Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Crikey! Bad Taste and Stupidity!
Greer's Posthumous Attacks on Croc Hunter Cruel and, Well, Pathetic

I should've bet money on it.

After the untimely demise of Steve "The Croc Hunter" Irwin last weekend, I was wondering how long it would take for someone to try to exploit the tragedy for personal gain.

Well, that was quick.

So Germaine Greer, the one-time darling of the Women's Movement who would later turn transexual-bashing into a near-art form, has officially become the first nut to fall from the media tree.

In Tuesday's Guardian, Greer decided that, well, it's okay to pick on a dead man if it gets you media attention, claiming that "the animal world has finally taken its revenge on Irwin."

Greer's 15 minutes of fame were up a long time ago. And she knows it. In fact, she's spent much of the last three decades publishing various histrionic diatribes against everything from the Lord of the Rings to reality television in a desperate attempt to somehow reclaim her 1970s popularity.

Sure, Greer wrote The Female Eunuch. And that book alone earned her the right to be called one of the leading Feminist authors of the latter-half of the 20th century. But writing one landmark book does not guarantee an immortal shelf-life, nor does it give anyone the right to turn one man's tragic death into a publicity stunt.

Will Greer back down? Oh no. She's savoring every moment of it. After all, what self-described "supergroupie" doesn't strive for media exposure?

Sure, Irwin faced controversy in his lifetime. But, seriously, who would you trust to handle a kid and to feed a carnivore simultaneously? Your father or someone who spent their entire life handling crocodiles and exotic reptiles?

As for Greer's "defense" of those poor, helpless creatures that Irwin supposedly "tormented..."

You know, I can think of maybe a dozen or so folks in entertainment who I'd consider globally recognized leaders of the conservation/wildlife protection movement...and Greer ain't one of 'em.

Irwin, with his Aw Shucks charm and ability to bring an almost childlike curiosity into tens of millions of homes worldwide, made things like wildlife management, ecology, endangered species protection entertaining - and important - for a whole hell of a lot of children.

Since Irwin's death, I've had several dozen people tell me about how their daughters were devastated by the loss. Irwin and his wife, Terri, were their heroes.

And some of these young daughters plan on growing up to be veterinarians, doctors, park rangers, and zoologists, in part because they grew up watching a happy-go-lucky Aussie who used words like Crikey! and loved animals.

Maybe Greer wants to explain to these young women - brilliant all - why she felt the need to sit atop her Ivory Tower, protected by a lifetime of academia and savvy marketing, and attack their hero?

Let's be blunt here. The world needs more Women of Science. The human race needs its female segment to become engineers, anthropologists, botanists, chemists, surgeons, architects, astronauts, and conservationists. This isn't a matter of suffrage or "women's rights;" the advancement of scientific research and scholarship is vital to the survival of this planet.

We need more women like Joy Adamson. We need the next Rachel Carson. And we're gonna need thousands of women with the programming genius of Rear Adm. Grace Hopper - you wouldn't be reading this blog right now had Hopper never been inspired by someone to help invent computer science.

The world does not need another retired academic, bloated from decades' worth of ego and bourgeois praise, wilted and stuck in the trenches of 1970s Western gender warfare. The world does not need another "activist" celebrity. Humanity could do without another cult-of-personality "Feminist" more concerned with one woman's checkbook than the fate of womankind.

Steve Irwin inspired men and women, boys and girls, to explore the world around them. And he wasn't some arrogant, self-absorbed scholar. He had very little formal education beyond high school, actually. Irwin was, well, your everyday, run-of-the-mill, Average Joe who happened to become one of the world's most widely recognized "wildlife warriors."

Greer's publicity stunt will, sadly, probably make her a bit of money. She'll undoubtedly make guest appearances on numerous television and radio shows, she'll sell more books, and maybe, just maybe, she'll get a new bestseller out of it.

But somewhere, out there, a young girl has finished crying over that funny Australian guy who taught her to love animals. And maybe she's picking up her biology textbook and studying her heart out, so, one day, she can be a "famous" animal-lover like Irwin. Or maybe she picked up a copy of Silent Spring from her local library. Or maybe she's now inspired to one day become a biology teacher or to volunteer at her local animal shelter.

And, with a little luck and a little more inspiration, that girl might just grow up to be a conservationist, scientist, or educator worth more to the Women's Movement than a thousand Germaine Greers.

Somewhere, in some afterlife, a rather energetic Australian, in shorts seven sizes too small, is grinning from ear to ear, waiting and watching.



11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Silent Spring is such a necessary read for all and I'm not sure how many people even read it these days.

Greer, you're right, it has become a habit of hers.

No matter what people think he did he was extremely powerful in the world of animal welfare and ecology. He did more, just by his antics and his passion, than all of the environmental organizations and PETA groups put together.

She knows not of what she speaks.

constantly anonymous said...

this was your "partner" from "Darfur: an Unforviable Hell on Earth" reporting.

*lynne* (azlynne1972) said...

Very well said [written]!

sassinak said...

i wasn't into the guy but i like anyone who is out there doing something over anyone who is sitting back and criticizing.

but that's just me.

Joanna said...

I haven't read the article but I'll admit I've been waiting on something like this to happen for awhile. the man took some incredibly stupid risks. Now I'm just sitting here waiting for similar news on Jeff Corwin! I think it's just my criminal justice background that says that people who continually put themselves in harms way will eventually end up getting hurt. However, that being said, I don't think anyone's death should be exploited for the personal gain of another, that is just wrong in and of itself.

Angel, librarian and educator said...

Wrong indeed she did not have the cojones (oh, wait, she could not have any at any rate) to say anything while he lived, but she has to instead do it once the man is gone. How low can you go? I was saddened by the loss as well, and I know my little one will miss him too. He had a sense of wonder that is lacking these days, and he made a good teacher too along with his passion and enthusiasm for nature. Sure, he had his critics, but as you point out, if I was going to trust someone to feed a croc and hold a child safely, it would be him. I remember all the fuss when he did that, and remarking that if anyone knew what he was doing it was him. He did have one eye on the child and the other on the croc. And I am sure he was being careful when the accident happens. He looked very easy go lucky, but I always sensed he was very careful even as he took risks. I guess, when your time is up, it doesn't matter what you do or how, the time is up. I'd like to think the guy (or gal) upstairs had some crocs he needed wrestled and taken someplace safe, and thus called him in. If nothing else, he went doing what he loved. I am going to miss that guy.

Smurf said...

Well Written Jason. Kinda crazy the "Crocodile hunter" died while shooting that docuentary.. I am glad they say it went quick. I can't even imagine. Its crazy they got it on tape and didn't realize he was dead until they saw the blood in the water. That also reminds me a bit of the CROW, where they got his death on camera as well... like i said great post, very well written.

The ZenFo Pro said...

Anon/Cooper:

Yep. Greer's gone completely nuts. And you're right about Irwin.

Partner? Lol, do I get any sort of domestic benefits? ;)


Lynne:
Hey, thanks for commenting! And thanks!

Sass:
You know, I was just reading an editorial in one of the Australian newspapers about the reaction to Greer's comments. Yeah, that seems to be the concensus - he at least did something, as opposed to simply bitching about it...

Joanna:
Very good point. IRwin did take a lot of risks, and the fact that he died isn't exactly shocking. From what I understand, even he expected to die in front of some camera in some freak accident. But it's the exploitation of that death that's damned disrespectful....

Angel:
It's fascinating the reaction to that croc/baby incident, isn't it? It's amazing the fuss people put into certain things. As for how low one can go, well, Greer will already go down in history as the "Feminist Who Walked Off the Set of Big Brother." I think its clear that she speaks out of her ass 9 times out of 10.

Smurf:
Hey, thanks, hon :)

always anonymous said...

I am not much of a domestic beneficiary.

cooper said...

benefactor - gessh, miss one ter of college and see what happens.

always a willing beneficiary.

shayna said...

There is always going to be someone out there that will get their "kicks" by bad mouthing one who can't defend themselves any longer.

For me, I loved Irwin. Thought he was loopy sometimes... but that is what made him so interesting. You could tell he had love for ALL animals... NO torture was ever done!

Great post, Jason!