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Gina, our God

June 20, 2012

God (definition). 1. A superhuman being or spirit worshiped as having power over nature or human fortunes; a deity. 2. An adored, admired, or influential person.

 By google’s definition Gina Rinehart is a God.  Her immense wealth gives her superhuman powers over the fortunes of man and nature. She could answer Sunday prayers and erase world poverty with a stroke of the pen. One call to UNICEF and she is saviour of Africa’s infants who die one a minute from Malaria.

It has always been the case that Gods bide their time before appearing. Christians think of their God as all knowing, all giving, yet don’t mind the mystery of why he was so absent for the first 98,000 years when man started walking upright on this earth. Muhammad, prophet of Islam, was similarly slow in revealing himself. Gina R walked the Western Australian desert for many years without recognition as deity incarnate. 

But even though she too appeared in the most hostile of lands, where water itself can be a divine intervention, Gina R sits very much in the pantheon of Australian Gods where it is wealth and fortune that inspire adulation, not how you got there, nor what you do with it.  So many people admired Bond while he was rich. So many admired Packer senior for being so rich. So many admired him for avoiding tax. It’s not what you give. It’s what you’ve got.

Mortals serve Gods. Gods serve themselves without limit and while their influence and image is everywhere they are always strangely absent. Gina herself is rarely seen. In one unusual appearance Gina R transformed a Perth crowd of workers into whirling dervishers, so besotted by love they wanted to relinquish to her every one of their workers rights.  As her gold-weighted hands slowly came together in a contagious anti-tax clap, the crowd went wild. It is to her they wanted to tithe, to show their allegiance in the face of the devil’s mining tax. 

Gods always demand gratitude with reward in the eye of the beholder. As she rages war on the planet, Gina R demands the mere mortals who live on its surface recognise she is the one that’s realised the bounty of existence on this continent. Zeus believed knowledge and divine gifts would bring misery to the mortals. He didn’t see the need for fire in their dark caves and saw no reason to end poverty, stop famine, improve the quality of life. But while Zeus was just waiting for mankind to disappear, Gina R needs them in her mines. When mortals mock the God Gina, punishments are meted out without emotion, such as the case of KRudd. One can only advise that Fairfax watch out. The secular state just isn’t what it seems.

 

It’s hard to take on a God and what happened to Prometheus is as good as a lesson as you get. Maybe he was simply a fake God like KRudd, mistaking Twitter followers as a sign of holiness.  Real Gods aren’t removed by unions or revolutions or democratic debate, they are both creator and destroyer in one. Gina R is more than Kali, she’s the whole triad Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu combined. She’s even Medusa if you dare look.

Gods don’t need to prove themselves, they just are, it is the people make them so and while Craig Thomson’s prostitute will need to bring proof to the interview, Gina R needs no such document. Barry Humphries recently had us ponder our prime ministerial bum on a bicycle seat and while not a vision for the weak, we all admit she is doing some serious pedalling. Our supposed leaders are all pedalling for dear life and they’d have us mere voters believe we are too. Not so if you’re Gina R, you don’t pedal, you inspire others to take pilgrimage to the Pilbara. Mister Abbott has been pedalling through its red dirt for some time. But beware there’s no Santiago de Compostella at the end and the bones we find will be our own.

Many may diminish Gina R as Mammon, God of riches and condemned in the Christian bible. But Gina R is not a lesser God, she is the God. She’s certainly not  who was blinded by Zeus so the gift of wealth could be distributed democratically, without prejudice. In Aristophanes’ comedy, Plutus has his sight restored and creates havoc as he uses this new vision to choose who get the wealth. There will be no such havoc with our Australian God Gina R, her purse string is closed tighter than the toughest coal seam, her giving is in being Australian.  

 

Why do we expect kindness and beneficence from Gods anyway? Is the Christian God really kind? Is Mohammad? Was there any gentleness ever shown by the Greek or Roman Gods except perhaps by Athena before she turned Arachne into a spider for daring to dream she was more skilled. The whole thing about Gods is their cold, calculating distance. Even the children of Gods are never safe, Zeus’ own father ate all of his children until he was tricked into saving Zeus and it all went downhill from there. Gina R’s children have all survived although they might say not in the absence of the key to Pandora’s trust fund.

 Recently ABC’s high priest Tony Jones summarised Gina R’s contribution to Australia as the “gift of  a poem on a giant piece of iron ore.” It’s a poor offering when we’re praying for the gifts of equity and indigenous justice. We pray to our Gods to end world poverty and to turn global warming around. As always we’ve been conned into believing the object of our prayer and worship is listening. But more and more people are on to it  and that’s why we now have Greens MPs.

Oh to find a Prometheus to Gina’s Zeus. But the industries or governments who could take these roles are afraid of getting their fingers burned. Someone needs to steal today’s fire and unleash its torrent of inventiveness and productivity into renewable energy and halt the war on the planet. But for now Prometheus is still shackled to the side of Canberra, tormented by Zeus’ eagle, the flesh ripped from his side by night, hope returning briefly each morning until we open the newspapers

 She’s more than just a deity, Gina R is our God and like it or not we’re tithing her religion.  Gina, our internecine God, our postmodern Goddess. But is she really the saviour that we had to have?

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