The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'bogans'
Australians all let us rejoice, for Schapelle Corby, Ostraya's own People's Princess, is to be released on parole, after serving nine years of a 15-year sentence in an Indonesian prison. Corby became a cause celebre of bogan Australia after being arrested in 2005 for smuggling 4.2 kilograms of prime weed into Bali in a boogie-board case (which, of course, makes her a "legend"). This happened at around the time of the Asian tsunami, and resulted, among other things, in true-blue Aussie bogans across the country angrily withdrawing their tsunami relief donations, on the grounds that if the Asians are going to lock up One Of Us (especially one who's a hot chick), well, fuck Asia then. Also, if you were wondering about the sprinkling of eight-year-old Schapelles across the primary-school classrooms of today's suburban Australia, alongside the ubiquitous Jaydens and Kaydens and suburban kids whose faux-biblical names were imported from America with Oakley Thumps, Jersey Shore and gangsta EDM, there's your answer.
The Guardian looks at whether intellectuals get as little respect in British culture as one is inclined to think:
Britain is a country in which the word "intellectual" is often preceded by the sneering adjective "so-called", where smart people are put down because they are "too clever by half" and where a cerebral politician (David Willetts) was for years saddled with the soubriquet "Two Brains". It's a society in which creative engineers are labelled "boffins" and kids with a talent for mathematics or computer programming are "nerds". As far as the Brits are concerned, intellectuals begin at Calais and gravitate to Paris, where the fact that they are lionised in its cafes and salons is seen as proof that the French, despite their cheese- and wine-making skills, are fundamentally unsound. Given this nasty linguistic undercurrent, a Martian anthropologist would be forgiven for thinking that Britain was a nation of knuckle-dragging troglodytes rather than a cockpit of vibrant cultural life and home to some of the world's best universities, most creative artists, liveliest publications and greatest theatres and museums.There are various theories attempting to explain the British disdain for intellectuals: that Britain, because of its temperate cultural climate and historical good fortune, has not had to evolve an intelligentsia as more fraught countries such as France and Germany have; that Britain (or at least England) in valuing the empirical over the theoretical (or, conversely, being a "nation of shopkeepers", as Napoleon put it), has little room for the kinds of florid theorists who flourish across the Channel, preferring more practical thinkers, or (as the article suggests), that Britain is every bit as governed by ideas as the Continent is, and the supposed disdain for intellectuality is actually a disdain for blowing one's own horn or being too earnest. Or, perhaps, a combination of these.
And while English anti-intellectualism (the Scots may well argue that it is strictly a south-of-the-border phenomenon) may disdain the more abstract and less market-ready areas of thought, the colonial strains are considerably more virulent:
Marginson thinks there is a particular problem for science common to most English-speaking countries except Canada, which has a strong French influence. He says that in Australia, particularly in working-class cultures: ''Not all people think it is smart to learn; some feel it is not going to help them much and they think people who do well at school are wankers. It is a view pretty commonly felt and is not terribly conducive to having a highly educated population.''To be fair, I've seen the same argument said about British working-class culture, though combined with nostalgia for an age when self-improvement was a widespread working-class ideal, now sadly replaced by acquisition of bling.
Internet memes (once described, perhaps unkindly, as "like in-jokes for people who don't have friends") aren't purely an American or Anglosphere phenomenon. Cracked has a list of seven quite peculiar internet memes from foreign countries.
The Russians have two entries: PhotoExtreme is an offshoot of live-action role-playing games, as one would expect in the sort of hardcore place that Russia is fabled to be. In this meme, one person comes up with a bizarre scenario, and others act it out, take photos and post them online. The scenarios are acted out in public, without anybody being informed in advance, so bystanders are likely to be confronted with surreal, often violent (ontologically, if not literally) spectacles.
The other Russian meme is a more innocuous one, not unlike LOLCats, which originated from a rather naïve American drawing of a bear, and involves photoshopping said drawing into images. In Sweden, meanwhile, they do something similar with an image of a guy with a horse's head; this meme is named "Snel Hest" ("Nice Horse") and often involves horse-related puns. Meanwhile, the French go in for sarcastically 'shopping their self-aggrandising president Sarkozy into various historical scenes (it seems to be akin to the "Al Gore invented the Internet" meme of the 1990s) and in Australia, a video of a racist bogan chick went viral (the great Australian public doesn't really go for highly conceptual, it seems). The Kenyans, meanwhile, have a supercool tough-guy hero named Makmende, whose name comes from a mangling of Clint Eastwood's famous line "make my day".
The latest addition to the "Things ___ Like" genre is Things Bogans Like, looking at the common Australian bogan.
18 – Petrol Consumption as Recreation(Bogans, for those unfamiliar with them, are sort of like the Australian equivalent of chavs (except without the quasi-civilising influences of the more drugged- and/or thugged-out sides of Balearic rave-techno and hip-hop) or rednecks (only without the religion and guns). The MetaFilter thread explains it better than I can:
13 – Misspelling Their Kids’ Names
11 – Ruining Music Festivals
6 – Prefacing Racist Statements With ‘I’m not racist but…’
Bogans are just bogans. You don't really get the equivalent overseas. Take the awkward upward social mobility of a chav, mix in the fierce anti-intellectualism and tribalism of your redneck, the utter lack of self awareness of the frat boy, baste it in cheap beer and abandon it on a prison island, hidden in the summer for a million years. They're nice, very unusshual, verry unikwe.
That my friends, is a bogan.
Of course, they tend to have broad senses of humour, strong loyalty to friends and family, no matter what the friends and family do, and a certain code of honour that you do not break. Don't fuck with kids or old ladies, share your hospitality, and help folk out if they're in trouble. A bogan may start a fight, but they'll often break them up, too. They may have their rough sides, but most bogans are okay people.And here is a retort from the bogan side, slagging off the "inner-city tossers" who go to Laneway music festivals and bars with retro furniture, travel to obscure countries, spend their weekends reading newspapers, browsing independent bookshops and having deep, depressing conversations, typically using unnecessarily large words. Alternatively, here's Stuff White People Like: the Melbourne Version.
(via MeFi, Lachlan)
The Independent, a British newspaper, sends a journalist to report on Australia's heart of darkness; or, more specifically, the Bathurst motor races, and the petrolhead culture around it:
In the past, families steered clear of "the Hill", where old bangers were crashed into trees, flipped and set on fire. "Burnout" and "doughnut" competitions were staged, lavatory blocks were blown up. One year, an ice-cream van was fire-bombed, sofas were torched, and battles were fought with missiles including beer cans filled with concrete. It was reported that campers had played cricket with live chickens.
At Mount Panorama, often referred to as Mount Paralytic, fans set up rival camps and hurl abuse – and sometimes flaming loo-rolls – at each other. But relations between the red (Holden) and blue (Ford) tribes are mostly good-natured enough. Trevor Dunn and Rebecca Wynn, diehard Holden supporters, drove up from Canberra this year and pitched a tent next to their friends, Ford fanatics Janine Winnell and Kenny Woodcock. Janine sprayed Kenny's hair blue. Trevor and Rebecca brought their 16-month-old son, Bryce, barely able to lisp his own name but already a Holden boy. "You drill it into them, so they've got no choice," Trevor explains.
So sweet is that sound to Ford and Holden fanatics that one Australian car magazine produced a CD featuring a selection of V8 engines revving up. The previous night, Phil and his friend Colin had put it on the stereo in their tent. "We played it really loud and there were heaps of people gathered round," he says. "But we turned it up too high and fried the stereo."
At Bathurst, the idea that gas-guzzling V8s are an anachronism in a time of environmental responsibility cuts little ice. Holden sold more V8 cars last year than ever before, with some buyers saying that they thought it might be their last chance to own one.
A Commons inquiry into whether flying has become less pleasant has been told that flights with budget airlines are unpleasant, because of the quality of the passengers they attract:
He read out one description, saying the experience could be summed up as "very unpleasant, a good proportion of people shout the length of the cabin, walk around with drinks, use foul language and are generally awful".The representatives of two budget airlines, EasyJet and FlyBe, denied suggestions that they tolerate a poorer standard of behaviour than more expensive airlines. Though, if there is a correlation between the costliness of a journey and the standards of behaviour the travellers (consciously or subconsciously) believe is expected of them, what the airline will tolerate is beside the point.
Assuming that there is more bad behaviour on budget flights, I wonder what proportion of that is due to not so much the social class/lack of proper upbringing of the passengers as the context of the situation: in other words, some people who would otherwise behave respectably assuming, consciously or otherwise, that, since they're on a budget flight, the expected standards of behaviour are a lot lower than elsewhere. Call it a transport-related variant of the broken windows theory.
There's an opinion piece in The Age's blogs about how the rest of the world is sick of travelling Australians, who, after long years of being regarded as lovable, are getting a reputation as the "New Yanks":
Firstly, we're suffering from a serious case of overexposure. The fact that Australia is so far away from anywhere else used to mean that not many of us made it to foreign shores. Now, not only do we have air travel, but we have extremely cheap air travel, meaning that any wanker who can manage to scrape together a few hundred dollars can go and prop up the tittie bar industry in Phuket for a week or so.
We're now seen as the arrogant, loud twats who complain when everything's different to how it is back home. Australians always had a reputation for liking a party, but now we're the obnoxious drunks, abusing the bar staff because their English sucks, whingeing that we'd kill for a Carlton Draught instead of this crap we're being forced to drink.Though to be fair, crap Australian domestic beer is a notch above crap British domestic beer. A Carlton Draught or Toohey's may not compete with the best of the Czech Republic (or, for that matter, a pint of Samuel Smith's Old Brewery), though it's decidedly more drinkable than Carling (which has a monopoly on live music gigs over a certain size) or Foster's (which nobody in Australia actually drinks; much like various TV soaps, it's a product made primarily to be passed off to foreigners).
Another reason for Australia's declining image could be its politics. Whilst Australia has traditionally been such a minor player on the international stage to evade notice, the present government's determination to be a cheerleader for everything that pisses off liberals, from the Iraq war to blocking the Kyoto protocol, may have created an impression of Australia as the Big Red State Down Under. And then there is the rise of a rather ugly strain of muscular nationalism among young Australians these days (witness all the flag-waving, the stereotyped chants of "Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi" — incidentally, is there a more aggressively mindless national slogan anywhere? — and other generally boorish behaviour), which may be a cultural artefact of the Howard Culture War and the vanquishment of the more thoughtful (if sometimes woolly) liberal/cosmopolitan Whitlamite values of the previous few decades by an atavistic right-wing jingoism — the values of idiot certainty backed with force.
But yes, here in London, the stereotype of an Australian about town seems to involve drinking vodka by the bottle, cracking onto every available-looking female, talking loudly about how much everything is better in God's Own Country, and passing out in one's own vomit in the gutter outside Walkabout at 3am.
Meanwhile, readers have posted their own anecdotes about Ugly Australians to the article:
As an aussie living in London, I find nothing more embarassing than walking past the pub on my local high street (the slug and lettuce in fulham for any fellow londonites- aka the 'sl*ts and legless') where any night of the week you'll find it packed by 8pm with slaughtered aussies singing along to ac/dc, bryan adams or - way too frequently- country roads drinking snakebite and black (lager, cider and blackcurrant cordial). You'll also find the aussie bar maids and mates will stand up on the bar with their tops off on regular occassions. And people wonder why we're getting a bad rep abroad...?
I agree completely... My friend from Montreal started calling us 'pigeons' because we are everywhere... not that like the comparison but I would have to agree with him.
As I read this article I was having flashbacks of living in the Lakes District and attending an Australians-only party (shows how good we really are at assimilating). One of the head honcho Aussie jocks was running around the village with an Australian flag draped over his shoulders and a plush crocodile under an arm, shouting 'Crikey!' to the unimpressed townsfolk.
As a long-term Londoner I have to fully agree with Damien that John Howard has done more to harm the image of Australians than any drunk in Earl's Court or Shepherd's Bush. He has made Australia so isolated with his unquestioning (and unthinking) blind allegiance to Gerorge W. and his attacks on basic human rights that Europeans now believe that Australians care about nobody but themselves. Until you guys vote John Howard out and rejoin the rest of the world nobody wants you!Which reminds me of a joke I heard. There's a Londoner, an Australian and a South African having a drink in a pub. The Australian finishes his drink, throws his glass in the air, pulls out a gun and shoots it. "In Australia, the lucky country, we're so rich from our natural resources, we never need to drink from the same glass twice", he says. The South African finishes his drink, throws his glass in the air and shoots it. "In Sarth Efriker, we're so rich from our diamond mines, we never need to drink from the same glass twice", he says.
Then the Londoner finishes his drink, and says, "in London, we've got so many Australians and South Africans, we never need to drink with the same ones twice." And with that, he pulls out a gun and shoots them.
Attendees at the Sydney Big Day Out have rejected the organisers' call to leave flags at home; the festival was a nationalistic show of strength, with flags everywhere, and an underlying atmosphere of jingoism.
However, political leaders rejected his appeal, and today many fans on their way to the event appeared to be ignoring his request as well.
Rather than the flag being a victim, as it was portrayed in arguments about its use at the Big Day Out, academic Roger Bell believes it was used as a heavy hitting weapon by over-nationalistic aggressors at Cronulla, and that this mood carried through in the weeks leading up to BDO.Could this be more evidence for the hypothesis that today's youth have rejected the left-wing values of the 1970s and 1980s and shifted dramatically to the right (see also: Vice Magazine, Hillsong) and line up on the Howard government's side of the culture war, or even that Howard's Australia is developing a US-style culture of flag-waving jingoism, coupled with the intolerant, aggressive majoritarianism that has been on the rise?
"People I know were in the audience last year and witnessed people basically being made to kiss the Australian flag and if they didn't they would get their head beaten in," Ms Ashworth said.I wonder whether one could be beaten up for wearing one of those Dangerfield "Worst Prime Minister" T-shirts to Big Day Out.
The latest social pastime for privileged kids in Britain are chav parties, where they dress up as stereotypes of unruly proles. Apparently even Prince William (he's the sensible one who doesn't go in for Nazi uniforms) has gone to a few.
There were various things on display," he says. "Pictures of rugby teams, of parties and discos. But the one that really jumped out was of a chav-themed school disco: all these rosy-cheeked, foppish-looking public schoolkids dressed in baseball caps and Adidas tracksuits. It looked a bit pathetic; at first I suppose I felt slight pity for them. But then I thought about it another way: here were the most privileged kids in Britain pretending to be poor people."(See also: trucker hats, "Kill Whitey" club nights, "bogan rock" nights in Prahran, Vice-twats ironically drinking cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon)
You find out the oddest things when searching Google for "bogans". For example, that there's a Swedish pop band called The Bogans. They seem to be more Britpop than AC/DC though; still, some of their hairdos look rather bogan. Most of the links are to news articles about some basketballer whose surname happens to be Bogans; though there's a web design firm called bogan.com. Apparently they had a family reunion page, but that seems to be gone; perhaps because it was inundated with posts from actual bogans as opposed to Bogans?