Monday, September 04, 2006

[your cliche here]

I tried really hard not to post about this today. I mean really hard. But, you know, it just couldn't be helped.

I'd like to start by saying that of course, it's a terrible thing that someone is a widow tonight, and that two small children have lost their father. But, really, can't the media response be tempered, just a little bit? The main offenders, naturally, were GMTV. As far as television's favourite tabloid news programme was concerned, this story was clearly an absolute gift. There was no other news this morning as far as they were concerned. The problem was, they really couldn't decide what angle they were coming at it from.

Should they focus on Steve the family man? Brave conservationist, friend of the animals, Australia's favourite son? Well yes, and for a minute they did. He was altruistic, outspoken, a true ambassador for his cause. Then it was off for a frenzy of Daily Mail-shock how-could-he photo montages of Steve Irwin variously poking snakes with a stick, baiting large lizards and waving his month-old son at a crocodile. He was irresponsible, egotistical and blinded by the reflected glare of his own fame. Yes! That was it! Except, oh...hang on! Here comes a random third-rate celebrity to talk about how only the good are taken so young....and bang! We've segued into a lovely, heartwarming piece about how Gloria Hunniford's widowed son-in-law is getting married again and how Gloria's all fine with that. Restores your faith in human nature, doesn't it?

GMTV were also at the forefront of the "at least he died doing something he loved" brigade. Now this, I don't buy. He might well have been having a lovely time, swimming around with deadly misunderstood stingrays, but since the net result was travelling home in a box I'm pretty sure he'd rather have spent the morning going over his tax return, or doing the grocery shopping, or something.

As for the grief tourists, well. They're out in force. The BBC news site started a comments page for "tributes", and is currently running to thirty six pages! Thirty six! It's a little bit beyond me, that's all. On the other hand, maybe it's in no better taste to lean the other way.

I'll leave you with pasty, pragmatic Ray Mears' take on the whole thing*. Ray doesn't have many friends, I don't think. I can sort of see why. Not content with opining that "the incident served as a warning that some things in nature should be left alone", he felt moved to add that

".....he clearly took a lot of risks and television encouraged him to do that," Mr Mears said. "The voyeurism we are seeing on television has a cost and it's that cost Steve Irwin's family are paying today."

Thanks Ray, for those kind words. I'm sure the family take great comfort.

* Ray whittled this response into a piece of solid oak that he had hewn from the living trunk using a saw fashioned from flint, hazel twigs and his own semen. Ray Mears currently lives alone. In a ditch. In Slough.


Anonymous Anonymous chimed in with...

I didn't know that he had dieded. I was just stickin' the same comment on my own blog and the blogs of my friends. the comment was "fuck them, and all that sail in them" but somehow on hitting your blog at random from the "Next blog" button this seems to fit, in a funny sort of way. He was a fackin' scwewy bastid tho'!

04 September, 2006 21:23  
Blogger First Nations chimed in with...

i cant help but think that his youngest is feeling a bit relieved tonight.

05 September, 2006 03:42  
Anonymous Anonymous chimed in with...

Doubtless the Beeb will either rerun all past films of him or, more likely, take the opportunity on the kiddies channel to rerun that ole puppet show 'Stingray' :-(

A. Sinnik

05 September, 2006 05:22  
Blogger Betty chimed in with...

Oh God, GMTV is aimed at the terminally stupid but it is addictive. I know I should listen to the Today programme, but ... remember the time Princess Diana died and Fiona Phillips wore her (only) black mourning suit all week until the lapels started to curl up?

If Ian Huntley kicks the bucket, then no doubt we will have to put up with a re-run of the sickest big news coup story of all time. Yuck.

05 September, 2006 09:33  
Anonymous Other Half chimed in with...

This is only slightly less annoying than the shit storm surrounding Princess Di's death. I cannot believe fucktards still keep banging on about a conspiracy theory...SHE'S FUCKING DEAD YOU PRICKS...leave it alone.

Besides she was a pointless, vacuous bitch who did nothing but drain the national economy while contributing nothing !!!

05 September, 2006 09:33  
Blogger SkookumJoe chimed in with...

the irony is that there was no hype to the man himself. What you saw was pretty much what he was, just a guy doing his thing. Like him or not, there was nothing phony about him.

05 September, 2006 10:47  
Blogger GreatSheElephant chimed in with...

I don't know who this Mears chap is but I'm kind of with him on this one.

05 September, 2006 11:00  
Blogger Billy chimed in with...

A friend has met Ray Mears. Apparently he wears the khaki stuff at all times. I asked my friend if Mears whittled anything during their meeting and he gave me a funny look.

05 September, 2006 11:08  
Blogger The Murphmeister chimed in with...

Other Half: We won't rest until the Duke of Edinburgh is brought to book for hacksawing the brake pipes. We know where he lives!

05 September, 2006 11:34  
Blogger tom909 chimed in with...

Thank you Surly for saying all that. I wanted to say something similar but I'm desperately trying to lighten up my blog at the moment.
How many Iraqis died today and does anyone give a shit.

05 September, 2006 11:38  
Blogger Fifi chimed in with...

I just hate the way the television media pounce on this sort of death story with such undisguised relish.

05 September, 2006 13:53  
Blogger Geoff chimed in with...

I blame Paul Hogan.

"THIS is a knife!"

"Do you know the way to Cockfosters?"
"Drink it warm, mate."

And Ant & Dec and Janet Street Porter.

We're all to blame in a way.

05 September, 2006 14:00  
Blogger tom909 chimed in with...

Come on Geoff, I'm not buying into collective responsibility on this one, or any other for that matter. I never did understand why Jesus dies for my sins - fuck, I was only five when I had that laid on me, and I hadn't even committed any by then.

05 September, 2006 14:06  
Anonymous Anonymous chimed in with...

Ray Mears is an arse but the winner for least sentimental media quip, is…. Germaine Greer,

“The animal world has finally taken its revenge on Irwin”

05 September, 2006 15:38  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

i quite liked germaine greer's article - it was refreshingly lucid.

"tributes" on the have your say on the bbc website are at 80 pages and counting....

and i read in a guardian article that some australians in this country will be donning blond mullet wigs and khaki work shirts to go out for a memorial beer or nine. as tributes go, that's probably my favourite so far.

05 September, 2006 18:31  
Blogger Fisigirl chimed in with...

I kind of like Ray Mears...:-)

05 September, 2006 18:37  
Blogger Geoff chimed in with...

Sorry Tom, I was only taking the piss.

Jesus wouldn't have taken on a stingray.

05 September, 2006 20:00  
Blogger DavetheF chimed in with...

I found the Guardian's responses pissy and astonishingly meanspirited. The guy died ina very unlucky accident and his family must be devastated. What the fuck has he done to all of you? Get a life! I'm not coming back here.

05 September, 2006 20:12  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

um, suit yourself, but i never slagged steve irwin off, just the media response.


05 September, 2006 20:20  
Blogger Arabella chimed in with...

At this point I can wheel in the rattley tea trolly and be mother, if you like?

06 September, 2006 04:27  
Anonymous kristy chimed in with...

They've been pretty restrained in the coverage of this story here in America. How on Earth did that happen, eh?

06 September, 2006 06:23  
Blogger Fifi chimed in with...

The media here pounce on any death story with undisguised relish, and then milk it for as long as they can (hence, Princess Diana - 9 years and counting).

06 September, 2006 10:16  
Blogger the plate invigilator chimed in with...

Within hours of the news breaking, my friend overheard her five-year-old son and his friend playing "you be the crocodile hunter and I'll be the stingray. Now I'll kill you."

A somewhat unsentimental response from the younger generation.

06 September, 2006 11:13  
Blogger tom909 chimed in with...

yes, I love it!

06 September, 2006 11:28  
Blogger The Swearing Lady chimed in with...

Actually, that was pretty spot on, Surly Female. I can't help but feel bad for the poor fucker. He was a likeable bloke.


06 September, 2006 14:58  
Blogger tom909 chimed in with...

True he was, but so is pretty much every other fucker that dies too.

06 September, 2006 15:41  
Blogger Perry Neeham chimed in with...

Thank God I didn't get here earlier: The Other Half, tom909 and Surly have nearly said it all for me.

Keep your eyes open for completely unsubstantiated follow up conspiacy stories in the Mail and the Express.


06 September, 2006 16:43  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

what, like an exclusive from the mail showcasing mohammed al fayed's theory that prince philip hand-reared the stingray, and MI6 officers ghosted it to ensure extreme sanctions..

hello? daily mail recruitment desk? i demand a job.

06 September, 2006 19:14  
Blogger james henry chimed in with...

Hurray for Ray (Mears, not Sting). I have to be honest and say yes, very sad that he died, but he was just a bit too fond of showing how manly he was by wrestling things that probably just wanted to be left alone...

07 September, 2006 14:20  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

mr henry! get a life! i'm not coming back here.


07 September, 2006 19:49  

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