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"Now I earn in a single week the GDP of Mozambique"
August 16, 2013 6:25 AM   Subscribe

Mining heiress Gina Rineheart, Australia's richest person, the fourth wealthiest woman in the world, and not incidentally an advocate for the abolishment of the minimum wage who claims "Africans are willing to work for $2 a day" (and yes we've talked about all this previously previously), now has an anthem: "Sweet Child O' Mines", as performed by the Australian TV show Wednesday Night Fever. For maximum viewing enjoyment, imagine that Rinehart is out there somewhere gnashing and grinding her teeth over it while you watch.
posted by orange swan (34 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Couldn't happen to a nicer person.
posted by jaduncan at 6:54 AM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I would imagine that anyone as sociopathic as Rineheart seems to be would think this skit is hilarious; "Oh, look! The poors are upset! LOLOLOLOL"
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:56 AM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


She's reprehensible, but I can't help wondering if she would have been mocked on a hit comedy show if she'd been a slim man instead of an overweight woman.
posted by aught at 7:00 AM on August 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


What's even better is she inherited her mining interests and rode an Aussie resources boom to megabucks, although I'm sure she considers that equivalent to starting a business from nothing and working for everything she has.
posted by PenDevil at 7:04 AM on August 16, 2013 [13 favorites]


She's reprehensible, but I can't help wondering if she would have been mocked on a hit comedy show if she'd been a slim man instead of an overweight woman.

You're right. After all, Tony Abbott's famously fit and yet he never gets made fun of by comedians.
posted by gadge emeritus at 7:08 AM on August 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


Lots of slim men get mocked on comedy shows; you'd be on safer ground asking if she'd get mocked in the same way if she were a slim man.
posted by yoink at 7:16 AM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Tony Abbott is significantly more of a public figure than Gina Rinehart, and occupies a position where it doesn't matter who he personally is -- he's going to get mocked.

I'd look at other super-rich people to ask whether Rinehart is getting more jabbed at because of her sex and/or weight. Bill Gates gets some ribbing, but rarely this vicious; Warren Buffett almost none; the Walton clan is practically invisible.
posted by Etrigan at 7:17 AM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


The irony of a maximum wage earner wanting to take other people's minimum wages away is probably rich enough to be fattening.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:19 AM on August 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


There really is almost nothing more infuriating than someone who's never worked a day in their lives using their vast wealth to influence politics such that the working class doesn't really get to earn a living. You wear the chains you forge in life, Gina, you "Theory X" dung heap.
posted by ob1quixote at 7:27 AM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


bill gates and warren buffett seems like odd counter examples to bring up. the waltons make sense, but they're a family not a person, and they don't really have a figurehead who says this sort of thing publicly (they're just reprehensible behind the scenes). all the same, it'd be weird if an austrailian show made a comedy skit about them.
posted by nadawi at 7:27 AM on August 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yes, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are not in the same category as Gina Rinehart at all. Not that they were model employers either, but what they did is a far cry from what Rinehart is trying to do. And they're planning on giving away most of their personal fortunes.

the waltons make sense, but they're a family not a person, and they don't really have a figurehead who says this sort of thing publicly (they're just reprehensible behind the scenes). all the same, it'd be weird if an austrailian show made a comedy skit about them.

SNL could do it, but it might not be as funny given that the Waltons aren't recognizable to the audience.
posted by orange swan at 7:31 AM on August 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'd look at other super-rich people to ask whether Rinehart is getting more jabbed at because of her sex and/or weight. Bill Gates gets some ribbing, but rarely this vicious; Warren Buffett almost none; the Walton clan is practically invisible.

Gates used to get plenty of vicious attacks, but then he started doing seriously good works with his money and cut his ties to Microsoft, so naturally the discourse changed. A more apt comparison here would be Donald Trump, who has been subject to plenty of vicious mockery regardless of his weight.
posted by yoink at 7:36 AM on August 16, 2013 [13 favorites]


I'd argue it's more of a Donald Trump equivalent. And we certainly make very good fun of his appearance here in the US.

On preview: yeah, what yoink said.
posted by olinerd at 7:37 AM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


She really is reprehensible. She's like all of the stereotypes of the rich come to life, almost a real-life Mr. Burns.
posted by Sangermaine at 7:45 AM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Lots of slim men get mocked on comedy shows; you'd be on safer ground asking if she'd get mocked in the same way if she were a slim man.

Wasn't that implicit in what I asked? The hair-splitting in this place sometimes, ffs.
posted by aught at 7:45 AM on August 16, 2013


Etrigan: “I'd look at other super-rich people to ask whether Rinehart is getting more jabbed at because of her sex and/or weight. Bill Gates gets some ribbing, but rarely this vicious; Warren Buffett almost none; the Walton clan is practically invisible.”
The Waltons may be just as reprehensible, if not more so, but none of them wrote a column in American Resources and Investment magazine and told the poor to get out of the bar and get to work. Warren Buffet hasn't told American workers to take a long walk off a short pier. They may say such things, but they have the good sense to do so behind closed doors.

Although he's nowhere near as wealthy, if you want an apt comparison, try Donald Trump.
posted by ob1quixote at 7:51 AM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'd look at other super-rich people to ask whether Rinehart is getting more jabbed at because of her sex and/or weight. Bill Gates gets some ribbing, but rarely this vicious; Warren Buffett almost none; the Walton clan is practically invisible.

Gina Rinehart's most famous political statement is that the minimum wage should be abolished. Warren Buffett's is that it's unfair he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary. I'm not sure the only reason she gets mocked more than him is her gender and size.

What sort of treatment do other high profile Australian billionaires with a "screw the poor" attitude get? Ask Rupert Murdoch.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 7:53 AM on August 16, 2013 [12 favorites]


They may say such things, but they have the good sense to do so behind closed doors.

And only after a thorough search for any recording devices.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:56 AM on August 16, 2013


I'd look at other super-rich people to ask whether Rinehart is getting more jabbed at because of her sex and/or weight.

Gender doesn't explain everything, it doesn't explain nothing, it explains some things, Rinehartery.
posted by de at 7:59 AM on August 16, 2013


She's reprehensible, but I can't help wondering if she would have been mocked on a hit comedy show if she'd been a slim man instead of an overweight woman.
I wonder that too. Maybe look at Gina Rinehart's father - who was openly racist, about as overweight as Gina is and ..er... not at all handsome, but I recall people making more fun of his Filipino wife than they ever did of him.
Don't get me wrong, Gina Rinehart seems to be a worse person than she is a poet but.... yeah, I think there's at least some misogyny in a lot of the comedy about her
posted by bunglin jones at 8:03 AM on August 16, 2013


William Finnegan did an interesting profile of Rinehart in the New Yorker earlier this year.
posted by reenum at 8:07 AM on August 16, 2013 [9 favorites]


Aught: Wasn't that implicit in what I asked?
Nope.
posted by monkeymadness at 8:52 AM on August 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yeah, that New Yorker piece was terrific.
posted by yoink at 9:08 AM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Amazing new yorker piece
posted by lalochezia at 9:12 AM on August 16, 2013


Ever notice that the only people that talk about reducing/abolishing the minimum wage are people who are.... Rich...

I have yet to hear someone *making* minimum wage (no matter how conservative they might otherwise be politically) say that the free market should be the only force at work and that they should have the right to work for half of what they are currently making.
posted by el io at 9:13 AM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


> I have yet to hear someone *making* minimum wage (no matter how conservative they might otherwise be politically) say that the free market should be the only force at work and that they should have the right to work for half of what they are currently making.

I make minimum wage, or close to it, and I would welcome its abolition UNDER ONE CONDITION: nobody can make unearned income. Or rather, unearned income is shared. On that condition I would happily compete on a level playing field with the poorest people in the world, because this world has plenty of potential wealth for everybody. But the problem is that wealth is taken from those who create it and given to those who don't. The problem is not that this is unfair (economics does not care about fairness) but this is hugely inefficient.

When you take wealth away from those who create it then you create less wealth. That is simple logic. The only question then is, who creates the wealth?

Most wealthy people get it by luck: they collect rent on land or resources that would still have value even if they stayed in bed all day. Therefore they do not create that wealth. Yet the wealth does not magically appear, it's created by the actions of people, usually the whole of society. It is in effect theft from society.

Imagine the miner working for two dollars a day. Is that efficient? Will that miner have the best possible training? The best tools? the best management? of course not: he is expendable. He could create MORE WEALTH but the system that removes wealth from him also DESTROYS ABSOLUTE WEALTH. That is the key point. The sin is not in distribution. I do not care about distribution, as long as I have food on my table - let the other guy have the gold, I can[t eat gold. But the sin is the destruction of wealth. Paying ultra low wages makes society as a whole poorer. this means less money is spent on infrastructure, there is less demand for goods, and so on: it makes everybody poorer, even the rich, in the long term.

When we see unearned wealth for what it is, a reduction in total wealth, and when we consider the effect of compound growth (or lack of it) we realize that this injustice is making destroying the vast majority of potential wealth in the world. It is burning money. We should all be ten times richer if not for wealth going to those who do not create it.

When we realize THAT, then start to look at where wealth is not earned, the scale of this horror becomes astounding. We all understand how the super rich get money without earning it. But everybody who ever saw their land increase in value by just sitting on it is the same. Everybody who benefits from accident of birth is the same (and that means all of us who were born in rich countries then worry about immigration). The further we look, the more we see that the entire world is based on wealth going to people who did not create it. And every single transfer results in a reduction in the total wealth of the world.

As for how to get a world where no wealth is unearned, that's another topic. Right now I just want to establish the principle that taking wealth from creators results in an absolute reduction in wealth, not merely a redistribution.

So yes, I am on minimum wage, and yes, I would welcome its abolition if there was no unearned wealth. Because then I would be a feckin' millionaire in just a few years, and so would you.
posted by EnterTheStory at 10:10 AM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


From The New Yorker's profile:
The “h”-word seems to be partly a gender thing. The male scions of Australian family fortunes, such as Lachlan Murdoch (the eldest son of Rupert), are not routinely described in the press as heirs. Rinehart is the only woman among the rough lot riding the mining boom at tycoon level, and none of the others probably have to read much in the papers about how they really should be able to afford a hairdresser or a personal trainer. Neither do they see, on national television, a beloved comedian, Barry Humphries, demonstrating the alarm with which he would react to waking up next to her in a motel.
Where does he get off making those kind of allegations about gender? Surely the male heirs entrepreneurs are criticized for other things...
posted by Catchfire at 10:46 AM on August 16, 2013


What's even better is she inherited her mining interests and rode an Aussie resources boom to megabucks, although I'm sure she considers that equivalent to starting a business from nothing and working for everything she has.

Born on 3rd base and thought she hit a triple.
posted by brand-gnu at 11:27 AM on August 16, 2013


Where does he get off making those kind of allegations about gender? Surely the male heirs entrepreneurs are criticized for other things...

I don't think there's anyone in the thread saying that gender plays no part whatsoever in the treatment she gets. Aught just got us off on a bit of a derail by inadvertently suggesting that if she were a man she would receive no criticism at all, which doesn't seem to be what s/he meant. So, yeah, there are specifically gendered insults that are aimed at her. FWIW, I don't think that the linked video in the FPP is a particularly "gendered" attack (unlike, say, the Barry Humphries bit that the New Yorker profile mentions). It would be easy to imagine pretty much every detail of that skit other than her clothes being virtually unchanged if she happened to be Gino Reinhart. I've never seen a satiric attack on an overweight male capitalist that hasn't used obesity as a caricature to suggest generalized greed.
posted by yoink at 11:41 AM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


I've never seen a satiric attack on an overweight male capitalist that hasn't used obesity as a caricature to suggest generalized greed.

Yea, really. You can go as far in to misogyny or fat shaming as you want here, but did seriously no one watch cartoons as a kid? "Fat rich evil dude who makes an ass of himself" is an absolute comedy standby.

I think we've decidedly reached a point with this where there is no quantitative way that we can go "Well 43.25% of the hate is because of her actions, and 28% is because she's incredibly wealthy, and another few percent goes to this, but the rest is because she's a woman"!. There's no real way to disentangle the fact that she's a woman from her actions+wealth.

You end up in a really weird grey zone that often involves a lot of poop and bullshit stands being made where people essentially say "i think there's too much criticism going on here. she did terrible things, but i think there's an abnormal reaction" where there's no way to quantify what exact unfairness is going on, but it's pure "i know it when i see it" and those people are determined to take the moral high ground and shut down criticism every time they see it.

It's like the Amanda Palmer shit but with actual stakes instead of pretend training wheel ones.

The endgame of what people seem to be getting at with "i don't like the amount of hate i'm seeing here" always seems to be "you're not allowed to criticize this person or their actions because too many people already are" with a side dish of "i don't trust your motivations for doing this, so i'm going to call you a bigot".

And that's kinda the grey zone in and of itself. A zone where if anyone hates on these overly criticized people they must only be doing it for misogynistic reasons "BECAUSE SHE'S A C**T LOL AMIRITE".

Some discussion of "Hmm, i wonder how much of this is sexism" is fine, but it seems to always be the chips and salsa before the main course of "I think a lot of this is sexism, and therefor you, critic, are a sexist" which is fucking crap a lot of the time especially when it turns in to infighting among members on here. What happened to the presumption of good faith? Go defend Anita Sarkeesian or someone who actually gets a ton of hate for no reason and isn't also a terrible person.
posted by emptythought at 1:06 PM on August 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


You end up in a really weird grey zone that often involves a lot of poop and bullshit stands being made where people essentially say "i think there's too much criticism going on here. she did terrible things, but i think there's an abnormal reaction" where there's no way to quantify what exact unfairness is going on, but it's pure "i know it when i see it" and those people are determined to take the moral high ground and shut down criticism every time they see it.

This.

I thought of flagging aught's original comment as a derail, but figured it met the guidelines even if it would have the predictable effect of changing the conversation from the video, the show, the song, or even Rinehart, to whether she was being treated fairly or her critics were merely being sexist, sizeist, etc. Yes, like any woman in the public eye, some of the criticisms against her have a sexist nature, or are too focussed on her appearance. That doesn't mean all criticisms of her fit that description, but (as with, say, the Thatcher obit thread) inevitably someone will claim those elements are in play with any criticisms of the person in question.

(And incidentally, the 'can't help wondering' formation of the objection is in the 'some people say' area of disingenuous discussion, often used to provide a cover for bringing up a topic and then being able to deny that it's what you were doing - a la, 'I didn't say it was sexism, I was just wondering, jeez!' It gives me the irrits.)

I had a discussion/argument with my father last week about Julia Gillard, where I said that even if you didn't like her, you couldn't really say she didn't face criticisms that were based on her purely being a woman - that you can say you have problems with her behaviour, beliefs and policies without descending into gendered insults of the sort she faced all the time. My father vehemently disagreed, instead insisting that it was, in fact, sexism to think she shouldn't be criticised in that way as it suggested women weren't strong enough to take it.

Yes, I tried pointing out where our points diverged. It didn't go especially well.

The thing is, a derailment like that gives evidence to my father's point. Don't do that. He's wrong. Don't give him and those like him ammunition.

As to the video itself? It's a basic song parody, accurate but not especially pointed. Nothing in it stood out as being more offensive than the lyrics, which were all based on things she's actually said. I think to claim otherwise is to hide the reprehensible beliefs of one of the world's richest people behind a dismissal of all criticism, warranted or not, and that dismissal is, I think, another thing we could do with less of around here.
posted by gadge emeritus at 10:01 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Fat rich evil dude who makes an ass of himself" is an absolute comedy standby.

It's interesting, though, how this is still a cultural marker. In the 19th century, possibly even well into the 20th, being overweight was largely an indicator of wealth -- people who worked rarely got heavy. Then, in the latter part of the 20th, the rich became health-obsessed and could afford weird diets, exercise equipment, or personal trainers, and the poor got hooked on high-fructose corn syrup processed crap, which reversed the equation.

Nowadays "fat, stupid, and poor" is a more common stereotype.

So it's a bit of a surprise when one of the wealthiest women on the planet doesn't have a svelte, medically-supervised body. I think some of the "stupid" cultural baggage is getting thrown her way when that wasn't a usual stigma the rich carried.
posted by dhartung at 2:42 AM on August 17, 2013


Minor sideshow: it looks like Gina's stepmother, Rose Porteous, may have edited her own "Wicked-pedia" entry a couple of times: 1, 2
posted by dhartung at 2:57 AM on August 17, 2013


If you want to consider issues of gender and weight, you should consider Gina's comedy against Nathan Tinkler, Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest or Clive Palmer.

Tinkler is a chubby bankrupt hiding out somewhere in Asian from his creditors, and Twiggy is a fairly trim billionaire making mad bank every day.

Anecdotally, Tinkler is a buffoon who got lucky, and Forrest is a canny businessman who got lucky and is a relatively nice guy (he does a lot to support Aboriginal communities where he works, and anti-slavery groups like Walk Free).

Gina got lucky, and is, by all accounts, a pretty terrible person. Everyone around her has signed non-disclosure agreements, she goes through lawyers like water, and her volunteer charitable donations (I hear) are minimal where she does not have to deal with traditional owners.

Portly Clive Palmer is a buffoon. He's getting savaged at the moment because he's running for PM.
posted by Mezentian at 3:02 AM on August 17, 2013


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