Whether we like it or not, contemporary ideas of courage are not really forged in philosophical explorations and debates. The media, politics, and of course popular culture take the lead in defining what courage is and what it is not. Dominated by discussions of heroes and heroism, the public sphere is not particularly interested in complex, contradictory and non-telegenic forms of courage. When Steve Irwin died in September 2006, speared in the heart by a stingray, he was instantly heralded as a hero by the Australian and international media. Exactly the same language was used to describe the aftermath of two of Australia's worst recent tragedies - the 1996 Port Arthur massacre and the Bali bombings of 2002. The same sentiments and expressions, word for word. This easy slippage between descriptions of two major national tragedies and the accidental death of a celebrity betrayed not only the absolute debasement of the modern language of heroism, but a broader collective impasse about the meaning of both heroism and courage.