The family of the now-deceased naturalist and TV star Steve Irwin has declined state funeral for the Crocodile Hunter. Steve’s father, Bob Irwin, said that “he was an ordinary bloke, and he wants to be remembered as an ordinary bloke.” The father of the hugely popular Australian zoologist said that they had been on the brink of death many times during their activities in nature but they always treated it with humor. “It does not mean that we were careless. We only approached it as a part of our work,” Bob Irwin said at a news conference.
Steve Irwin’s family promised to hold a public funeral service in response to a wild outburst of support and solidarity showed by Irwin’s many fans all over the globe. The ceremony will take place during the forthcoming couple of weeks. Steve’s favourite singer, Australian musician John Williamson will perform at the ceremony, the place of which has not been determined yet.
The shocking and sudden death of the Australian TV star has triggered massive hysteria, which could be compared to that caused with Princess Diana’s death, the Sydney Morning Herald wrote. Steve would obviously exclaim his famous “Crikey!” if someone ever drew a parallel between him and Diana. However, there is something in common in the deaths of the two extraordinary individuals.
Both Steve Irwin and Princess Diana died under absurd circumstances. The news subsequently received an extensive media coverage in the whole world and left no one indifferent. Many people say that they remember what they were doing and where they were staying at the time when they found out about Steve Irwin’s death. The same happened during the death of Princess Diana, the killing of John Kennedy and John Lennon.
When Princess Diana died, London’s royal palaces were smothered in flowers and gifts. The Irwins’ Australia Zoo has already become a point of destination for thousands of Steve’s fans. They turned the entrance gate to the zoo into a huge flower garden. The Irwins continue to receive thousands of letters and messages from people all over the world, especially from the USA, where the news about Crocodile Hunter’s death has made headlines and front pages of all national newspapers and magazines lately.
Cultural studies lecturer Karen Brooks says that Irwin and Diana had nothing in common indeed, although the reaction to their deaths had many similarities. “They call Steve “Our Diana” in Britain. The expression of grief and shock was similar in so many ways,” she said.
It is worthy of note that the number of various souvenirs produced in memory of the Australian naturalist has increased drastically on the Internet. Ebay sells over 2,000 items, signed photographs, DVDs, toys and other merchandising. The most expensive one of them - an autographed khaki shirt – is available for $6,000. Many sellers say that they will transfer the profit to Steve Irwin’s foundation, Wildlife Warriors Fund.
As for the videotape which shows the moment of Steve Irwin’s death, the naturalist’s family believes that it should be destroyed before it becomes accessible on the Internet. The Crocodile Hunter's friend and longtime manager John Stainton said that he would never want the tape shown. It should be destroyed. At the moment it is in police custody for evidence. There's a coroner's inquest taking place at the moment. When that is finally released it will never see the light of day. Never-ever,” Stainton said in an interview with CNN talk show host Larry King.
Observers say, though, that the videotape will eventually appear on the Internet anyway. "The key point is once there's something on film, it's impossible to keep it contained," said Paul Levinson, chairman of the Department of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University in New York.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov