Everybody loves …mond

There are certain moments in time that everyone remembers. Big incidents create certain residual memories. Points frozen in time. Everyone remembers what they were doing and where they were when they heard that Princess Diana died (I was in the car driving back from a youth group outing to Pizza Hut). Everyone remembers what they were doing on September 11 2001 (I was watching the West Wing). I have a feeling today will be one of those moments.

Here are some of my observations on today’s experience:

1. Denial is really the first (illogical) step in coming to terms with bad news. I had the same experience with several people today – “are you joking,” “surely this is a hoax”… let me suggest that that’s an unreasonable response – a mainstream media outlet can not afford to falsely proclaim the death of someone famous (ever since Mark Twain’s demise was famously “greatly exaggerated” media outlets have been careful – except for a few notable slip ups). It also wouldn’t be a funny joke.

2. The phrase “unexpected death” should be limited to deaths which are genuinely surprising. While I respected and admired Steve Irwin and his genuinely laid-back larrikin style – the fact is if you make a living playing with very dangerous animals there should be a level of expectation that you’ll meet your demise (untimely as it may be) in this manner. I guess what was unexpected was that he was killed by a comparatively innocuous animal.

3. Genuine people are hard to find – and appreciated by the masses. Steve Irwin is one of those people that no one has a bad word to say about. His conservation based agenda may not strike a chord with you – but his passion for the cause was incredible. He genuinely practiced what he preached. There’s a lesson there for anyone who is trying to engage with people in a real way.

4. Going doing something that you love is still going… How is it better to die at the hands of something you love than at the hands of something you don’t? Would it be more satisfying to be shot by your spouse or by a stranger – I’m going to suggest the second would be at the very least less disatisfying (how many negatives are there in that sentence – what I mean was – being killed by a stranger would be less emotionally distressful than being killed by your spouse… maybe… or maybe it’s all the same. You’re dead anyway right?)

5. Jokes about these situations never take too long to emerge – I’ll leave you to investigate the suncream joke for yourselves – “it would have offered protection from harmful rays” is the punchline. I’m not looking forward to seeing the Chaser do anything on him this Friday.

I was going to blog about the Catholic church and their exorcist’s verdict on Harry Potter – but I’ll put that on the backburner while I deal with the burning issues… Is using the same word twice in the sentence funny the second time? Rarely… but, like a Harry Potter omnibus, I’m on fire tonight…


Nathan says:

It occurs to me that the readers, writer, and sellers of Harry Potter books would probably be burning too if this verdict had occured at an earlier juncture in human history…

Andrew F says:

Yesterday also saw the passing of a far less burnable author, and respected Aussie: Colin Thiele. (I do of course mean his books are less burnable.. he may very well get cremated). I must confess that I have a greater recollection of the film “Storm Boy” than the actual book.

“mr percival…”

Steve says:

Despite how crazy he was you really do have to admit his passion and intensity was astounding.

Nathan says:

was Mr Percival a pelican?

matt says:

Colin Thiele was a great Aussie author. I remember when I was a kid a couple of my favourite books were Sun on the Stubble and Uncle Gustav’s Ghosts. Classic Australian children’s books.

Yes, Smiley, Mr Percival is the name of the pelican in Storm Boy. If John Howard heard you asking questions like that he’d demand you take an Australian literature test and pass it or you’d get deported to Nauru or something.

Nathan says:

No, John Howard would commend me for remembering that Mr Percival was a penguin almost 12 years after I read the book.

matt says:

John Howard also wants every Australian to know the difference between a pelican and a penguin.

Anonymous says:

Yesterday also saw the horrific death of a quadriplegic man in his Sydney home. He was burnt to death by home invaders. I suggest this is by far the greatest tradgedy of the day. How do we as society let an event like that pass by with so little attention?

Tim says:

Blue Fin was my favourite.

leah says:

Colin Thiele died?! :(

Ok, back to the point. I agree with most of it Nathan, except I’d have to say his death WAS unexpected. For the average person, messing round with dangerous animals would arouse a certain expectation of death. However, for decades we’ve seen Steve Irwin- not mess around with (that implies irresponsibility)- but interact with dangerous animals in a way most of us wouldn’t dare to, but because he knows what he’s doing and for the most part was very responsible, he was never severely injured. To see someone in a situation that most of us would imagine to equal death, or near death, and have him come out of it unscathed, time and time again, leaves an expectation in us that if he hasn’t died at the hands of these deadly animals, then an animal won’t be the one to kill him. Therefore, for him to die from an animal, and a relatively safe one at that, is quite unexpected.

As for the hoax response, that was my first response. But I first read about it on deviant art’s “Crikey” club. Then I read about it on The Daily Telegraph’s website. I still considered it might be a hoax- not by the newspapers, like you suggested would be the culprit- but perhaps by Steve’s own publicity team. Especially because at the stage I heard about it, nothing had been officially confirmed. Once I realised all the outlets were onto it though, I knew Steve would never take a hoax that far, and that it was true.

I think the nation’s shock comes from the unexpectedness and out-of-the-blue-ness of it all. As I said before, he was never seriously hurt in situations many of us would have died in, so to think he’s died from an animal is just mind-boggling.

leah says:

the queen’s obituary was accidentally published once.

leah says:

this might interest you nathan: some person’s blog on PR stuff. http://annah-grace.prblogs.org/tag/evaluating-pr/