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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

its show biz « Previous | |Next »
January 7, 2004

I've watched this story unfold over the last few days. It has depth.

Croc hunter Steve Irwin fed a four-metre crocodile with one hand while clutching his one-month-old son Bob during a show at his Australia Zoo reptile park on the Sunshine Coast.

Bill Leak

Australia Zoo is about tourism, entertainment and money. Irwin is the new face of the old bush hero--the new Crocodile Dundee who sells Australiana for international tourism. So he becomes an icon; a part of the interantional face of Australia.

He is also a part of the culture industry in the form of the Discovery Channel.

Irwin is part of the conservative face of Australia--the bush tradition plus the free market. That is why he was invited to the exclusive barbecue hosted by John Howard for President Bush, when the imperial presidency was here last year.

My suggestion? Let's go beyond Leak. Let's free the animals.
Why not a fully mechanized and digitalized Australia Zoo as a showcase of Aussie ingenuity?

Why not Australia Zoo as a Disney-style theme park selling wilderness to tourists to showcase the Aussie entrepreneurial spirit? Or is that what it is now?

We could be even more adventeurous with the popular culture/show biz side of things. Why not attach a cultural studies course to Irwin's Australia Zoo that critiques the pioneer experience, and construction of, wildness? This course could be subsidised by the Australian tourism industry as a giving back to society (mutual obligation) for all the government handouts it currently receives.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:38 AM | | Comments (10)


Bill Leak is a predictable dickhead. I thought cartoonists were supposed to be funny.

Fair enough. I guess you cannot make everyone laugh all the time.

Often I find Leak's work a bit flat.

But I thought that crocodiles in capivity organizing themselves into a union to protect their interests a nice insight:--
*it loosens up the old animal human divide does it not?
*it shows that Australia Zoo is a business
*its a nice play on the way Discovery Channel sells wilderness to urban audiences.

The 'PCU' is priceless!

I"m not sure what 'PCU' means.

I presume it is something to do with political correctness?
If so what does the 'U' stand for?

Yes Gary, I reckon Leak was raising the double-entendre of the Union of the Politically Correct, with his highlighting of the caps- PCU

hmmm, maybe, but i reckon a bit of a long bow to draw.

well i must be daft. i took PCU at face value: performing crocodiles union. and i thought that made the point quite well.

you are probably right.
I just like highlighting the looseness or oppeness of the interpretation of a text.

Playing around with what is on the margins opens the text up.

Cartoonists are quite devious in extracting the last ounce of irony, satire or humour out of a simple subject/drawing. The Performing Crocs Union bit is humorous enough, but then why highlight the capitals? Notice the capitals are repeated again on the PCU news about 'Soft Crocs'. Neither the newspaper or the highlighted capitals on the sign are necessary for the main point of the cartoon, but to me Leak wrings the last ounce out of the subject.

Ummm, because that is what most unions do?