Not since the death of the Di has there been such a huge global reaction as that to news of Steve Irwin’s stingray encounter. OK, no public flower madness and the TV schedule hasn’t been buggered up quite as much but for the last couple of days, every time I meet someone, the conversation invariably starts with “did you hear about Steve Irwin”, followed by a few “crikey” jokes.
But what really drove it home to me was the Internet reaction. My favourite way of wasting time is looking at the latest 30 pictures uploaded to Livejournal as, apart from anything else, it is a great weather vane of viral content. On the day Irwin died, each reload produced multiple pictures of him, either in one of his classic “Crikey” poses or photoshopped in some way: people are really quick off the mark with that stuff. By the mid morning (UK time) there were even animated GIFs of him with a stingray… Clearly he was a global phenomonen – possibly more than he knew. Funny old world; the constant news of massacres in the middle east seems like background noise to most people, but when an Australian, who spends his entire life taunting the most dangerous animals on the planet, gets killed by a dangerous animal, everybody’s interested.
For more stinging barbs, why not watch this rather excellent 5 minute rant from George Carlin on who really controls America. Bill Hicks would be proud.