AnalogKid

Deo volente.

Steve Irwin … The Crocodile Hunter

Following is a comment that I put up at IB. No real changes. I hesitated to make a post out of it, but it says some things that probably won’t get said anywhere else, and they need to be. Finding a person like Irwin on a medium like television is a little astonishing: he was everything that media should be but almost never is. And because of that, there will be a lot of armchair quarterbacking and second guessing. But I’ll miss the guy, and I grieve for the family he leaves behind.

Let’s face it. This guy was exactly what we all love about Aussies – he was straight forward, fun-loving. Would have been a great buddy in a bar fight, and just the right guy to make fun of you when you were down. He was a sincere, enthusiastic, earnest commentator on wildlife – someone who brought millions miles closer to nature and wildlife than any eco-green-granola puke could or would ever do. With his honesty, he embodied “conservation” rather than “self-immolation” by showing human’s responsibility for the wildlife and the world around them.And he did it without being preachy or condescending.
 
He was -again- earnest at a time and in a field where everyone tries to tack on earnestness to lend gravitas to the subject. But he recognized that the beauty of nature didn’t need him to lend his weight – he could let it be what it was, which was dangerous and beautiful. He never tried to make it into anything beyond that, neither an unpaid debt on the part of humanity or a safe, sanitary beauty that we could afford to disrespect.
 
Sadly, that dangerous beauty caught up with him. I feel quite strongly that this was neither a surprise nor something that he would have considered unfair. This was the risk every time he did the show, or when he practiced his craft. Would you say the odds caught up with him? I wouldn’t – statistics are for purveyors and audiences.
 
He was not a bystander by any definition, but an active, engaged person doing what he wanted to do. The requisite dangers were neither more nor less because he was involved – they were just part of being engaged. At the same time, his feats never seemed to build walls between himself and his world – I would bet that you could have grabbed a beer with him on any day of the week, or if he blew you off, it wouldn’t have been paltry vanity, but his need to do something else. And you sense that he was just as earnest and committed in his family life – more’s the loss for his wife and children.
 
I will sincerely miss him, because he was entertainment with values and qualities that are sorely lacking in most of our modern pop culture. You and I got to explore both nature and Irwin’s own salt-of-the-earth qualities. It was fun to watch Steve test the world around him in the same way that it’s fun to watch my children explore. At the same time, it was enlightening to watch a master perform his craft – with simplicity and humbleness, expertise and enthusiasm.

This is my favorite speech from Theodore Roosevelt, and words that I try to live by. I think Irwin would have liked it.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. Shame on the man of cultivated taste who permits refinement to develop into fastidiousness that unfits him for doing the rough work of a workaday world.” – Theodore Roosevelt, Speech at the Sorbonne, April 13, 1910.

Here’s to ya mate. Go get ‘em. God Bless.

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September 5, 2006 - Posted by | Art and Aesthetic

5 Comments »

  1. Yeah, it was worth posting on it’s own. Very good essay.

    Comment by Retired Geezer | September 5, 2006 | Reply

  2. Thanks RG.

    Comment by John | September 5, 2006 | Reply

  3. Great eulogy.

    Comment by Elzbth | September 6, 2006 | Reply

  4. He was not a bystander by any definition, but an active, engaged person doing what he wanted to do. The requisite dangers were neither more nor less because he was involved – they were just part of being engaged. At the same time, his feats never seemed to build walls between himself and his world – I would bet that you could have grabbed a beer with him on any day of the week, or if he blew you off, it wouldn’t have been paltry vanity, but his need to do something else. And you sense that he was just as earnest and committed in his family life – more’s the loss for his wife and children.

    Comment by friend | September 23, 2006 | Reply

  5. Thanks!,

    Comment by Pwuhjouf | December 13, 2008 | Reply


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