As a poet, Rinehart makes a great billionaire

Thank you, Gina Rinehart. As the editor of a long-running poetry journal, I thank Rinehart for putting the noble art of verse in the media spotlight.

The critics, as Rinehart knows, are harsh. They criticise your poetry. They criticise your attempts to become a media magnate. They are probably going to abduct your children. That could be handy, because you don’t like your children very much, but that is nobody else’s business. Get off my lawn.

But in all the talk of Rinehart as a crazy person, people are forgetting what matters — the poetry. Australia, it’s time to assess Rinehart’s work dispassionately, in content and structure.

‘Our Future’ (the full ode below) attempts a noble challenge: the rendering of economic theory and politico-economic ideology into stirring verse. Some call it impossible to include phrases such as “special economic zones” in a fluid and aesthetically pleasing poem. Those people are right. But Rinehart doesn’t let that stop her. If it doesn’t fit, she’ll shoehorn the bastard in there anyway.

The first thing you notice about Rinehart’s poem is that it passes the Crusty Old Bugger in a Pub test. Namely, it rhymes. Second, she starts out with noble intent. She’s read The Man from Snowy River. She knows poems go dum-de-dum. And in fact, the first two lines are in almost functional iambic pentameter.

If that phrase scares you, it just means there is an unstressed syllable followed by an emphasised syllable. That pattern repeats five times, for 10 syllables in total, which in combination form a line. Viz:

The globe is sadly groaning with debt, poverty and strife
And billions now are pleading to enjoy a better life.

Obviously Rinehart is aware of the metre, as she’s thrown the word “now” into that second line to maintain it. Her only false step is “debt”, which doesn’t work as an unstressed syllable before a stressed “pov(erty)”. I might have suggested “with economies in strife”, had she had the forethought to seek my professional opinion. (Hint, Gina: good poetry editors are pretty freaking thin on the ground.)

In terms of content, it is perhaps a little dubious to hear sad tales of poverty from the person stewing in the most obscene swill of mineral cash in the entire country. For those who do want a better life, the poet in question would be in a better practical position to help them than any other Australian. Set up farms across the sub-Saharan belt? Still got change to play blackjack with Kerry Packer’s ghost. Dengue fever in India? Scrub it off like the Spray and Wipe chick. A team of mercenaries to take out Bashar al-Assad? Her PA would have his scalp in Gina’s inbox before she’d finished her morning muffin.

Their hope lies with resources buried deep within the earth
And the enterprise and capital which give each project worth

Not bad, not bad. The metre is a bit frayed, but still there in intent. Maybe a slight reshaping would help: “Their hopes are the resources buried deep within the earth / And the enterprise and capital which make ‘em what they’re worth.” Always read the lines aloud to yourself. Plus, the abbreviation of “them” gives it a nice bush-ballad feel, no? True blue and that. But then, we start to go off the rails …

Is our future threatened with massive debts run up by political hacks
Who dig themselves out by unleashing rampant tax
The end result is sending Australian investment, growth and jobs offshore
This type of direction is harmful to our core

The first line of those four abandons metre, as rhetoric stirs from its meat-coma and begins to lick its spit-flecked jaws. Every bad poet loves adjectives. Who can resist “massive”? Who can resist an awkward phrase like “political hacks”? And then we get to that third line, which actually came from an Institute of Public Affairs white paper.

Poetry is basically about making something sound good, or putting across a new and interesting way of seeing. This sounds like a Joe Hockey press conference submerged in tomato soup. The line is overly long and awkward, the Bruce Reid of this poem, which is then followed by the Danny de Vito, jammed in there as an afterthought while Gina tried to think of something to rhyme with “offshore”.

Rhetoric is off the leash now, and it roams like the Beast of the Apocalypse (either Biblical or the weird creature in The Brotherhood of the Wolf). Those who criticise Rinehart for being insanely rich and still bitching about taxes are “envious unthinking people” who think wealth is magically created. (To be fair, inheriting an immense mining company does help sprinkle a bit of fairy dust on the old investment portfolio.) Rinehart is hurt and troubled by their attitudes.

And then, the final four lines: a crescendo of disjointedness, as both reason and poetic technique disintegrate.

Develop North Australia, embrace multiculturalism and welcome short term foreign workers to our shores
To benefit from the export of our minerals and ores

One, the long line/short line thing again. Rinehart is getting all Ogden Nash on us here, if you replace the wit with self-righteous indignation. Two, “embrace multiculturalism and welcome short term foreign workers to our shores” just doesn’t cut it as a line. Does that sound good to you? Does that ring with the authority of naturalistic rhythm and truth? Is this question rhetorical?

Three, is it strictly fair to equate “embrace multiculturalism” with “bring in a bunch of really cheap foreigners for a while to make us arseloads of cash and then make sure to send the dirty buggers back to wherever it is they came from”? The second phrase is even more unwieldy in a poetic sense, but I feel it cuts closer to the essential truth of the matter.

The world’s poor need our resources: do not leave them to their fate
Our nation needs special economic zones and wiser government, before it is too late.

Ah, the crowning triumph. “Special economic zones” bounding in like a photobomber of verse, resting its nuts on the crown of poetry’s head. Again, the not-so-delicious irony of an appeal on behalf of the world’s poor. Not to labour a point here, but we are talking about the richest man, woman, or erotic llama masseuse in the country. And yet, this is about philanthropy.

The poor need our resources. Not for free of course, for an appropriate fee. So, the world’s poor need to buy shit from Gina Rinehart. Do not leave them to their fate of not buying shit from Gina Rinehart. Do not abandon them.

And you know, as it happens, those things that are in the interests of the world’s poor just so happen to be in the interests of making Gina Rinehart wealthier. Not that that’s the issue here. It’s just a coincidence. Rinehart just loves art and literature, and really, guys, this is all about the poor.

Rinehart’s philanthropy, it seems, is much like her iambic pentameter. It can be applied when it suits, and abandoned when it becomes inconvenient.

Yep. Poetic licence revoked.

Our Future

The globe is sadly groaning with debt, poverty and strife
And billions now are pleading to enjoy a better life
Their hope lies with resources buried deep within the earth
And the enterprise and capital which give each project worth
Is our future threatened with massive debts run up by political hacks
Who dig themselves out by unleashing rampant tax
The end result is sending Australian investment, growth and jobs offshore
This type of direction is harmful to our core
Some envious unthinking people have been conned
To think prosperity is created by waving a magic wand
Through such unfortunate ignorance, too much abuse is hurled
Against miners, workers and related industries who strive to build the world
Develop North Australia, embrace multiculturalism and welcome short term foreign workers to our shores
To benefit from the export of our minerals and ores
The world’s poor need our resources: do not leave them to their fate
Our nation needs special economic zones and wiser government, before it is too late.

Gina Rinehart

 

Article first published on Crikey.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to As a poet, Rinehart makes a great billionaire

  1. Gina Hope Rinehart says:

    Roses are red
    Violets are blue
    You’re just mad
    Because I’m worth billions and billions and billions of dollars

    • Notawesternsuburbsyuppy of WA says:

      lolololol
      just found this web site and you have made my miserable day happier!! the poem above is pretty damn funny too.

  2. Paul Castley says:

    I have coined a new nickname for Gina. Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz, also a poet, and also something not quite human. See for example: http://woggles.net/Colin/msn%20name%20poetry/msn%20name%20poetry.htm

  3. timbell7 says:

    Ace. But you seem to have omitted quoting these four lines before the paragraph beginning “Rhetoric is off the leash now”:
    Some envious unthinking people have been conned
    To think prosperity is created by waving a magic wand
    Through such unfortunate ignorance, too much abuse is hurled
    Against miners, workers and related industries who strive to build the world

  4. Rik says:

    All that money, all those resources, all those networks and she couldn’t find or hire anyone to 1) explain what the word philanthropy means, and most importantly 2) Hire a bloody poetry editor or a ghost writer that can actually write.

  5. Ah, Mr Lemon, you do not appreciate the full subtlety of this poem, which would be a sonnet were it but two lines shorter, a bit less ‘i’ in the iambic and a little more meter in the pentameter.

    It is, in its entirety, a metaphor for la condition Australienne. It begins with a touch of structural formality, not quite Drydenesque but near enough. As it develops and the fine red dust slowly settles over the poem’s landscape, the pseudo-formality melts away, just as iron yields to rust. This symbolises the flexibility required to achieve the nation-building task. The redundancy of “end” in “end result” obliquely reminds us that tireless, faithful work avoids such a fate for the true strivers and special economic zone workers.

    I fear you should have dug deeper, and felt duty-bound to expose the core of the work to you, for Ms Rinehart’s poetic skills and mine are more or less in the same stratum, deep below the rocky surface of poesy.

  6. Crikey, she is actually talking Special Economic Zones in Australia. I had better pay more attention. No one benefits from Special Economic Zones.

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  8. Ben says:

    I misread the first two lines as:

    The globe is sadly groaning with debt, poverty and strife
    And billionaires now are pleading to enjoy a better life

    Seems somehow more appropriate.

    • firstkitten says:

      so did i, and continued to do until i read this.

      yes, it seemed perfectly appropriate to me. although a little overly self involved.

  9. Richard says:

    Riots are red
    Violence is blue
    Gina’s a poet
    Agree or she’ll sue

  10. derek says:

    that poem is all about sex. it’s there, bubbling away under the surface. gina wants her special erogenous zones acknowledged, but just doesn’t know how to say it. yet.

  11. Neil RYAN says:

    This Poetic effort? from Gina is enough to forbid her from ownership of any publishing companies especially Fairfax who over the years has had some pretty decent writers and poets on it’s staff alongside the usual hacks and drones who usually infest newspaper offices.Neil RYAN

  12. Tom Moran says:

    Those first two lines are not iiambic pentameter; they’re iambic heptameter. How on earth did you read that couplet and hear ten feet instead of fourteen?

  13. Enjoying your stuff! I mentioned you as a blog I like here:

    http://analyseon.wordpress.com/2012/02/16/just-keep-on-blogging/

    Thanks for sharing :)

  14. Cameron says:

    What a disgusting excuse for intelligent life!

    She is one of the richest people in the world and will likely be the reachest within another 10 years, all from selling the very ground from under us. All she can think about is how to make herself more money and give Australia less, what entitles her and noone else to the incredible profits from selling our land. What entitles any of the miners to it?

    The poetry is pretty shithouse but is easier to bare than she is.

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  16. Anon says:

    Our Future
    The globe is sadly groaning with pollution, deforestation and heat.
    With climate change reducing yield how will the billions eat?
    Our hope lies in recognising the natural services of the earth.
    And attributing them a value that reflects their crucial worth.
    But instead we mine our minerals and turn them into things.
    That more than likely, within a year, will end up in the bin.
    We pursue growth at any cost, running our doomed race.
    And fail to see the consequence that stares us in the face.
    Our future is threatened by consumerism and greed.
    And the massive machine we’ve created to supply the monster’s need.
    For as we try to satisfy our constant want for more.
    We destroy the very habitat that helps sustain the poor.
    Gina, you’re the one who hoards the wealth from our minerals and ores.
    If the fate of the billions concerns you, why not do some good with yours?

  17. jhahilti say says:

    At least there wasn’t anything in there to indicate that work would set us free.

  18. Nick Cook says:

    Iambic pentameter??? It’s more like some vague attempt at heptameter, a la The Man from Ironbark, or any of those classic bush ballads. It is iambic, though … well, mostly.

    The hilarious irony is that, in appropriating that most recognisable of traditional, Australian, poetic forms, written mostly by people who loved the country, and who had incredible desire to capture its beauty in verse, she so beautifully illustrates her complete lack of awareness of how she is raping its land; she just doesn’t get it, and her attempt to subvert that tradition, in turn, subverts her. Won’t help the nation’s plight any, but you have to take the small victories when you can.

  19. Rudolf_Belka says:

    a parody i wrote

    Not Our Future

    The globe is fucked by the financial market’s wrath
    and billions dashed with no job and struggling for breath
    Their hope lies with resources you hungrily own deep in the earth
    but in their dreams will they get any share of the mirth
    I hope it’s not our future, threatened by money-grubbing hacks
    and no money for the Senate’s supply because of lack of tax
    The end result is a fat few hoarding more
    and our country becoming akin to a scarlet whore
    They’re buying shares in media channels to keep us conned
    whilst they swagger and strut like they were Alan Bond
    Towards government economic sense, their agenda’s unfurled
    so much subsequent ruckus that got Kevin Rudd hurled
    Develop North Australia, drive out native holders and pack
    it full of cashed up bogan boors
    then sell the raw produce off to be refined in foreign shores
    I don’t know if the world’s poor needs our iron ore, I heard
    Africa has got diamonds of late
    Our nation is running fine as, special economic zones
    just make matters complicate

  20. Danicam says:

    Raping the land – and aren’t they good at it.

  21. Julie McCarthy says:

    Poor GIna,
    All that money and a world class education, and she still doesn’t have anything to show for it – neither a heart, a soul, a conscience, respect for her native tongue or even good looks. Give your money away Gina, since you seem unable to accomplish anything really useful with it.

  22. Clive Palmer says:

    Roses are red
    Violets are blue
    I’m going to challenge the carbon tax in the High Court
    Because I’m a contemptible cunt

  23. Someone else says:

    Gina translated:

    I’m sadly groaning, my children are brats
    I wish I had chosen to adopt lots of cats
    And as for the government – they continue to appal
    I don’t agree with the mining tax – not at all
    Why on earth should we pay for digging up stuff?
    You want your fair share? Well that’s just tough
    It’s mine – all mine – you can all go to hell
    I should keep all the profits from the minerals I sell
    The government should let me have all the cash
    Otherwise offshore I quickly will dash
    The poor should just stop being envious of me
    The richer I am, the more it trickles down – see?
    My future is threatened by this blatant grab for cash
    Oh, my new solid gold bathtub has arrived – must dash!

  24. Pingback: Geoff’s Lemon Comment « Victoria Rollison

  25. Cre M'Per says:

    youse idiots can shove it. I worked in the mines, I was a mouse that tried and become a man by doing right my my family and I got there, I did, I got there with the help of bigger people who know the industry and it’s a trickle down effect; it trickles down from Gina and co…..because without this industry what would I do? would I starve or be selling the big issue and stinking of piss. The real world isn’t poety, and it does not conform to verse or rhyme or reason….if you wanna make it, you gotta take it…. because in the real world undereducated men live like rats, running in the mouse-wheel, running around in circles, scratching at this countrie’s surface….in an effort to dig up enough bread to pay the bills…….poetry has for too long, too damn long brother, been the toy of the chattering (read: inefectual/judgemental) classes…. ’bout time someone claimed it back. Even for one day.

  26. Michael says:

    She probably isn’t a great writer, but p’raps she’s manipulating us to show she has “the
    common touch.”

    I’m happy Aussies won’t fall for it – though they’re stubbornly blind to the Lib’s deceptions!

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  28. Jed H says:

    Don’t want to put a damper on this article, but it’s copied directly from the “crickey” website.

    http://www.crikey.com.au/2012/02/13/geoff-lemon-gina-your-poetic-licence-is-revoked/

    • geoff lemon says:

      Indeed. If you squint hard enough you may even find a similarity between that author’s name and my own.

      If you’d like to provide some damper though, that’d be delicious.

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