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    Sunday, June 18, 2006

    Bogan is the new Black

    I can only remember meeting two aboriginal people when I was a kid, the first was a member of the Stolen Generation™, apparently I screamed when I first saw her; I don't remember, I was only about two years old at the time. We became fairly good friends for a few years, but I haven't seen her since I was about eleven. The second aboriginal person I met was Lionel Rose. I was six or seven, he was world champion and he would sometimes play cricket with us in the street. I met him a few times later in life when he was on the grog and after, when he had picked himself up again. Which is just a bit of fame-whoring and not relevant to this post.
    I can remember only two non-Anglo-Saxon families in our neighbourhood. There was a German family who lived up the street who kept pretty much to themselves and we had the stereotypical Greek corner store owners. My brother went to school with a kid who had the surname Poppadopalopoulos, but he may have been bullshitting, too; he also claimed to know an Ernest Deadly. As surnames were read out first during roll-call, this would of course become
    Deadly Ernest.
    Whatever. At the time Greeks were wogs, Italians were Dagoes and Aborigines were boongs. The only Asian people I had ever seen were running Chinese restaurants. Dad worked with people from a wider range of ethnicities, particularly people of Baltic heritage. We also have Austrian relatives. Aboriginal rights had recently become something of a popular cause due to the efforts of people like Charles Perkins, so I think that the majority of Australians had something of a paternalistic soft spot for Aboriginal people. I think that for a lot of people this remains true, particularly for a lot of the non-aboriginal people who are the most vocal on the subject.
    The point that I am trying to make is that in my youth, suburban Australia was white and anybody who wasn't white was odd. Therefore, anybody who wasn't white was also fair game for some sledging. This had the effect of keeping the darkies/ chinks/ wogs/ etc in their place and also bolstered the ego of the sledger by reinforcing their perceived genetic/ cultural superiority over the sledgee and by cementing the sledger's place as a member of the dominant group.
    Having said that, I don't remember anything particularly malicious about any of the sledging. Most of the people who made Dago jokes would have Italian friends, ditto wogs. Asian people were a bit more insular and my experience of Aboriginal people at the time is too limited to offer an opinion. I have no doubt that it was insulting and hurtful to the recipient, but it wasn't life-threatening. Much like being called a 'planet-raping neanderthal' based on no other information than that you are an irrigator. These days everything has changed, Australia has people from pretty much every country on earth living in it, we've passed through the phase of acknowledging the existence of homosexuality by sledging poofters and gap-lappers to accepting them as another valid group. We are now no longer allowed to sledge anybody because we are conditioned everyday to be sensitive to the needs and feelings of others and to value their emotional wellbeing above our own. We are constantly urged to celebrate the national culture of whatever ethnic group is celebrating this week, we celebrate the Gay (and Lesbian and Bisexual and Transgender and Intergender and other hairsplitting label) Mardi Gras and we slap ourselves around every NAIDOC week.
    On the surface, this would appear to be a Good Thing. However, in practice it is bullshit. People need to be superior to somebody. This is universal. It doesn't just apply to Anglo-Saxons, despite what the Luvvies would tell you. Suppressing this has led to two major devopments; the rise of a more vigorous, malicious form of racism among working class Anglo-Saxons (along with the rise of ethnicity based gangs among non-Anglos) and the spectacle of the Anglo-Saxon majority feeding upon itself. This takes two separate forms: first, Anglo-Saxon people are made to feel guilty for being part of a successful group, which in itself takes many forms - the 'sorry' campaign being the most prominent example. The main form of self-consumption though, is the rise of the '
    Originally an affectionate, if derogatory epithet, it used to refer to a specific subset of the Australian Anglo underclass.
    Wikipedia has a very fair and accurate article explaining this. The Uncyclopedia definition is suspiciously similar. These days, howver, most of the affection has gone, to be replaced by a vitriol towards a particular group (of which I am probably a marginal member) which has not been seen in Australia since Lambing Flat. Witness the Urban Dictionary definitions. This is a position which is adopted by both the Right and the Left, although it is adopted much more enthusiastically on the Left, who blame 'Bogans' either directly or indirectly for John Howard, the resurgence of aggressive religious conservatism, Australia's participation in the invasion of Iraq, global warming, Japanese whaling - indeed, evertything they may disagree with. According to the Luvvies, everybody who isn't actively involved in a campaign either for or against something is an apathetic VB swilling wife-beater who has their opinions formed for them by John Laws, Ray Martin and the Daily Telegraph.
    I could go on (and on and on and on) about the way that the definition of the word 'bogan' has been broadened to include pretty much any white person the speaker feels superior to (which is most of them, most of the time; particularly if the speaker too, is white) or how vicious and inaccurate the use of the word has become, but I won't. I'll tell you why it has happened, instead.
    In fact, I already have told you, partly at least. People need to feel superior. But feeling superior isn't enough. Other people have to know that they are superior, too.
    You are not allowed to claim superiority on racial, sexual, intellectual or gender based terms any more, therefore another target has become necessary. That target is the 'bogan'. Of the same racial background (usually) as the person using the word, 'bogan' cannot be considered racist. Both men and women can be considered to be 'bogan' therefore it isn't sexist. Homosexual 'bogans' are rare and I am not aware of any transgendered persons of boga, but this may be an oversight on my part and does not necessarily indicate that the term 'bogan' denotes homophobia on the part of the user, although 'bogans' themselves are traditionally thought to be homophobic. They are also considered to be racist, sexist, shoppinglist and every other -ist word you can think of. All of these negative traits have increased in recent years as 'bogans' become more than the nation's scapegoat, they become what the nation fears itself to be.
    Much like Prohibition produced an epidemic of binge drinking lawbreakers in the You Ess in the 1920s, suppressing people's natural desire to differentiate themselves from others in a way which seems positive to themselves has caused them to express this desire negatively, vicariously and in a much more extreme manner. To put it another way, the use of the word 'bogan' is to mainstream Australia very similar, but not synonymous with what the term 'beard' is to homosexuals.
    Whereas a 'bogan' is likely to be racist in general terms and less so in interpersonal terms, the person using the label 'bogan' is more likely to be theoretically multi-cultural, but may feel some discomfort if, say, they met a group of Lebanese youths after dark, or found themselves in the middle of a group of aboriginal metho drinkers in a Moree park.. Unnaturally, they will feel guilty about this and they project their 'evil' thoughts, much amplified, onto that lesser being, the 'bogan'. A 'bogan' too would feel uncomfortable in those situations, but has no guilt about it. A Moree resident may think to themselves that they should have known better than to let themselves get caught in 'a mob of park boongs' but he doesn't let that colour his feelings towards other aboriginal people, whom will have as workmates, sporting team-mates, neighbours and friends. What he sees as a group of societies losers, the luvvies see as victims of white persecution (because every negative in an Aboriginal's life is the result of White persecution, White Apathy or White something else. Their paternalistic attitude will not allow them to acknowledge the possibility that Aboriginal people are just as capable of making bad decisions as white people are.), he feels guilty about this persecution and this magnifies the guilt he felt because of being uncomfortable in their presence.
    Rationally, if he felt this unnecessary guilt, you would think that he would actively do something about alleviating the situation. But he doesn't. He's too busy planning his next career move, or paying off his inner-urban terrace or packing for his next trek in Nepal. This too makes him guilty. All this guilt has to go somewhere.
    It's lucky that most 'bogans' have broad shoulders.
    I'll leave you with a quote from a book I bought in a trendy St. Kilda bookshop in 1999. I can't find it online, so if there are any typo's or mis-spellings, they belong to me, not the author,
    Don't you just hate 'em? Every gap-toothed, inbred, uncivilised, violent and hopelessly DUMB one of 'em? Jesus, how can you not hate 'em? There's no class of people with less honor. Less dignity. No-one more ignorant. More gullible. They're a primitive breed with pre-historic manners, unfit for anything beyond petty crime and random bloodletting. Their stunted, subhuman minds are mesmerised by cheap alcohol, Lotto fever and the asinine superstitions of poor-folk's religion. They stop beating their wives just long enough to let 'er squeeze out another deformed rugrat. They scatter their hand-me-down genes in a degenerative spiral of dysfunction. They breed anencephalic, mouth-breathing children. Vulgarians. All of them. Bottom feeders. They really bring down their race.
    Luckily for you, I didn't specify which race that is. If I'd been talking about black trash, I might be lynched. If I was talking about white trash, I'd merely be another torchbearer in an ongoing national lynching. The differemce between vile racism and precision satire all depends on the nigger's color.

    Which is the first two paragraphs from a book by Jim Goad called The Redneck Manifesto and is of course copyrighted by him. Hopefully he won't get all shitty at me for pinching a bit without asking. Everybody should read it.


    Blogger Engels said...

    Obviously extremism is bad in all directions. Did you grow up in a small country town or a surburb of a larger city?

    I personally spent my first nine years in a NSW country town with mainly Anglo-saxons, aborigines, the odd immigrant, and no Asians. I don't recall any ethnic slurs used.

    6/19/2006 08:55:00 am  
    Blogger Dirk said...

    Both, northern suburbs of Melbourne 'til I was nine, then a small town in Gippsland. The farms around the town had about 30-40% Italian ownership. I don't remember any tension at any time.

    6/20/2006 06:15:00 am  
    Anonymous Crass said...

    Very true words, particularly those about white guilt and the parternalistic attitude that comes from it. Salutations.

    6/21/2006 12:42:00 pm  
    Blogger Dirk said...

    I strongly believe that some of the most racist people you will ever meet are among those pushing the 'anti-racism' barrow

    6/21/2006 05:29:00 pm  
    Anonymous Crass said...

    So true. Mostly they are people that have never met an indigenous person or an asian. They'd never go into those neighbourhoods, dontch'a know. I think it's racist to assume that people are really in any way different, down inside. Not everything about our culture is bad, not everything about other cultures is good. It all evens out in the end.

    6/25/2006 04:26:00 pm  
    Blogger Dirk said...

    Not everything about our culture is bad, not everything about other cultures is good. It all evens out in the end.
    They ought to put that on a plaque at the entrance to the liberal arts wing in every university.

    6/26/2006 03:20:00 am  
    Anonymous Crass said...

    I am a cheeneeous.

    6/28/2006 07:43:00 pm  

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