I’m not going to mock Steve Irwin’s death, but I have to say it’s not all that surprising. The man made a career out of chasing down animals — some of them quite dangerous — and getting as close to them as he possibly could. He had a way of insisting he wasn’t harming them, but he was putting them under stress. (As Cartman had it, it really pissed them off.)
Apparently he was doing some promos for another upcoming kids’ program during downtime at the Great Barrier Reef when he swam too close to a submerged stingray. It seems there was videotape captured of Irwin pulling the barb out of his chest, which is more than a little creepy.
I have to admit to enjoying his various programs over the years, but it’s always been a sort of queasy enjoyment, a bit of a guilty pleasure. While I like the way he (presumably) raised awareness of nature’s diversity and respect for the various creatures in the world, I’ve always thought his methodology was a bit … extreme.
The weird part about it was that a stingray is what did him in. Not an exotic, poisonous snake, arachnid, jellyfish or such, but a relatively shy, not particularly aggressive creature. Evidently the barb perforated his heart.
It’s akin to an explosives expert, someone who’s worked all his life with nitroglycerine, TNT and plastique, being run over by the crosstown bus.
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