on September 5, 2006


.
posted by Pendragon at 6:55 AM on September 5, 2006


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posted by Smedleyman at 7:46 AM on September 5, 2006


Yesterday I wrote this: Seemed like a good egg and gleefully indestructible. I now officially hate stingrays.

And upon further reflection I realized this does a dishonor to the memory of Steve Irwin. I don't think he would've ever blamed an animal for an incident like this and wouldn't want others to either. So there you go.
posted by Skygazer at 8:00 AM on September 5, 2006


Latest I heard was that according to the footage they were filming at the time of the 'accident' you actually see Irwin pulling the barb out of his chest just before he loses consciousness. I doubt that's possible however, considering how nature has designed the barb to not be that easily removed without making a worse wound. Perhaps if he'd been able to leave it in they woulda had a better chance to save him.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:59 AM on September 5, 2006


In Britain, where his adventures are followed by an army or young fans, there were reports of youngsters weeping in schools as the news spread in the early morning. (from the Daily Star article)

Awww.
posted by melixxa600 at 9:01 AM on September 5, 2006


You know, if *I* died by a sting ray barb to the heart, THAT would be a freak accident. His death was more like an occupational hazard.

I must be the only asshole that thinks if you taunt dangerous animals for a living, you are going to have them strike back in their defense. And that eventually, one will kill or seriously maim you.

Sounds like a bit of nature's karma to me.

I feel sorry for his family.
posted by agregoli at 9:02 AM on September 5, 2006


.
posted by hardshoes at 9:19 AM on September 5, 2006


Note to self: Don't fuck with Stingrays.
posted by hardshoes at 9:20 AM on September 5, 2006


Actually, he was filming another "Deadliest" episode at the time of the incident. Unfortunately...he was all too right. I never liked the guy much, but I think he died doing what he loved and hopefully without too much pain.
.
posted by etoile at 9:22 AM on September 5, 2006


"The animal world got its revenge."
posted by liam at 9:22 AM on September 5, 2006


"if you taunt dangerous animals for a living, you are going to have them strike back in their defense. And that eventually, one will kill or seriously maim you..."

Agregoli, I think he knew that. You're right that it was an occupational hazard. Considering his standing orders to his crew, he knew this was an eventuality of his chosen occupation. He didn't seem to approach it as a remote possibility. He was more practical about it, ordering his camera crew to keep filiming even if he were mauled.

He wanted his audience to respect the awesome majesty of these creatures, as he did, and if he had to be a little disrespectful of them to accomplish that goal? Well it was unorthodox but considering how much he raised for conservation and wildlife preservation efforts, I think in this case the end justified the means.

You know, many years ago we didn't know how to interact with gorillas in the wild. We'd face them, try to communicate, and they'd either attack or run. It wasn't until the efforts of Dr. Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and others that we learned how better to approach them and interact without incident. Mistakes are still made, but if no one ever tries, there will be no progress.

I hope others in his field learn from Irwin's example. Maybe this event will change scientists' views about stingrays. We've long believed them to be docile, and they are, but maybe there was something specific that Irwin did either purposefully or on accident, which caused the stingray to react. This event could improve marine life sciences. People will learn from Irwin's death just as we learned from his life.

This is in many ways a good thing. I doubt Irwin could have purposefully staged a better death for himself.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:38 AM on September 5, 2006


Videotape of Steve Irwin's last moments shows him pulling a poisonous stingray barb from his chest but no evidence that he had provoked the fish, officials said Tuesday...
posted by metaplectic at 9:48 AM on September 5, 2006


...is it too soon to contemplate who gets to play him in the unauthorized biopic tv movie?
posted by ZachsMind at 9:58 AM on September 5, 2006


Agregoli, I think he knew that. You're right that it was an occupational hazard.

I know he knew that. My beef is with the constant amazed moaning from everyone I've heard talk about this that it's such a "freak" accident. 'Tis not at all freakish to me.

He wanted his audience to respect the awesome majesty of these creatures, as he did, and if he had to be a little disrespectful of them to accomplish that goal?

And I think that's a really shitty way to go about the goal. I've always thought his method was really shitty, and I stand by my comment that it's nature's karma striking back.

And again, he knew the risks, as many have said. So I feel sorry for his family and that's about it.
posted by agregoli at 10:01 AM on September 5, 2006


Parliament interrupted its normal schedule so lawmakers could pay tribute to Irwin, whose body was flown home Tuesday from Cairns. No funeral plans were announced but state Premier Peter Beattie said Irwin would be afforded a state funeral if his family agreed.

Goodness. Australia really feels the loss, doesn't it? I feel I should drop off a condolence card for the entire country.
posted by jokeefe at 10:09 AM on September 5, 2006


agregoli, reports cited in this thread say that he was swimming near the bottom, filming coral. Filming coral != taunting animals. As several people have said, dying from an encounter with a snake or a croc would have been less surprising, given that they are very dangerous animals.

But any scuba diver in that area who could have come along in the same place, doing the same thing -- filming coral -- could have died in exactly the same way. This was not Steve Irwin, Croc Hunter, Scourge of the Seas -- this was Poor Bloke in the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time. This was one of the very, very few people who was ever actually killed by a stingray.

So yes, this was a freakish accident, no matter who it happened to.
posted by rosemere at 10:14 AM on September 5, 2006


.
posted by bullitt 5 at 10:28 AM on September 5, 2006


Take heart, look forward:
Do as able, help as able, show love,
And live a hero.


.
posted by zennie at 10:32 AM on September 5, 2006


Perhaps what they mean by 'freak accident' is that it seemed to have come out of left field. Admittedly, we'll not know unless we see the footage, but it sounded like they were on their way to doing something else and he just got too close to a stingray.

IF he was actually showing off the stingray during the 'deadliest ocean creatures' documentary, that woulda been something other than an accident.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:40 AM on September 5, 2006


To try and put perspective on this. It's like if he were doing a crocodile documentary and while on his way there he was attacked by a usually docile deer.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:10 AM on September 5, 2006


Just to show how much he loved his crocs: Steve Irwin crying over the death of one of his crocodiles.
posted by PenDevil at 11:13 AM on September 5, 2006


agregoli, reports cited in this thread say that he was swimming near the bottom, filming coral. Filming coral != taunting animals. As several people have said, dying from an encounter with a snake or a croc would have been less surprising, given that they are very dangerous animals.


Yet he's taunted many in the past, and so I see this as nature's karmic retribution.

So yes, this was a freakish accident, no matter who it happened to.


And I disagree. Shocking, I know.
posted by agregoli at 1:49 PM on September 5, 2006


.
posted by deCadmus at 2:03 PM on September 5, 2006


Yet he's taunted many in the past, and so I see this as nature's karmic retribution.

On the universal balance, the man did far, far more to protect animals than he did to cause them individual distress.

Karma is a sum of all action. It's not about retribution or reward. You just get what you give. By that law, perhaps nature did pay Steve Irwin back-- not by retribution, but by moving him from the realm of men to the realm of legend.
posted by zennie at 2:13 PM on September 5, 2006


I've always thought his method was really shitty, and I stand by my comment that it's nature's karma striking back.

Please don't use a word if you have no fucking clue what it means.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:18 PM on September 5, 2006


At least he died doing what he loves, right? Very, very sad.
posted by foreversport at 2:28 PM on September 5, 2006


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posted by triolus at 2:30 PM on September 5, 2006


At least he died doing what he loves, right?

He loved getting stabbed in the heart by stingrays?
posted by cortex at 3:59 PM on September 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


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posted by forwebsites at 4:02 PM on September 5, 2006


I think he was trying to stick his thumb up its ass (for all you South Park aficionados).
posted by Mental Wimp at 5:04 PM on September 5, 2006


I'm gonna miss this guy, and really feel for his wife and kids. Like others up in the comments, I was a bit choked up about it too. But then as a kid I was way into Marlon Perkin's Wild Kingdom, and this sort of programing set me up to love the genre. Plus think of all the great parodies and comedy he inspired. His death is definitely something for the pop culture and television histories. Interestingly I've spoken to Aussie tourists in the past who had no idea who Irwin was. He really was a media personality/icon, and America is more into that than most other counties I suppose.

And for those of you folk with snarky remarks - *shrug.* You're in the minority, enjoy the hate, meanwhile the rest of us will miss him and the great television he created. (Anyone who's seen the clip of the small lizard biting this man on the nose - while he was discussing how cranky it was - knows what I'm talking about.)
posted by batgrlHG at 5:45 PM on September 5, 2006


Utterly tragic. Impossible not to admire him.
posted by ajshankar at 5:51 PM on September 5, 2006


batgrl, many of us grew up on Wild Kingdom (and Cousteau) and saw Irwin as a cheapo circus act version of it. We didn't need to see people taunting animals for it to be interesting in the past, and we still don't. Irwin's thing was all about him interacting with wild animals--and not about the animal's lives and behaviors themselves.
posted by amberglow at 6:39 PM on September 5, 2006


agregoli writes "My beef is with the constant amazed moaning from everyone I've heard talk about this that it's such a 'freak' accident. "Tis not at all freakish to me. "

Only the 18th person killed by a stingray out of how many hundreds of thousands of encounters; that's freakish no matter how you slice it.
posted by Mitheral at 6:41 PM on September 5, 2006


Germaine Greer has been quoted as saying:

"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 ten times more acute than theirs, determined to become millionaire animal-loving zoo-owners in their turn."

Cold.
posted by owhydididoit at 6:58 PM on September 5, 2006


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posted by onalark at 7:22 PM on September 5, 2006


Yes. It's interesting how quickly the tide has changed from "Oh how sad" to "Hey, I got a neat idea, Steve Irwin's dead. Let's make light of it LOLZ0R!!!" Just today I got these two images in my work e-mail's inbox.



I really don't know what people get out of doing stuff like this? I mean, it's not like the guy was Hitler or something. He was a guy who was a bit larger than life and overly enthusiastic about wild life and apart from that he never really did anything wrong.

And yet people like Greer and indeed others, such as those wondering what Irwin was doing in Cairns working the day after Fathers Day whilst his wife Terri and two kids Bindi and Bob were off trekking down in Tasmania (the inference being they had marriage problems) feel the need to put him down in death; arguably the most cowardly thing anyone can do because they can't fight back. Fucking losers, the lot of them.
posted by Second Account For Making Jokey Comments at 8:09 PM on September 5, 2006


... many of us grew up on Wild Kingdom (and Cousteau) and saw Irwin as a cheapo circus act version of it. We didn't need to see people taunting animals for it to be interesting in the past, and we still don't. Irwin's thing was all about him interacting with wild animals--and not about the animal's lives and behaviors themselves.
Such mores were commonly violated by early nature paparazzi such as Walt Disney and Marlin Perkins, who Bayer rates as "the worst offenders ever."
The Greer piece was pathetic, especially the part where she makes up a cheesey Irwin-cliched quote and then, with inexplicable smugness, lays the smackdown on the fabrication in the next sentence.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:08 PM on September 5, 2006


I grew up seeing quite the variety of nature-themed programs, many of which featured "nature experts" cozying up to animals for extended periods of time, from days to months. Where are the people crying out for the justice of animals so encroached upon for filming? Not that the Irwin's methods were perfect, but jumping in and scaring the bejeezus out of a critter for ten minutes might be one of the less invasive ways of going about getting your desired shot.
posted by zennie at 10:56 PM on September 5, 2006


Irwin's thing was all about him interacting with wild animals--and not about the animal's lives and behaviors themselves.

So his methods were different than the dry bone, hands off approach of your favourites but there was a reason for putting himself in the picture, instead of boring us to death Perkins-style with unenthusiastic narration. His interaction with the animals was meant to bring the uncuddly and apex predators closer to us, so that we'd care about their future. Everyone's on board when pretty tigers and cuddly baby seals are in danger, but we drop the ball when it comes to the scaly, prickly, slimy, or otherwise ugly creatures (excluding Germaine Greer). Especially since generally they're the ones that prove we're not top of the food chain (without our guns). I think he was incredibly successful in doing this and if some of his subjects were temporarily perplexed or made uncomfortable by their appearances on film, it was worth it in the long run. I mean for crissakes, some people make it sound as though he was murdering these animals. So you're right on that count, he was no Marlin Perkins, a man who did kill animals if it suited that week's episode.

I dunno, it doesn't sound as though you watched any of his shows if you managed to miss his educating his audience on the lives and behaviours of the animals he featured.

Irwin also spent the earnings from his tv shows on conservation projects, pouring it all back into taking care of the animals. Among a myriad of other projects was this most recent one:

AS AUSTRALIA mourned the death of the naturalist and film-maker Steve Irwin it emerged yesterday that he had quietly purchased 90,000 acres of land to save threatened species.
posted by zarah at 11:13 PM on September 5, 2006


"Irwin's thing was all about him interacting with wild animals--and not about the animal's lives and behaviors themselves."

Irwin's thing was all about him interacting with wild animals--and in so doing, revealed animal life and behavior.

Irwin showed animal behavior by interacting with them. If you actually watched him operate, you'd see that he approached each species differently, based on what he learned about them.

What we DIDN'T see on film was what happened when the camera wasn't rolling. The years of study and preparation. He was raised inside a zoo, for Pete's sake.

He proudly boasted he started handling alligators at the age of NINE! That just blows me away. I was handling Star Wars figures at the age of nine!

He lived around animals all his life. It wasn't like he talked a big talk and then had a stunt man step in. He WAS the stunt man. He was Jim Fowler & Marlin Perkins in the same skin!

It looked like he just jumped in, acted like a goof, and jumped out, but that's not physically possible. He woulda died much sooner. There was a lot of preparation for every shot. Preparation we don't see.

IF he poked a stick at something to get its reaction, he'd done it before, so he could anticipate the reaction. Sometimes he surprised even himself, but his ongoing commentary during the interaction was where he revealed his personal experience, training, and research.

It wasn't a stunt - it was a demonstration.

Irwin's classroom was the wilderness, and if you were open-minded enough, you were his student. He wasn't just teaching to children. He was teaching to anyone who'd listen.

Come to think of it, Steve Irwin had more in common with Jesus Christ (the teacher! NOT the religious icon!) than any other human being I can bring to mind from human history... off the top of my head. All JC ever tried to do was use parables to get people to think, and have compassion for one's fellow man. All TCH ever did was use silly stunts to get people to think, and have compassion for one's fellow animals.

I'm not saying I wanna start a religion, but lesser men have been given far more respect and credence than a man like Steve Irwin deserves. He surely deserves more respect than some people in this thread or elsewhere on the 'Net are granting him right now.

Darwin Award my ass!
posted by ZachsMind at 11:18 PM on September 5, 2006


Oops, bad linkage. Here's the proper url.

AS AUSTRALIA mourned the death of the naturalist and film-maker Steve Irwin it emerged yesterday that he had quietly purchased 90,000 acres of land to save threatened species.
posted by zarah at 11:20 PM on September 5, 2006


"Steve lived life as if on the wing of the dragon." - Princess Rangsinopdol Yugala

I wish I could delete every word I put in this thread, and replace it all with that quote.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:26 PM on September 5, 2006


Ray Sting Peace, Steve.
posted by longbaugh at 6:27 AM on September 6, 2006


It wasn't a stunt - it was a demonstration.
Exactly. Well put ZachsMind.
I wasn't a big fan of the guy and found his shows somewhat embarrassing; he was too enthusiastic, he looked stupid and cliquey in that khaki hunters gear, the accent sounded put on - no one speaks like that (unless they're doing comedy takeoffs of bush people), etc. The reactions from his admirers here has caused me to review my response and reevaluate him and I must admit I've done him hard. I think most of you are right and it's a sad loss for all of us. He may not have been everyone's cup of tea but he was an alright bloke. I'm sorry to see him go and will miss him.
posted by tellurian at 7:58 AM on September 6, 2006


... He was raised inside a zoo, for Pete's sake. ...

"inside a zoo" is definitely the key phrase in there--and he ran a Zoo his whole life. He handled captive animals growing up, and applied the same treatment to wild animals on his shows. Wild animals are not to be handled and poked and taunted and annoyed the way he continually did so (No animals are--wild or captive), and his actions spoke way way louder than his words or deeds of conservation or preservation--he's remembered as the guy who taunted wild animals on tv for our entertainment, not as Dian Fossey (who herself was very controversial, but at least didn't do what she did for tv footage). If he had real respect for any of these creatures he wouldn't have been continually annoying them and handling them.
posted by amberglow at 9:52 AM on September 6, 2006


If he had real respect for any of these creatures he wouldn't have been continually annoying them
posted by amberglow at 9:52 AM PST on September 6


I guess you don't respect anyone on MetaFilter then. :(
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:56 AM on September 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


If he had real respect for any of these creatures he wouldn't have been continually annoying them and handling them.

So, you would prefer that he didn't make a program, didn't make a helluva lot of money, which he used to help a helluva lot of those animals whom Irwin, according to you, didn't respect?

Odds are being picked up and dangled in front of a camera for 5 minutes isn't the worst thing that can happen to a creature living in the wild.

...his actions spoke way way louder than his words or deeds of conservation or preservation...

Maybe to you. To me, his true legacy and good works are self-evident. Struck out the "words or" 'cuz it struck me as a disengenuous attempt to belittle his conservation efforts as mere lip service.

Jeez amberglow, just say "Sorry, not a fan," and move on.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:24 AM on September 6, 2006


Let Steve Irwin speak for himself (YT).

For the record, while I like shows such as Outdoors Maryland more than Crocodile Hunter, I never felt that Steve Irwin was actively taunting animals. I have seen enough people taunt animals for entertainment, and enough third world zoos, to know the difference. To the contrary, I was continually impressed with his handling skills.

The "Ten Deadliest Snakes" show is on YT: Parts 1, 2, 3.
posted by zennie at 11:03 AM on September 6, 2006


Cousteau on Irwin
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:17 PM on September 6, 2006


Steve Irwin: a different take--...But all the sentimental tributes today don't change the fact that his act -- a version of bear-baiting -- was distasteful to many ... I think the most disrespectful you can be to the dead is to patronize their lives by glossing over the parts that troubled people. ... (and from his review of the show: ...The conservation message of Irwin rooting around in a female croc's nest to provoke her then running away is hard to miss: It's about conservation of ratings points. ...)
posted by amberglow at 3:27 PM on September 6, 2006


I'm with amberglow. The guy wasn't a "naturalist" -- he had no scientific qualification of any kind -- and I don't see how buying land, or keeping animals in a zoo automatically makes him a "conservationist".

And his remarks about the environment made him look like a fool.

He was a macho entertainer, and his brand of entertainment consisted of messing about with scary animals. He was the equivalent of a lion tamer in a circus, but he made himself out to be all these other things which he clearly wasn't -- and everyone just swallowed it?

Put simply: he exploited animals, and his own children, for entertainment purposes.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 5:03 PM on September 6, 2006


and I don't see how buying land, or keeping animals in a zoo automatically makes him a "conservationist".

What about buying tens of thousands of acres of land specifically to set aside for conservation doesn't make him a conservationist?
posted by cortex at 5:22 PM on September 6, 2006


Well again, those are his public statements, but what do they actually mean? What do we actually know about that? His other public statement was, when asked about his millions, that "every penny I earn goes to conservation". Well, does buying more big scary animals for his zoo count? Some people might see that as a business investment.

If you "buy land to set aside for conservation", does that imply that the forest or jungle on that land was in line to be cleared? That some kind of rare or endangered animal lived on that land and was about to be wiped out unless someone bought it?

Where is this land? What would have happened to it if he hadn't bought it?

Perhaps all he did can be reduced to "buy land", and the conservation thing was just his spin.

I think this rather proves my point. People laugh at Tom Cruise or whoever making grand, self-serving statements and don't believe them, having arrived at a pretty good level of cynicism about entertainers -- but with Irwin, people swallowed whatever he said publicly without question, because they saw him as some kind of scientist or campaigner. He wasn't.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 6:02 PM on September 6, 2006


Holy crap. It's getting pretty thick in here. Too bad I ain't wearin' thigh boots.

He did stuff. We can argue all eternity whether or not what he did makes him one thing or another. Who cares? He brought attention to issues that would otherwise have been ignored. He educated some people. He made some people laugh. He lived an excited life. He made people happy. He made some people think. Even if what they think was whether or not he's a rube.

I don't know you. With an attitude that leads you to diss a guy like this, dunno if I wanna know you, but then I like to diss Tom Cruise so anyone who likes him? They don't wanna know me. So.

And maybe you done more with your life than Steve Irwin. If you have? Good on ya. More power to ya. You have a right to diss Steve Irwin if you've done more to leave a positive mark on this planet.

If you haven't? Then shut up and go do something more, then come back, and diss him all you want.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:29 PM on September 6, 2006


Buying land to preserve habitat is the very best thing you can do for conservation. The second best thing you can do is show people why they should care about keeping the wildlife around at all. Irwin did both.

AmbroseChapel, every word you are saying is pure "spin." Where's your evidence? You have presented none. Even if, as you groundlessly accuse, he did not purchase land for conservation, he actively encouraged others to do so. That alone is a huge contribution. So you don't like him; grasping at straws in an attempt to discredit him at this moment is not a worthy use of anyone's time.

So he wasn't perfect. How much of a saint must one be to deserve better than heckling at the funeral?
posted by zennie at 6:31 PM on September 6, 2006


>AmbroseChapel, every word you are saying is pure "spin." Where's your evidence? You have presented none.

Asking questions can't be "spin". Asking questions is ... asking questions. I didn't even accuse him of anything. I ended up making a point at a much higher level: why do people treat him as if he was some kind of figure outside the entertainment industry?

That's all he was.

He wasn't a scientist, he wasn't a campaigner, he was an entertainer. His schtick was that he could deal with frightening, dangerous animals, just like a lion-tamer.

And he often said, when asked about the millions of dollars he earned, "Every penny I earn goes into saving wildlife" and all I'm saying is "that statement just forms part of his image and isn't necessarily true, because he's in the entertainment industry and that's what people in the entertainment industry do".

Steve Irwin was not a "naturalist", "conservationist" or a "wildlife warrior", whatever that means. He just played one on TV.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 6:59 PM on September 6, 2006


Ambrose, I think you have Irwin mixed up with Paul Hogan. Crocodile Dundee never really wrestled crocodiles. Hogan just played the part of a guy who did.

The Crocodile Hunter actually hunted crocodiles. He didn't call in a stunt man.

Steve Irwin studied nature, and in so doing, was a naturalist by definition. He maintained land for purposes of protecting threatened species, so by definition he was a conservationist. I don't know what a wildlife warrior is, but he did fight to preserve animal habitats and bring attention to animals.

Did he seek fame and fortune in the process? Looks like it to me. People close to him have reported in recent days that he used fame and fortune to accomplish these goals. He admitted himself in interviews that he did the things he did in public so that people would come to love the environment as he did. Which was really more important to him: fame and fortune or conservation and nature? Does it really matter? He accomplished all the above.

Methinks thou doth protest too much, dear Ambrose. Get thee to a nunnery.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:10 PM on September 6, 2006


Asking questions can't be "spin".

Au contraire. Your statements above are as good any push poll.
posted by zennie at 7:35 PM on September 6, 2006


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posted by milkdropcoronet at 7:39 PM on September 6, 2006


AmbroseChapel, you might want to read this.

Executive summary: Steve Irwin worked with legitimate groups like the Australian Wildlife Conservancy in order to establish the most appropriate land to buy up. This included land in the (rapidly shrinking) brigalow belt in Queensland that was about to be cleared.

Steve Irwin was not a "naturalist", "conservationist" or a "wildlife warrior", whatever that means. He just played one on TV.

I'm not entirely sure where you're getting this shit from. Steve Irwin was not an actor. As others have said, he wasn't some Paul Hogan, discovered by Animal Planet and paid to go wear khaki and talk with an ocker accent. Maybe you'd know this if you'd seen the fuzzy home movie footage from the 1980s where he's doing the same things, wearing the same clothes, and just has a few less wrinkles and a more extreme mullet.

His father took a risk, in the early 1970s, to set up a reptile zoo for tourists, at a time when most people thought snakes were something you ran over, and crocodiles were most useful as handbags. From a young age this what Steve Irwin did, carrying on and building up his father's work. Working with wildlife. Up until his death, he was involved in assisting research projects in north Queensland, radiotracking saltwater crocodiles in conjunction with ecologists. As it so happened, he got into having his exploits filmed, and his television success sparked from that point on.

Sure, he was over the top, a caricature. Sure, he didn't fit some David Suzuki image of how a 'conservationist' should act. But he wasn't a fake.
posted by Jimbob at 10:50 PM on September 6, 2006


I honestly can't belive this discussion has turned this way. This is a friggin' memorial thread. Unless you have something substantial to say against the deceased (which I've not seen yet), you don't piss on a 'someone died' thread.

AmbroseChape
l, OK, I get that you didn't like him. But really, this is a guy who spent the majority of his funds on preserving something he cared about. Lay your cynicism aside for a moment and realize that, unlike the rest of TV, this guy's show was all about teaching people and protecting something he cared about.

I'll be honest. I stopped watching Irwin years ago. Not because I thought he was mishandling the creatures he encountered, but because he was clearly targeting his show for kids, and that kinda bored me.

But I never forgot the first time I saw this crazy dude chasing after the 10 most deadly snakes on the planet. I never really thought much about the insanely dangerous critters in my back yard till he pointed them out. And he did it in such a way that made me realize that if I did encounter one, I could walk away with out either one of us being dead.

That is his legacy to me. I can now go rappelling without having to kill every snake I see. It may be a trivial thing to you, but I like knowing that when I bounce off a rock, if I come face to face with something scary, my first instinct should not be to cut it's head off.
posted by quin at 11:38 PM on September 6, 2006


AmbroseChappel: "that statement just forms part of his image and isn't necessarily true, because he's in the entertainment industry and that's what people in the entertainment industry do".

Well, yes, but it isn't necessarily false, either and it appears to be backed up by financial evidence.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:03 AM on September 7, 2006


Jimbob, your executive summary doesn't match up with that article at all. My executive summary is "he bought some land near his place of business, he owned lots of other property around the world, and he once had a meeting with someone from the Wildlife Conservancy group.

zennie, you have a very strange idea of what a "push poll" is. All I'm saying is, he made all these grand statements and everyone simply took them at face value, and never inquired into the detail. You want to believe he was telling the truth, which is very nice of you. I'm asking for the detail.

Jimbob again, I didn't say he was an actor. I used the word "entertainer" and compared him to a lion-tamer. Does a lion-tamer actually go into the ring with a lion? Yes he does, he's not an actor. But he has an exaggerated persona, and what he does involves the exploitation of animals for entertainment purposes. It's not science, it's not conservation, it's not "saving" animals. It's entertainment. And I've never heard of a lion-tamer taking a little baby in with them either. That was just unforgiveable.

He did hunt crocodiles, of course he did. He stocked his zoo with them. It was a commercial undertaking.

quin, you say "this is a guy who spent the majority of his funds on preserving something he cared about". How do you know that? Have you seen his tax returns? Gone over the books of his business? I strongly suspect you haven't. What's your basis for believing that?

That's all I'm saying. Why did people believe every word this guy said? He was in the entertainment industry and he made millions. Is it just because you want to believe that he was "real" in a way everyone else on TV isn't? Please continue to believe that if it makes you feel good.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 12:04 AM on September 7, 2006


Amen Abrose. If Steve Irwin had a positive effect on peoples attitudes to the natural environment, then good on 'im. I was always struck by the simmularities between his program and the Jackass boys animal taunting show. Except there were more reconstructions in the Irwin show.
He acted as a foolishly naive person with little understanding of the human political society in which he lived as regards his conservation work, that is what I got from the Enough Rope interview.
There are not many deaths from sting rays as it is very difficlult to get them to sting you. You have to be very unlucky or be agitating them alot.
posted by asok at 2:24 AM on September 7, 2006


From the NYT obit:
Dr. Leo Smith, an expert on venomous fishes in the department of ichthyology at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan, said that although Mr. Irwin had no scientific degree and some scientists criticized his theatrics and hyperbole, “he could be considered a biologist rather than just a television personality.”

“He was knowledgeable and seemed to care passionately about wildlife,” Dr. Smith said. “He took a very outgoing approach that made people less fearful of sharks and other mean things out there.”
From Discovery News:
"Until his death, when we began to go over his work, I hadn't fully appreciated his commitment to conservation," Ginette Hemley, vice president for species conservation at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), told Discovery News.

"Steve Irwin put his money where his mouth was at, and he often did this quietly and effectively with little or no promotion."

She explained that Irwin partnered with the WWF to fund endangered species conservation in Africa and Asia, where he provided "critical support" in Manas National Park, India. That funding was used, in part, to buy field equipment for workers patrolling the forests there against poachers.

Irwin took a special interest in saving tigers, since they remain one of the world's most endangered species.

In Africa, he also assisted the WWF with funding for projects to save cheetahs and other wildlife.

"His efforts got money to the ground level where it was most needed," Hemley said.

Irwin and his wife used money from their Crocodile Hunter earnings to buy wilderness lands in Fiji, Tasmania, the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu and the United States.

In particular, Irwin was devoted to purchasing, and then salvaging, wilderness tracts in his homeland of Australia. There he bought a large region west of Brisbane near the Murray-Darling Basin.

He also purchased land near his Australia Zoo in Beerwah to save the habitats of tree-dwelling marsupials known as gliders, as well as wallabies, snakes, platypuses and other creatures, many native to Australia.
From a more balanced article at tvNZ:
Ginette Hemley, vice president for conservation at World Wildlife Fund, praised Irwin for popularizing the notion of protecting animals even as he wrestled with them onscreen.

Irwin was the antithesis of the mild-mannered natural scientist, quietly doing field work, Hemley said by telephone.

"He certainly was rough-hewn. He was a larger-than-life personality. ... He was eminently watchable," Hemley said. "For that reason I think he only helped advance the cause that we're committed to, which is conservation."

She agreed with Sanjayan that Irwin's conservation impact would to difficult to measure, but Hemley was gratified that television viewers tuned in to the "Crocodile Hunter" rather than programs unconcerned with protecting wildlife.
From ABC Rural:
The world-renown British naturalist David Bellamy says he admired the way Steve Irwin invested some of his huge television earnings into the environment, particularly through Wildlife Warriors Worldwide. WWW was founded in 2002 by Steve and Terri Irwin. It currently owns 90,000 ha of land as safe wildlife havens in southern and western Queensland and other countries. It also funds an animal hospital and assists in conservation work in India, Indonesia and South Africa. It's where Steve Irwin's family wants tributes and donations to go following his death.
But of course, Irwin was on TV, so it's all a wash until we see the receipts.
posted by zennie at 8:34 AM on September 7, 2006


Ambrose is an Irwinian revisionist. LOL!
posted by ZachsMind at 12:45 PM on September 7, 2006


I don't know, zennie, you may have facts on your side, but the thought that Irwin probably made all that stuff up just to improve his image feels truthier.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:46 PM on September 7, 2006


Notwithstanding people's continued misunderstanding of what I've been saying, I'm actually happy to see that he did really put some portion of his multi-million-dollar fortune toward conservation projects.

Rather than just blindly accepting what he said, you did some research. Good on you.

To sum up: he bought land in Australia and overseas, he donated money to animal charities, and he created his own animal welfare nonprofit organisation. And the NYT could find one scientist who thought he was "knowledgeable".

I still can't forgive him for the baby thing though.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 4:28 PM on September 7, 2006


I can. it was his baby. He raised it as he saw fit.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:50 PM on September 7, 2006


: Rather than just blindly accepting what he said, you did some research. Good on you.

How magnanimous of you. Please consider doing your own research next time, rather than assuming that everyone else is pulling viewpoints out of thin air.
posted by zennie at 6:29 PM on September 7, 2006


How magnanimous of you. Please consider doing your own research next time, rather than assuming that everyone else is pulling viewpoints out of thin air.

Heh, zennie. You should have known that was going to be a lose-lose situation. Next time place the burden of proof on the cantankerous dissenter first.
posted by mrmojoflying at 3:54 AM on September 8, 2006


And the NYT could find one scientist who thought he was "knowledgeable".

I'll step back into this dusty old thread to say that, as a scientist working in northern Australia, sometimes we have to rely extensively on the layman. The locals who have been doing this stuff for their whole lives. We're just young upstarts with a shiny new PhD and an ARC grant. It's the "croc hunters" we have to deal with, day by day, to get our work done.
posted by Jimbob at 5:42 AM on September 8, 2006


Metafilter: You should have known that was going to be a lose-lose situation.
posted by zennie at 7:46 AM on September 8, 2006


>it was his baby. He raised it as he saw fit.

And that, my friends, is why we have a department of Social Services, so that insane people who raise babies the way they see fit can have their babies taken away.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 4:27 PM on September 8, 2006


IT'S THE THREAD THAT WOULD NOT DIE...
posted by ZachsMind at 4:36 PM on September 8, 2006


... JUST LIKE STEVE IRWIN'S INFLUENCE!

*laughs maniacally*
posted by zennie at 4:39 PM on September 8, 2006


The Condensed AmbroseChapel

Steve Irwin was:

-A conservationist charlatan! ... No? Well, uh...
-A ecological liar! ... Hunh, wrong again. Hmm...
-A posturing phony! ...Fine, I was just throwing that out there, anyway... uh...
-An abuser of animals! ... Dammit! Facts!... Well...
-A bad parent who deserved to have his children taken away! Ha! Yes! Refute me now, you people with your facts! You can't!
There's pictures!
Those are facts you can see!

If anyone needs a straw for their beverage, just ask AC.
He's been grasping at enough of them all week.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:57 PM on September 8, 2006


Heh.
posted by cortex at 8:27 PM on September 8, 2006


Long ago I was in talk radio. Don't ask. The topic of the morning was child abuse, and I made the mistake of saying on the air that I didn't believe any parent should raise a hand to strike their child, because violence begets violence and if you use that to educate your child, that's what he's gonna learn.

I didn't think anyone was even listening to our show. We were on the third worst rated radio station on the air. There were college radio stations that got better ratings than we did. There were emergency broadcast signals that got better ratings than our show.

The phones lit up, and for the next two hours I was berated by parent after parent telling me that if I didn't have a child, I had no right to tell them how to raise their children. They'd continue beating the ever lovin' shit out of their children all they wanted, and how dare I tell them they shouldn't?

Soon after this, I left talk radio.

AmbroseChapel? Fuck you, man. If I can't tell parents to stop spanking their children, you can't tell a dead man to stop feeding his children to fuckin' alligators.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:46 PM on September 8, 2006


In other news, check out Steve Irwin's Unreleased Death Tape like, multiple times. There's copies of it all over YouTube.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:18 PM on September 8, 2006



posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 9:31 PM on September 8, 2006


Metafilter: you can't tell a dead man to stop feeding his children to fuckin' alligators.
posted by amberglow at 12:49 PM on September 9, 2006


The Irwin public funeral has just finished here in Australia. Here's some news coverage about it and some of the highlights in both Real Media and Windows Media formats.

For what it's worth, I thought Bindi was incredibly well composed. And John Williamson still sucks.
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:05 PM on September 19, 2006


.
posted by cell divide at 8:25 PM on September 19, 2006


Yah Effigy. I couldn't stop bawling my eyes out, especially at the end when they drove his truck out for the last time.
posted by ramix at 10:49 PM on September 19, 2006


.
posted by bwg at 3:39 AM on September 20, 2006


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