Monday, September 04, 2006

"It's Poo!": Why I loved Steve Irwin

As you've probably heard, Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, was killed by a stingray today in Australia at the age of 44. I'm sure tons of posts will be written on the guy who almost fed his baby to a crocodile, or the guy who got what was coming to him after years of poking at poisonous animals. Which, ok, fine. I found the South Park parody as hilarious as everyone else. ("I'm gonna jam my thumb in his butthole right now...that should reeeally piss him off!" Ha!) Still, his larger contributions shouldn't be overlooked.

Full disclosure: I'm a huge Steveo fan--have been for many years. I own not only The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course, but also the autobiographical Steve's Story (that's right--I'm that hardcore). I also gave out Crocodile Hunter valentines my sophomore year of college ("Crikey! Would you be my valentine?"). But my own personal fervor aside, no one has done more lately to get people excited about learning about nature than Steve Irwin.

While the animal lover in me sometimes cringed when he pulled a snake out of its hiding space, or threw himself on top of a crocodile, I loved that he could also get jazzed up about stuff like teaching us about animal scat ("[big sniff]...It's poo!"). His enthusiasm for nature, animals, and conservation was transferred to all his viewers via his incredible charisma. Steve showed millions of people everything exciting and worth preserving out there in the big wild, often putting himself in danger to do so, which made his documentary show seem more like an action movie. (How else could a nature show find such huge success these days?)

He leaves behind him a highly successful Animal Planet, a renewed public interest in learning about and conserving nature, and at least one fan who can't decide if a memorial viewing of Collision Course would be cathartic or way too depressing.


Lori said...

He gave us all a Steve-O education, which is not a bad legacy to leave. Thanks, Steve.

Colleen said...

I also waxed philosophically on him on my website. :(

Just days before the accident, i was watching an episode where he was off the west coast of the country talking about shark and turtle conservation and research efforts. Very cool. But my favorite part was when they were tracking down turtles to check their ID tags and record them. They were loggerheads and these suckers were booking it through the water, as fast as the small outboard-motored boat. In the voiceover steve was talking about this, and then said, "So in order to catch them, theres really only one way to go about it..." and then on screen he yells a characteristic "Wooooo!" and BELLYFLOPS off the bow of the boat to tackle the turtle underwater. It was beyond awesome. When i remember him, ill always remember moments like that.

Liz said...

If you think THAT'S something, you should see him tackle a croc like that! He's, like, the definition of hardcore.