Pass The Kool Aid and Mind Yer Business*
*apologies to Cool James
As we landed at
And so to
But this is in a state which recently named a road after a man whose major claim was to have shot more aboriginals than anyone else a few decades back.
So…to keep the eleven year old happy (yep that’s it, it was for the kid) we trekked down the Bruce Highway (lets face it, there has to be one) on the Thursday to Australia Zoo, the home of Mr Crikey himself, Steve Irwin and his wife Terri, not to mention the kids (one of whom reached a level of global notoriety by having Dad hold him / her above a Croc’s open mouth…crikey).
Firstly I should mention a bias. I hate his program, he does my head in and his wife makes my skin crawl. That said, I was open to a fine day. I like a well kept Zoo as much as the next eleven year old and this has a reputation as one of the best (no I’m not going to get into a discussion about the merits of zoos or otherwise). Doncha love reputations...I was even willing to cheer along as he did the biz with the big salties.
Things started to go wrong as we arrived. We were somewhat taken aback by the big clump of mud on our Stevo’s face on the sign outside…someone wasn’t happy. We then, having parked we faced the $43 per head entry fee. Brigid conned the non too bright but very pleasant young ockette on the till into beli
Seated, we realised we’d missed the snakes and tigers…bummer….I like a tiger when it’s a long way away and behind a tall fence. But we made it for the birds and honestly they were pretty and pretty damn impressive, it’s just that there weren’t that many of them. But, hey, never mind, here comes Steve with the mighty crocs. I’ve seen it on telly and Steve is surrounded by a bunch of the northern-coast-English-back-packer-gobbling things wanting more and writhing. The anticipation…
So it starts with the MC doing a big welcome to all the nationalities eagerly watching for the finale. He asks: “who is from
But here comes Steve…oh, wait, Steve is just on the big screen in a slightly warm and fuzzy little spiel about, um, Steve and Terri. And there is only one croc, it’s a big one but, however the “show”, with lots and lots of references to Steve and Terri lasts about fifteen minutes and that’s it. And truly, that’s just about it. We wandered off after that to find the Zoo, with the aid of our trusty map but could only find 3 crocs, 2 alligators, a few birds, a bunch of kangaroos, a turtle, three wombats, a couple or so Elephants in an enclosure that isn’t a patch on the Auckland Zoo’s pachyderm area, and a dozen or snakes. That plus three tigers which were in a fairly attractive large glassed area, and seemed rather comfortable with the three keepers who were having their lunch on the lawn oblivious to the man-eaters strolling around next to them. I don’t know about anyone else but I like my tigers fierce.
With some bemusement I noted that the enclosure, complete with the signs warning about being good to the planet and our environment was paid for by the Coca Cola company. I kept thinking of all those plastic Coke bottles that float around the waterways of
We caught a train around the perimeter and the guy talking on the p.a. told us some jokes about Steve and Terri and some stories about Steve and buying all the land and the roads around to make more “Zoo”. And then I heard a couple saying “Steve would be happy livin’ in a humbie if it wasn’t for the kids” and it hit me…this was a temple, and Steve and Terri were the Jim Jones of the Zoolology Set.
I looked around and there was more of “Australia Zoo” dedicated to the couple than to the animals themselves and every reference to the beasts was worded in such a way that it somehow referred back to the royal pair and their exalted offspring (TV show coming I believe). There were souvenir shops everywhere you looked with “Steve and Terri and the kids” everything, from T Shirts to surfboards (with “Crikey” on them) to quite bizarre keychain figurines of Steve wrestling with out of proportion man-eating crocs, And to top it all off there was a “boutique” with Steve and Terri fashion creations, including the most, lets be polite, “unusual” attempts at fashion I’ve seen in a while in Terri’s evening range.
And the masses were lapping it up in a way that must make Steve and Terri’s private bankers so very very happy. You can worship the Irwins for only $43 a head. He’s an icon and a national hero and I found it, and the dumbing down of zoology rather ugly and offensive. To quote Lydon: “Do You Ever get the feeling you’ve just been conned”.
On the way out we saw the clump of mud on his face again and understood.