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John Passant

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Sprouting sh*t for almost nothing
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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

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Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)



Tiger Woods and Mary MacKillop

Golf has lost a saint and Australia has gained one. At the same time Tiger Woods was delivering his mea culpa, the Pope was announcing Mary MacKillop’s impending canonisation.

One saint is seeking redemption; the other has won it for herself, and others, apparently.

Both events were retail extravaganzas.  

Tiger was selling himself and more broadly golf – only slightly shop soiled but the stain can be removed.

In Rome the Pope was selling brand MacKillop to the Australian people. Work hard, help the poor,  pray, and somewhat sotto voce, stand up to Church authority, and bingo – go to heaven.

The Church hopes that Mary MacKillop will be the Tiger Woods of religion in Australia, without the sins but with a drawing power that will have people coming back through the turnstiles, oops, doors.

But it’s not just about bums on seats.

Both Tiger and MacKillop offer hope to a sizeable number of people; hope in a world of misery, of war, of poverty, of dull and mindless work.

The sigh of the oppressed takes different forms – closeted golfing males and sequestered female orders share a common alienation from their own humanity and express it in the adulation of their leaders.

They invest in others what is within their own lives.

The spin doctors sell the saint to a wider audience of alienated humans who escape that alienation by reinforcing it.

These two saint superstars are (or were)  human but have become separate from us.

Many fetishise their prowess – to hit a ball or ‘cure’ the terminally ill. 

We create a need for human miracles to rise above the ordinary, to rise above our humdrum work existence and the denial of full participation in life that capitalism imposes on us.

We worship sporting feats (real enough if manoeuvring a ball around a course is a feat) or miracles performed by those beyond the grave (surreal explanations of unexplained spontaneous cancer cures).

Our human needs are real enough – to address the profound alienation of capitalism as its wrenches the life from us and turns its into a new deity – profit. 

We satisfy those needs in different ways, not least for some through the deification of dead women and living golfers.

Who knows – perhaps Mary MacKillop can cure Tiger of his supposed sex addiction? 

No doubt someone somewhere is praying to her now for that very salvation.

Liberation doesn’t happen after death or on the golf course. It will occur when we working people democratise society and produce goods and services to satisfy human needs.

Then we will have no need of Tiger Woods or Mary MacKillop.



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