[csaa-forum] Steve Irwin, RIP

stephen crofts crofts5 at hotmail.com
Fri Sep 15 14:14:44 CST 2006

Dear All,

Thanks to Mel for your call for some analysis of responses to the death of 
Steve Irwin.  Maybe I could just suggest a few thoughts that may encourage 
discussion?  These might be under the rubric:  “Unhappy the land that needs 
heroes” (Brecht).

Peter Beattie offered a state funeral, which the Irwin family declined.  The 
man who has displaced the Governor-General in photo ops with Australian 
human success stories, John Howard, pronounced the nation’s condolences.  
Why would politicians be so keen to be associated?

In the longer historical term, I guess the depth of outpouring would draw on 
the ongoing Australian myth of man trying to control outback/nature.  Hence 
Irwin as a kind of ecologically updated – and real - Crocodile Dundee.

And like Dundee Hogan, Irwin has given Australia fame in the USA.

The mainstream media, including the ABC, clearly have a craze for celebrity. 
  And particularly with orgies of mourning for them:  Princess Diana, the 
Pope, the King of Tonga, et al.

Do we need heroes more now than, say, a decade ago (aside from the monthly 
fluctuations arising from whether Australian sports teams have won or lost 
in big international competitions)?  Maybe.  The economy is in decline, as 
witness balloning household debt levels.  And there are some signs of a 
serious cultural malaise in recent years.

Stephen Crofts,
Centre for Critical & Cultural Studies,
University of Queensland.

>From: Melissa Gregg <m.gregg at uq.edu.au>
>To: csaa-forum at lists.cdu.edu.au
>Subject: [csaa-forum] Steve Irwin, RIP
>Date: Fri, 15 Sep 2006 09:24:28 +1000
>Dear Cultural Studies academics of Australasia,
>Please explain:
>Irwin memorial tickets predicted to sell out in minutes
>Police expect tickets for Steve Irwin's public memorial service to be  
>allocated within minutes when they become available this morning at  9am 
>Hundreds of people have been queuing throughout the night at Ticketek  
>outlets in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast and Australia Zoo in south- east 
>There is a four-ticket per person limit on the tickets and a head  count by 
>police has confirmed that all of the tickets at Australia  Zoo have now 
>been accounted for.
>Five-and-a-half-thousand tickets are being made available for the  public 
>farewell that will be held at the Zoo's Crocoseum next Wednesday.
>Jay-Anne Hughes was first in line at Maroochydore's Ticketek office.
>"I wanted to guarantee that we would we were able to go on Wednesday  and I 
>was actually supposed to be having a baked dinner at my mum's  house, but I 
>saw it on the news that people had started lining up so  I missed the baked 
>dinner and shot down here and luckily I was here  before anyone," she said.
>Interesting, isn't it, that the baked dinner still seems to be the  
>ultimate sacrifice in our culture (remember when Tom Cruise couldn't  even 
>generate the same noble gesture? How times have changed...)
>M Gregg
>Dr. Melissa Gregg
>Postdoctoral Research Fellow
>Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies
>Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies
>School of English, Media Studies and Art History
>University of Queensland 4072
>CRICOS provider number: 00025B
>ph     61 7 3346 9762
>mob  61 4 1116 5706
>fax    61 7 3365 7184
>discussion list of the cultural studies association of australasia
>change your subscription details at 

More information about the csaa-forum mailing list