Originally published in The Sydney Morning Herald on September 6, 2006

Steve Irwin created a new genre of documentary called “nature nasty” which rejects attempts to portray animals in their natural environment going about their usual activities. Instead, it goes in search of the most dangerous, poisonous and bizarre and provokes animals into extreme behaviour.
Irwin’s death provided a trigger for a gratuitous outpouring of hatred directed at the “elites” who found his antics embarrassing, especially when they were represented as authentically Australian. In the present political climate every event is turned by right-wing cultural warriors into an excuse to attack the imagined enemies of John Howard.

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