When “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin died by being stung in the heart by a stingray, he left behind a wife, a young son, and a daughter named Bindi Sue. In the devastating aftermath of his death his fans are forced to deal with the public pimping of his 8-year-old daughter Bindi in the popular media in order, it seems, to perpetuate the family myth and to earn professional fortunes.
There is an old saying, “The sins of the father are visited upon the sons” — but there’s also the matter of a father’s irresponsible early death resulting in the obvious financial devastation of a family — and so the daughter, still stinging from her father’s death, is bound to rise up from the fresh ashes of her childhood to not only lead her family and fans with a smile, but a nation of mourners as well.
– The 8-year-old daughter of late Australian “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin is not being pressured into the spotlight of an American show business career, Irwin family manager John Stainton said on Tuesday.
Bindi Irwin, who will star in the 26-part “Bindi, the Jungle Girl” series on Discovery Kids network, will address the National Press Club in Washington this week, and appear on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and David Letterman’s “The Late Show”. “My criteria is if Bindi doesn’t want to do it that day, if she wants to go to the zoo or the beach, then that’s what we’re doing,” Stainton told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio. “That is the priority, it’s what she wants to do.”
There is no doubt Bindi Sue is darling and talented and incredibly gifted with giggles and light, but those delights should belong only to her immediate family for the next decade and never to us.
Bindi is forcibly sacrificing her childhood for fame and fortune and her mother is encouraging her to give up the innocence of her youth for money in the blood of her father.
We cannot leave adult decisions about money and scheduling to 8-year-olds. Young children are wise, but emotionally and intellectually inexperienced, and to give them what appears to be total false control over their families and schedules hurts the child and wounds the mortal coil more deeply than a stingray’s barb ever could.
Bindi needs protection from the limelight. She needs private time to grieve for the loss of a national icon who happened to be her father.
To force Bindi Sue into performing and dancing for money is to animalize her just like those fantastic creatures found in the Irwin family zoo and in that degenerative process one creates a circus child who is always “on” and numb to danger and who is never allowed the rightful and fanciful laziness of sunny mornings on a beach where financials and memorization are not the mandatory concerns of the day.
Critics in Australia and elsewhere have accused her U.S.-born mother Terri Irwin and advisers of trying to rush Bindi into the show business limelight, saying that she is too young to cope. Stainton said if Bindi was too tired or did not feel up to meeting any of her U.S. commitments, she would be able to pull out at short notice.”There’s no pressure on her to do anything at all,” he said, admitting that it would be a hard week for the entire family. Bindi’s U.S. tour coincides with the airing of the “Ocean’s Deadliest” documentary her exuberant, khaki-clad naturalist father was working on when he died. She and her “Crocmen” backing dancers will team up with The Wiggles for concerts in Los Angeles and New York. Bindi has been performing her show already to thousands at the Irwin family’s Australia Zoo Crocoseum in Queensland.
We remember Steve Irwin’s irresponsible display three years ago using his infant son in a live feeding demonstration and the subsequent cruel tempting of a crocodile all in the name of putting on a show for his fans and the television cameras:
As a shocked, yet bemused, crowd looked on, Irwin cradled one-month-old Bob in his left arm while dangling a slab of meat from his right hand during a feeding display at his Australia Zoo on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. The crocodile, which appeared to be about three-and-half-metres long, lunged at Irwin as its jaws snatched the meat. Irwin took a couple of steps back, with Bob draped over his arm.
Then, as the crocodile retreated slightly, the television star put his baby on the ground and “walked” him to the edge of the animal’s pond. Irwin’s American wife, Terri, was also inside the enclosure and could be seen giggling at her husband’s actions. The stunt drew comparisons with Michael Jackson’s dangling of his baby son, Prince Michael II, over a fourth-floor hotel balcony in Berlin in November 2002.
We know by their public actions the Irwins callously view their children as toys of amusement and totems of profit for exploitation. Instead of protecting their children from danger and the glare of inappropriate publicity, the Irwins provide them danger and spotlights. 8-year-old children do not know what they want.
They should not be making life decisions for a family. You know Bindi Sue has no real and ongoing opportunity to say “no” to any of this pressed-on fame. She is a child marionette being strung along by adult interests. 8-year-olds need protection and the gentle warmth of a caring parental embrace that heals with privacy and intimacy and not exposure to a panoptic public eye.
Steve Irwin willfully earned his death as an adult by constantly challenging the fate of animal instinct and by pressing nature into unnatural circumstances in order to line his pockets with gold and to dress himself in fame. Let’s hope Bindi Sue doesn’t have the sins of her father visited upon her. She’s been stung enough.