Steve Irwin Follow Up

A quick follow up to yesterday’s tragic news that Steve Irwin, the Croc Hunter of television fame whose catch-phrase “Crikey” became a common fixture among conversation with my friends…and I’m sure a gazillion other guys…died yesterday after being stabbed by a stingray.

First, we have news…not surprising, really…that the death was caught on tape. They were filming a TV show after all. But it is interesting to note that Irwin, snorkeling in the shot, pulled the stingray barb from his own chest before having his heart stopped and dying. I also noted in the Post today that the hole in his heart was said to be “palm-sized” which I found amazing since, well, my palm at least is quite large. The second bit of Irwin-related news comes from our own Jason Calacanis who wrote a rather, if you’ll excuse the pun, pointed commentary this morning suggesting that the Discovery Channel and its managers basically killed Irwin themselves by promoting, supporting, pushing these kind of dangerous animal documentaries.

Jason points to a new shark show where the head guy is apparently a doofus, can hardly dive and gets in the water with a Great White just for the titillation of the audience. Wouldn’t surprise me…and I confess I WANT to see this, thereby proving Jason’s point that we are all blood-hungry media consumers. Is he correct?

Yeah, maybe. His example of Running Man, the film featuring a psychopathic game show host (played wonderfully/cheesily by Richard Dawson) is quite apropos. It is just a few short steps, perhaps, from Survivor and Extreme Fighting and Shark Week to gladiators, lions and Christians in the coliseum. But is death by stingray…something that could have happened in a Travel Channel story about snorkeling in Hawaii…and example of that kind of excess? I’m not sure. It sounds to me a lot like bad luck. But maybe that’s Jason’s point. Irwin pushed it and pushed it for so long, with the hand-rubbing willingness of the Discovery folks, that eventually whether by sting ray, shark, croc or bagel knife, he was bound to hurt himself. What do you think?