Pharyngula

A sad start to the holiday

i-92a0101388d1d613eb2604e74be8d475-Steve-holding-croc.jpg

The Crocodile Hunter has died. It is absolutely no surprise that it was an animal that did him in—he was pierced by a stingray—but it’s still sad to see such an enthusiastic advocate for wildlife go.

I’m not alone in feeling this way: it’s
a scienceblogs
thing
to regret this loss. And Skatje had quite the little girl crush on Steve Irwin some years ago.

Comments

  1. #1 Kristjan Wager
    September 4, 2006

    The most sad part is that stingrays are not really aggressive (unlike crocs for example), and only rarely kill people.

  2. #2 craig
    September 4, 2006

    Never really liked his shows, though i didn’t see much. turned me off. Seemed like a “professional animal botherer.”
    I prefer the approach of David Attenborough.
    How much do you really learn from seeing how animals react to being molested by humans, anyway?

  3. #3 dr. dave
    September 4, 2006

    It is sad, don’t get me wrong… especially since his kids are the almost same age as mine… but I can’t help but think that one really can’t play the odds like that forever without them catching up with you. Hang around that close to things with teeth, spikes, and venom for long enough, and you’re bound to wind up on the wrong end of something sharp sooner or later.

    I guess it’s probably the way he would have wanted to go out. Poor guy.

    Crikey…

  4. #4 Swintah
    September 4, 2006

    I tried to visit their site (crocodilehunter.com) and leave my condolences. My server timed out – too busy. I’ll try again later.

    Incidentally, I had idly speculated that it would be death by venomous snake.

    How much do you really learn from seeing how animals react to being molested by humans, anyway?

    Cool defensive behaviors. If you don’t bother a cobra, you’l never see it hood.

  5. #5 brent
    September 4, 2006

    I am with you craig. Its upsetting that he has died so tragically and I feel terrible for his family but I never much liked the way he acted around the animals he observed. I felt kind of the way I felt about the Grizzly Man in the Werner Herzog movie. Of course, Irwin was not deluded or deranged as the Grizzly Man clearly was, but I did think he similarly tended to conceptualize our relationship to wild animals in an inappropriate way. Nature seemed like more of a circus sideshow in his show. On the other hand, I am sure he did a lot of good work for conservation issues. I just never felt comfortable with his attitude toward what are actually dangerous creatures.

  6. #6 Ian H Spedding FCD
    September 4, 2006

    I just saw it on the news.

    Like Craig, I found his approach a little over-the-top but there was no doubting his courage or his love and knowledge of animals.

    He was a great character and it’s a tragic loss, especially for his family.

  7. #7 Fernando Magyar
    September 4, 2006

    Sad indeed.
    Only yesterday I was snorkling and just barely missed putting my hand on the wrong end of a barely visible stingray hiding in the sand.

  8. #8 JackGoff
    September 4, 2006

    I, for one, liked him because he tried to make his shows interesting for people who didn’t really like the Wild Kingdom hands-off approach. Anything that makes more people care about animals is cool in my book. Truly sad, but at least he died doing what he loved.

  9. #9 Spidie
    September 4, 2006

    Yeah, i dont think i like him too. While he claims to be a conservationist, i really cant see how he could do that by doing crazy stuns with crocodile and venomous snakes. Anyway, since he had been willing to exchange his life for fame and money, I knew this day will come. I am sorry if that sounds cruel and cold-blooded but i do think at the end of the day, he probably deserves it.

    I just feel very very sad for his wife and children. He is an irresponsible father and husband.

  10. #10 Molly, NYC
    September 4, 2006

    I was genuinely sorry to hear the news. However (and forgive me if this seems in bad taste), some people die after a decade or so of having their diapers changed by people whose faces they can’t recall from one day to the next. Some people die after months, or years even, of profound pain, watching their own bodies turn to meat, bit by bit. As deaths go (and as horrific as it must have been for everyone else involved), Irwin’s wasn’t such a bad exit.

  11. #11 Russell
    September 4, 2006

    Seems to me bothering other animals is a natural primate behavior. Dogs do it, too, but since dogs are domesticated, one can argue that they don’t count.

    But for us primates, that kind of play and curiosity is a natural way of engaging the natural world. One might argue that we’ve grown beyond that. That studying the natural world no longer requires catching snakes and teasing lizards. Steve Irwin perhaps was more the twelve year-old boy who never quite outgrew that, than he was a professional biologist.

    Is the world now so cultivated, that there no longer is room for that?

  12. #12 Kristine
    September 4, 2006

    I’m afraid that I agree with Spidie. Can’t say that I’m surprised. I thought him to be the Timothy Treadwell of TV land. What a shame. What a tragedy for his family.

    But…stabbed in the heart by a stingray? I don’t know much about stingrays, but how does that happen?

  13. #13 Ancarett
    September 4, 2006

    I adored him, even with his over-the-top cheekiness and insane stunts. I adored Steve Irwin because he really cared about getting others to care about animals, particularly the ones who aren’t all cute and fuzzy. For every lyrical documentary by David Attenborough, that put my kids to sleep, Steven Irwin had hours of shows that really enthused my daughters to care about animal conservation.

    It’s sad and tragic that he died so young and with a young family who has to bear the loss, but I know the world’s a richer place because he touched so many people.

  14. #14 jbark
    September 4, 2006

    Man, tough crowd.

    His shows were basically sermons on conservation, punctuated with him doing crazy things.

    That’s okay in my book.

  15. #15 Troutnut
    September 4, 2006

    You can’t draw any comparison between Irwin and Tim Treadwell. Treadwell was a stupid, deluded hippy who decided to chain himself to grizzly bears instead of a tree, and who fought against the Alaska wildlife biologists along with anyone else.

    Irwin was connected to the mainstream of conservation and used his zany personality to further the cause. And it sounds like he wasn’t killed doing something stupid, but in a really freakish unforeseeable accident that could happen to almost any diver.

    I never thought there was anything wrong with his “bothering” animals. In most of the episodes I can remember, he was relocating problem animals anyway. But even when he was just screwing around with them, there’s no harm in that. The critters are unharmed and they’ll forget all about it and go about their business. I don’t really care enough about snakes to be upset when they’re annoyed. In fact, it’s a joke to even think most of the animals Irwin dealt with have “annoyance” in their emotional arsenal. They get a stimulus, they respond to it, then they forget about it. You have to seriously personify them to have any problem with Irwin’s handling.

  16. #16 The Disgruntled Chemist
    September 4, 2006

    His shows were basically sermons on conservation, punctuated with him doing crazy things.

    He was also outspoken against trophy hunting in Australia. Whatever you think of his antics, he definitely was a force for conservationism in Australia and around the world. And having someone on TV who had that genuine love and curiosity for animals was a real positive, in my opinion.

    He’ll be missed.

  17. #17 brent
    September 4, 2006

    I also agree that the Treadwell comparison is not really fair and I realize that I was the first to raise it in this discussion. Treadwell’s problem, at least as I see it, was that he didn’t think of bears as bears. He thought of them as people. He convinced himself that he was a conservationist but the truth is that he was just a lonely man and he projected unto the subect of his observations the motivations and personalities of friends that he would have liked to have known. He thought these animals were his buddies and he found out quite tragically that they were not.

    Irwin did not suffer such delusions and whatever his personal issues, he really was a conservationist with the knowledge and training to act to the benefit of the natural world.

    The only reason I brought up the comparison at all was that I do think that both individuals presented a view of the natural world that I felt was inappropriately “familiar.” I am sure many people here will remember the incident where he held his newborn baby near a crocodile. I am sure he took the proper precautions and that the baby was in no real danger but that kind of stunt misrepresents the relationship between man and nature in a fundamental way. In my opinion, that sort of thing, which he did quite often, was a bad idea.

  18. #18 The Science Pundit
    September 4, 2006

    If I had to die young, I sure wish I would go doing something I loved.

  19. #19 Mark
    September 4, 2006

    For those of you who don’t like him, Spidie especially, you should know that just about all the money he made was used to further conservation causes. He didn’t “exchange his life for fame and money,” he dedicated his life to something, and when fame and money occured as a side-effect of that, he was smart enough to utilize them. His cheesy antics served a legitimate purpose, and through them he accomplished something surprisingly noble.

    Crikey.

  20. #20 Jeff
    September 4, 2006

    I heard this on the radio into work this morning, and it is really sad.

    Personally, I prefer the hands off type documentaries compared to this new crop of shows on the Discovery type channels where the host is in every other shot. It was mainly because I just wanted to see the animals, but I’d also figured they were just asking for trouble, kind of like that shark bite incident a few years ago with Erich Ritter. On the other hand, wasn’t Irwin a herpetologist, anyway. I mean, if you’re routinely handling dangerous snakes for research purposes, or to make antivenom, what’s the extra risk in picking up a few here and there for the cameras? And like someone else commented above, most of his crocodile captures were to relocate animals – something he would have done whether or not there were cameras.

    Besides, he wasn’t killed by one of those aggressive animals – he was killed by a sting ray.

  21. #21 calladus
    September 4, 2006

    Seems to me bothering other animals is a natural primate behavior.

    You mean like a monkey bothering a tiger? Perhaps it is natural to us primates.

    I didn’t always agree with Irwin’s methods (the baby in the crocodile pen? Eek!) But I loved his energy, and how he forced you to notice not just the danger, but the beauty in animals.

    Ya gotta admit, he was about as subtle as a bottle of smelling salts.

  22. #22 Chance
    September 4, 2006

    I am a crocodilian biologist and I can tell you his impact was very large. It had it’s advantages and disadvantages in my field but as a whole he did well by the animals.

    It is a sad day.

  23. #23 romunov
    September 4, 2006

    I always suspected that it’s not going to be a reptile to bid him the end.

    I agree with craig (2nd comment), though.

  24. #24 Krakus
    September 4, 2006

    ‘Tis a sad day indeed. Steve was a real hands-on conservationist. His eccentric style served its purpose insofar that it brought awareness to general public of otherwise “ugly” animals. Popular conservation efforts often centre on cute animals (pandas, koalas, tigers, etc.), but our scaly and slimy breathren are often ignored. Reptiles, fish and amphibians are often accurate barometers of the health of an ecosystem, and a little bit of herpatological harassment is a small price to pay for raising conservation awareness.

  25. #25 garth
    September 4, 2006

    wow, someone dies, let’s have a debate about methods.

    reading craig’s response made me feel physically ill. that’s just screwed up. i hope you like being a catty asswipe about someone dying. that’s just awesome.

  26. #26 Rey Fox
    September 4, 2006

    Danged right. I think he’s always had a genuine enthusisasm that made it impossible to really feel ill will towards the guy, it’s just because of his overexposure a few years ago that everyone got so annoyed at him.

    And I have to say that I agree with Troutnut: animals, particularly wild animals, aren’t like us. Most of them live with the possibility of death any moment. Any encounter they can walk (slither, fly) away from is a good one. A little confinement in the name of providing for the future of the species as a whole is a fine tradeoff.

  27. #27 Russell
    September 4, 2006

    LMAO! Calladus, that film clip of the monkey teasing those two young tigers was great. Yes, I think there is a bit of that monkey in a lot of us. Thanks for posting it.

  28. #28 Rheinhard
    September 4, 2006

    The article I read indicated he got the stingray stinger mid-chest, inducing cardiac arrest instantly. I’m just curious – if he were to have gotten stung somewhere on the extremities, say a leg, would the attack have been more survivable? Or is a stingray sting like a Black Mamba bite, that’s pretty much all she wrote?

  29. #29 Squeaky
    September 4, 2006

    Thanks calladus! I have to admit I was sure it would end badly, but the music in the background should have been a clue. The Steve Irwin of the monkey world!

    I’ve had several encounters like this with my cats, although, of course I wasn’t swinging around the apartment like that.

    Very sad about Irwin.

  30. #30 Dan
    September 4, 2006

    My preference is also more towards the “hands-off” sort of nature documentary (especially when it’s in hi-def on my parents’ big-screen), but there’s absolutely no questioning Irwin’s dedication, knowledge and enthusiasm. The only reason I didn’t watch his show all that much is because for a long time, I couldn’t find Animal Planet on my cable dial.

    He was a major force of protest against one thing that’s always sickened me: big-game trophy hunting. That makes him A-OK in my book.

  31. #31 Jeff
    September 4, 2006

    In my previous post, I mentioned that my personal taste was towards hands-off documentaries. I forgot to write that my daughter, on the other hand, loves the Irwin’s children’s shows. So he was definitely doing good in that respect.

    I also don’t think that I made it clear just how upsetting this is. This is truly a sad day.

  32. #32 Caledonian
    September 4, 2006

    Stringrays aren’t lethal normally – they’re not even particularly threatening or dangerous. It’s not the venom, but the fact that the stinger seems to have penetrated the heart, which is responsible for the death in this case.

  33. #33 Mena
    September 4, 2006

    I was never a big fan of the guy as an entertainer but as a person he did wonderful work and helped a lot of critters out. I hope that his family and foundation will be able to continue to make a difference. I have been working on my MS remotely and some of the classes that I can use as electives are held at the Shedd Aquarium. Most of the people that I’m with work or volunteer in zoos, and no one has ever complained about Steve Irwin. Jeff Corwin on the other hand has a reputation for someone you don’t want to have handling your animals.
    As for the tigers getting pestered by the monkey and it being primate behavior, I found out about this at 5AM, having been pestered for over an hour by my cat. It’s fairly mutual! Nothing like getting a loud mew while the said offender is sitting on your chest. It’s almost as bad as a whisker up your nose. No, nothing is as bad as a whisker up a nose…

  34. #34 Millimeter Wave
    September 4, 2006

    Man, tough crowd.

    No kidding; count me as genuinely shocked and dismayed at some of the posts here.

    Whilst some people might not like his style of television, it can’t be denied that his enthusiasm coupled with his zeal for conservation was a massive force for good, and I hope will continue to be even after his untimely death.

    One question for his detractors: if the Australian lungfish (http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/07/save_the_australian_lungfish.php) had an advocate of the likes of Steve Irwin, would you consider that a bad thing, or a good thing?

  35. #35 Chance
    September 4, 2006

    I would consider it a good thing but it’s not a perfect analogy. Steve elevated awareness about alpha predators to new levels. He was a great champion for conservation.

    If a person makes one see the lungfish as something to be conserved , Crikey thats good news:-)

  36. #36 Llelldorin
    September 4, 2006

    Stringrays aren’t lethal normally – they’re not even particularly threatening or dangerous. It’s not the venom, but the fact that the stinger seems to have penetrated the heart, which is responsible for the death in this case.

    From what I’ve read, it isn’t that they aren’t dangerous, it’s that their venom tends to stay local to the wound. Most people get leg stings by inadvertently stepping on one while wading–you can lose a chunk of your leg muscle doing that, but it generally isn’t fatal. There’s apparently been only a single case of a person being hit in the chest and surviving–you don’t want that venom eating away at your internal organs.

    Any actual marine biologist in here want to comment?

  37. #37 Caledonian
    September 4, 2006

    From the BBC article on the death:

    Attacks on humans are a rarity – only two other people are known to have died in Australia from a stingray attack.

    Experts say that while painful, stingray venom is rarely lethal and it would have been the wound caused by the barb itself which proved fatal.

  38. #38 matthew
    September 4, 2006

    I wish so much that this hadn’t have happened… This is a very sad day, it’s beyond words for me. Steve’s passion is all too rare in this world.

    But seriously, the man died today, what is the point of posting here (or anywhere) just to say “i didn’t like his show, his style bothered me”. Is that really called for? Is it constructive? Is that how he should be remembered by people, as “that crazy crocodile guy”? Apparently, for some people, that’s all he was to them. How sad, how very, very sad, that despite his life’s accomplishments, for some people, it all boiled down to his style on camera, his method for entertainment and education.

    Imagine for just a second what this world might be like if everyone was as passionate about their planet, it’s animals, and it’s people, as he was. It’s people like him that are my inspiration and motivation.

    I just can’t believe it…

  39. #39 Hairhead
    September 4, 2006

    What the FUCK is wrong with someone who says that Steve Irwin DESERVED to die? Deserved? Deserved? Then what about your local rapist, Spidie? Torture first, then death? What about an actual murderer? Kill him, then kill two generations of his family?

    Steve Irwin could be annoying. So he deserved to die. Spidie’s moral sense is pretty fucked up.

    Steve Irwin hated trophy-hunting, emphasized the relocation of endangered alpha-predators, devoted his life and his money to conservation and education. I’d say that’s a good epitaph.

    And it is a great irony for him to die in such a hugely against-the-odds way. He’d have been far more statistically likely to have been killed in a small-plane crash on the way to one of his wilderness filming sites. It is a mercy that his death looks to have been virtually instantaneous.

  40. #40 Jason
    September 4, 2006

    Disappointed to read some of the earlier comments too. I suspect most never really gave his shows a chance.

    For my generation, it was Marlin Perkins and Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom that informed our early enthusiasm for wildlife. But even Marlin “wrestled” with the wildlife once in awhile. It’s worth realizing that the children growing up today with Steve’s enthusiasm will be soon be the grad students of tomorrow. And Steve will have had a greater formative impact on their appreciation of biology than most of us ever will.

    Here are a couple of links worth reading:

    Reptile Magazine interview with Irwin, circa 1998. Note especially his comments about authenticity and being on camera.

    Interesting technical description of a person who was stung in the heart by a stingray and survived

  41. #41 Azkyroth
    September 4, 2006

    I will charitably assume that what spidie, et al meant by “deserved” was that there was a predictable cause and effect connection between his antics and this sort of accident, not that it was right or just.

    I’m rather sorry my daughter won’t have a chance to enjoy his shows; I’ve never been much for television, but they come highly recommended by my mother and brother. Maybe I’ll see if I can find the episodes on video.

  42. #42 craig
    September 4, 2006

    reading craig’s response made me feel physically ill. that’s just screwed up. i hope you like being a catty asswipe about someone dying. that’s just awesome.

    Oh come on. When I read the news, I felt sad for his family, especially his little children. I also felt that in some sense he’s lucky that he died doing what he loved to do.
    Who the hell are you to assume I took some sort of pleasure in his death?

    I commented on his shows, that I didnt care for the style. Why? Because I was discussing current events. If a famous director died, would it be inappropriate to say you didn’t care for his films?

    It’s not like I’m pissing in his casket at his wake for god’s sake. I am a person commenting on a current event in the comments on a blog on the internet – one of millions. Not where the bereaved are congregating.

    Is it necessary to speak in hushed tones?
    Today I saw a headline about a man and woman who were crushed to death by a falling tree. I shuddered, decided I didn’t want to read the article, didn’t want to know the details, and felt sorry for them for a moment. Then I moved on, knowing that people are dying every second – most of whom won’t get even a blurb in a newspaper.

    This is a sad day for his family and his friends. It’s appropriate for people who admired his work to feel compassion for his family, and to think to themselves “that’s a shame, how sad.”

    But if people who had no connection to someone whatsoever are to be proscribed from discussing their impressions of that person’s work with others who also had no connection whatsoever to that person, well that’s a bit much. That’s claiming a familiarity that you haven’t earned.

    Feeling compassion for his family is appropriate. Feeling that a discussion of his work among complete strangers to his family is inappropriate is celebrity worship.

    I don’t go in for celebrity worship. Seems presumptuous to me, self-centered. His family suffered the loss. His friends suffered the loss. Don’t claim their grief as your own, it’s not your right. Sympathy for the family is one thing, but if a complete stranger is so bereaved as to not be able to handle my simply giving my impression of his TV show, then that complete stranger is claiming a familiarity they don;t deserve. Your upset is not about him or his family, its 100% about you.

  43. #43 John M
    September 4, 2006

    We should all live doing what we love and Steve Irwin did. And my daughters, when little, were captivated by his wild Australian bravado. Mild Kingdom would have chased them out of the room.

    Out in “the greenhouse” my daughters and I have over a dozen Queens [Danaus Gilippus] that are in various stages of growth and the one that emerged from its chrysalis today, we released having christened him, Steve Irwin. Hope he would have liked the gesture.

    Note to concerned: the Queen eggs were collected from our garden milkweeds. Danaus Gilippus is natve here.

  44. #44 Kia D
    September 4, 2006

    On one of Steve Irwin’s programs, they were traveling through an outback area that had been burned – parts of it were still smoking. He found a small lizard that had been horribly burned, but was still alive. Irwin stayed with the lizard until it died. He said he didn’t think any creature should die alone. For that, I will always respect him.

  45. #45 ompust
    September 4, 2006

    I’m almost 40. To have lived my life like Irwin would have been amazing. He understood animals better than any other TV personality around. When he handled a snake, he didn’t pin its head to the ground… he held it as gently as anyone could and relied upon his own reflexes and judgment to avoid getting bit.

    I hope Australia Zoo can survive his death.

  46. #46 Carlie
    September 4, 2006

    He did know what he was getting himself into, though, and didn’t seem to mind – NPR played a clip of one of his voice-overs to a video of him getting bitten by a croc, and the entire time he kept saying “It was my fault, it wasn’t the croc’s fault, it was just doing what it should be doing. I was the one in the wrong.” (loosely paraphrased because I have a rotten memory) He at least had a healthy respect for animals and their instincts.

  47. #47 Adam
    September 4, 2006

    “She sank her teeth deep into me leg. What a drama. It’s not her fault. It’s my mistake. I don’t blame her one iota. I should have subdued her jaws better. Now I’m going to bleed a little. So be it.”

  48. #48 jpj
    September 4, 2006

    My 12-year old daughter loved Steve Irwin, she’s really sad about his passing. I kind of caught some of her enthusiasm about him as well.

    He always respected the animals, that was clear. For some reason, I always heard echoes of Linus from the Peanuts cartoons in his voice, “Once, you’ve been chomped by a Queen snake, you’ve had it!”

  49. #49 truth machine
    September 4, 2006

    I’m afraid that I agree with Spidie.

    You agree that he “deserved it”?

    What aholes.

  50. #50 coz
    September 4, 2006

    Poor guy and his poor poor family.
    The first I ever really heard of him was when I went to the USA for the first time in ’99. His show was huge there. I don’t think they were being played much in Australia at that time. Everyone and I do mean everyone did a Steve Irwin Aussie accent at me. It was pretty funny, and I have always enjoyed the whacky reputation that Aussies have overseas.

  51. #51 JackGoff
    September 4, 2006

    He worked in a dangerous job around dangerous animals. He accepted it and loved his job. Did he deserve to die? ABSOLUTLY NOT. Jesus, have some empathy with your arrogance.

  52. #52 JackGoff
    September 4, 2006

    BTW, my comment was addressed to the pricks who said they don’t feel sorry for him because he was annoying. Gag.

  53. #53 Russell
    September 4, 2006

    The most surprising thing about the notion that someone who takes calculated risks therefore deserves it, when he fate deals him a bad hand, is that I saw this exact comment regarding Steve Irwin on a sailing forum where I participate. Now, if any group takes calculated risks, it is those who sail small boats on big waters. But even there, it seems some people have little empathy for someone whose ventures are different from their own. ‘Tis a pity. Steve Irwin was doing something more fun and authentic and worthwhile than most of us can manage. Yet there are still those voices that say “stay,” because there is some risk to it.

    There is more to life than avoiding death.

  54. #54 Kristine
    September 4, 2006

    You agree that he “deserved it”?

    Well, no–I’m sorry, I meant the “irresponsible” part. I certainly did not like that antic with his child in the crocodile area. That turned me off major time and a lot of other people, too.

  55. #55 Ichthyic
    September 4, 2006

    The most surprising thing about the notion that someone who takes calculated risks therefore deserves it, when he fate deals him a bad hand, is that I saw this exact comment regarding Steve Irwin on a sailing forum where I participate.

    actually, the most surprising thing is that most appear to think Irwin died as a result of doing something risky, when in reality it was just a freak accident.

    Saying swimming in a shallow reef area where rays frequent is “risky” is the same as saying that taking a swim off of a typical temperate sandy beach in the summer is “risky”.

    lot of rays around those areas too.

    or comparing to the sailors, it would rather be like expecting a hard-core racer to meet their end by being bashed in the head by a swinging boom, or drowning, and instead they die of a blood infection resulting from being pricked in the foot by a nail while walking down the dock to their boat.

    It’s actually a testament to Irwin’s handling skills that he never lost his life nor limb to one of the crocs he was so fond of.

    NOBODY could have really expected that Irwin would be taken out by a stingray barb to the heart, no matter how “risky” one might think his behavior to be.

    I personally found his manner of death to be quite ironic, rather than “expected”.

    *shrug*

  56. #56 Sam
    September 4, 2006

    People are mixing things up here. Suppose Irwin had gotten clobbered by an outboard motor prop instead of by a sting ray. Dead just the same, too bad, accident, no one wished him ill. This is different from observing that the educational value of his shows was near zero. “Serves him right” is not a fair sentiment in either case.

  57. #57 Michael
    September 4, 2006

    I’d always regarded him as a bit of a clown until I got to see his Australia Zoo in Queensland. I don’t think it’d be going too far to say that he and all the staff love those animals they have, and have gone to huge lengths to create an environment for the rest of us to see them, if not in the wild then in an environment that’s as close to it as possible given tourism’s constraints.
    All the way through the zoo the conservation and preservation of the wild habitat messages are raised and explained again and again – you’re left with no uncertainty as to how important they regard it.
    We are the poorer for his passing.

  58. #58 truth machine
    September 5, 2006

    Well, no–I’m sorry, I meant the “irresponsible” part.

    Yeah, right, because you know so much about him. Why don’t you write a letter to his family telling them how upset you are about his being “an irresponsible father and husband”? I’m sure they’ll really appreciate it.

  59. #59 truth machine
    September 5, 2006

    From Steve Irwin’s Wikipedia entry (emphasis added):

    Irwin claimed that any danger to his son was only a perceived danger and that he was in complete control of the situation, and consistently refused to apologise for his actions despite public outcry, by some, both in Australia and abroad. His defenders pointed to his many decades of hands-on professional experience and direct interaction with crocodiles, as well as his well-known devotion to his responsibilities as a father. Terri Irwin claimed that their child was in no more real danger than a child being taught to swim would be.

    Also,

    Irwin was as enthusiastic about his family as he was about his work. He once described his daughter Bindi as “the reason he was put on the Earth”. His wife Terri once said, “The only thing that could ever keep him away from the animals he loves are the people he loves even more.”

    So, Kristine, have you ever driven while talking on a cellphone? That would be extremely irresponsible toward any children in the vicinity.

  60. #60 Kristine
    September 5, 2006

    Truth machine, you have visited my blog and I assume that you can read. No, I do not drive at all, and when I did I would not even play the fucking radio. I would not even let my mind wander. You know so much about me. I do not have a working cell phone at this point; no, I would never use one while driving. Does that answer your question? Again you know so much about me.

    I sincerely apologize for being so flip. I did not mean it at all. I think too that I asked a reasonable question and it was answered, thought certainly not by you. However, are you the same person who took me to task on another site for saying that if I were God no child would die of disease, starvation, or murder? That was not good enough for you either.

    Would you back off of me now please? Seriously back off. You are fucking scaring me.

  61. #61 Ichthyic
    September 5, 2006

    TM, just because Irwin and his wife justify his behavior with his experience in handling the animals, doesn’t mean it wasn’t still an unecessary risk to bring his child into the pen with a croc.

    ask any elephant trainer about how “predictable” dangerous animals like elephants can be.

    I still think it was Irwin’s business how he chose to expose his own kids to risk, but that doesn’t mean there was not risk there, and whether he loved his kids or not has nothing to do with it.

    Any parent might react exactly as Kristine did, I know my own would.

    One does begin to wonder exactly what your point is in berating Kristine over and over?

  62. #62 Dan
    September 5, 2006

    One does begin to wonder exactly what your point is in berating Kristine over and over?

    Oh, lay off. He’s just trying to show us how much better he is than we are.

  63. #63 truth machine
    September 5, 2006

    you have visited my blog

    No, I haven’t.

    You know so much about me

    I didn’t say anything about you; I asked a question. My point was that you put forth quite a judgement about a man who has died in a tragic accident and about whom you know very little.

    However, are you the same person who took me to task on another site for saying that if I were God no child would die of disease, starvation, or murder?

    Perhaps; I don’t recall.

  64. #64 truth machine
    September 5, 2006

    TM, just because Irwin and his wife justify his behavior with his experience in handling the animals, doesn’t mean it wasn’t still an unecessary risk to bring his child into the pen with a croc.

    Nor did I say it does; I offered it as background, especially the part I bolded.

    One does begin to wonder exactly what your point is in berating Kristine over and over?

    I love the smell of hyperbole in the morning. I objected to the comment that Irwin “deserves it”. Kristine clarified that she didn’t agree with that, but said that she agreed that Irwin was “an irresponsible father and husband”. I objected to that too, and suggested that perhaps she too has done things that could be viewed as irresponsible; but I doubt that she would appreciate being referred to as an irresponsible person if she were to suffer a tragic death. That’s my point, and I believe it is and was clear.

  65. #65 truth machine
    September 5, 2006

    No, I haven’t.

    Sorry, upon clicking on Kristine’s blog I recognize it, but I didn’t associate it with her name and but I don’t remember when I visited it or what I wrote. When I wrote what I did in this thread, it had nothing to do with any prior knowledge about Kristine; it was directed solely at her comments here, and I would have the same reaction regardless of who wrote them.

  66. #66 truth machine
    September 5, 2006

    BTW, the only thing google comes up with for “amused muse”+”truth machine” is

    http://amused-muse.blogspot.com/2006/07/missionary-position.html#c115473749139052368
    “Good point, truth machine!”

    I guess sometimes we agree and sometimes we don’t.

  67. #67 Kristine
    September 5, 2006

    No I haven’t [visited]
    Oh, yes you have!

    I didn’t say anything about you

    Oh, yes you did. You agree that he “deserved it”?
    What aholes.

    I don’t recall.

    I do.

    Wow, you’re some truth machine. After my third apology, will the dead rise? (Probably before someone else apologizes.)

    Night night.

  68. #68 Ichthyic
    September 5, 2006

    Nor did I say it does; I offered it as background, especially the part I bolded.

    looks to me like you didn’t offer it as background, you offered it as point of argument against the idea that Irwin’s behavior was irresponsible (THAT’S why you bolded it).

    and it doesn’t suffice in support of the arugment that he is a “responsible parent” one way or the other.

    which was my point.

    I love the smell of hyperbole in the morning

    I tend to think you like the smell of it whenever and wherever, considering how often you utilize it yourself.

    Kristine is perfectly justified, based on the example cited, of concluding a level of “irresponsibility” on the part of Irwin in that instance. Whether you agree with her or not is another issue, but the cites you provide do not provide objective evidence one way or the other.

    However, that’s neither here nor there. There are an awful lot of parents that would consider the way Irwin handles himself around dangerous animals to be irresponsible.

    If you really want to get into it, AP showed a nice history of Steve all day today. there were certainly a great many instances where he could have handled himself in a less reckless fashion.

    here’s one specific example:

    right after he got married (like the day after), he and his wife were out somewhere in the australian bush, she went for a “squat”, and ran across a large black snake.

    Black snakes are very venemous, and she was obviously freaked out and asking Steve to get rid of the thing.

    did Steve simply shoo it away?

    nope.

    he had to actually catch the thing (almost got bit twice) and talk about it on camera, while his wife was shrieking in the background.

    many ways he could have dealt with that, and casual persusal of segments of his TV show indicate similar approaches that most would consider to be a bit reckless, if not irresponsible.

    It’s really not a surprise then, that many would make the larger conclusion that he was generally an irresponsible bloke.

    Steve even admits his own irresponsibility at times, like when he got bit badly by that croc and admitted it was his fault.

    *shrug*

    so again, is your point really to chastize Kristine for painting Steve with a brush that he damn near paints himself with most of the time?

    associating the issue with “tragic death” is the hyberbole here, isn’t it?

  69. #69 truth machine
    September 5, 2006

    are you the same person who took me to task on another site for saying that if I were God no child would die of disease, starvation, or murder?

    I found the comment you’re referring to, and no, I did not, not even close. You said nothing about what you would do if you were God, but rather what God would have to do for you to believe in God. And I pointed out that it’s not surprising that you expect God to have your values, but there’s no particular reason to expect God to have those values; for instance, from the POV of a parasite, God might be believable if there were lots of babies available as convenient sources of nutrition. I certainly didn’t take you to task for not wanting children to suffer.

  70. #70 truth machine
    September 5, 2006

    Oh, yes you have!

    Please my post 14 minutes earlier than yours where I acknowledged that.

    I do.

    But, as I explained immediately above, I didn’t say anything like what you claim I said.

  71. #71 truth machine
    September 5, 2006

    THAT’S why you bolded it

    No, I bolded it to counter the claim that he’s an irresponsible father and husband; that was the point of the other section I posted, which was about his feelings toward his daughter.

    *shrug*

    No more impressive than when that other jackass says it.

    associating the issue with “tragic death” is the hyberbole here, isn’t it?

    Not according to my dictionary.

  72. #72 truth machine
    September 5, 2006

    Kristine is perfectly justified, based on the example cited, of concluding a level of “irresponsibility” on the part of Irwin in that instance.

    The statement that she agreed with was not just about that instance: “I just feel very very sad for his wife and children. He is an irresponsible father and husband.”

    Did he endanger his wife in that croc pen? That comment appears to refer to the incident that caused his death.

    Since this debate, such as it is one, is not productive, I’ll echo Kristine and say “night night”.

  73. #73 Ichthyic
    September 5, 2006

    Since this debate, such as it is one, is not productive

    hey, it was your “debate”, you were the one who chose to challenge Kristine on her contentions. I’m merely questioning your arguments, and your motives.

    However, you are right that it’s fairly pointless to continue this discussion with you, and I’m more than happy to drop the subject if you are.

  74. #74 Azkyroth
    September 5, 2006

    SHUT UP! FOR THE LOVE OF VAGINA, SHUT UP!

    And that’s coming from someone who enjoys a good argument.

  75. #75 Dstopak
    September 5, 2006

    The clip of the “monkey” calladus posted is actually an ape,a gibbon to be precise. I’d like to know more about the circumstances behind that video. That gibbon has attitude, showing no respect and even disdain for the tigers. The tigers are young though, so maybe the gibbon knew the risk wasn’t as great is it appears. More like Evel Kneivel than Irwin.

  76. #76 Hank Fox
    September 5, 2006

    Those of you commenting about Tim Treadwell, I’ll bet your whole opinion of him comes from the “Grizzly Man” movie, and all the commentary that flowed out of it.

    The movie was a well-contrived hit piece, a consumer product deliberately DESIGNED to make you sneer.

    Pat yourselves on the back for the sharpness of your manufactured insight, and don’t worry too much about the independent thought thingie.

  77. #77 Pinchbeck
    September 5, 2006

    A sad day indeed. He’ll really be missed.

    I’ll miss this blog, too, but I’m off somewhere else. PZ, you’re commenters are currently doing you no favours. I can’t be bothered any more with what appears to be bigger arsesholes than Goatse’s.

  78. #78 truth machine
    September 6, 2006

    Pat yourselves on the back for the sharpness of your manufactured insight, and don’t worry too much about the independent thought thingie.

    Given that you have no basis for your claims of the nature of people’s beliefs, and have offered no facts or evidence, …

  79. #79 Chris Clarke
    September 11, 2006

    The movie was a well-contrived hit piece, a consumer product deliberately DESIGNED to make you sneer.

    Are we thinking of the same movie, Hank? The Herzog movie hired Tim’s best friend Jewel as executive producer or somesuch.