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Monthly Archives: January 2013

Readers interested in Bogans and Boganism should turn in the first instance to Things Bogans Like, which has been fearlessly dissecting the Bogan phenonemon for some 255 blog entries now (as of last count).

This post is a small contribution to the field of Boganism which I hope will be received as a discussion paper by the wider Boganologist community. In it I would like to propose the concept that like Autism, Boganism should be viewed as a spectrum which may be inhabited at many point rather than a canonical syndrome of specific morbidity and then I go on to discuss the corrosive effects of Boganism on the political and social culture of Australia.

I Am, You You, We All Are (To Some Extent)

Holidaying with my wife’s family and primary school age children at a famous Australian family resort this summer, we all went down for the splurge Buffet Breakfast. As we ate, the carpet under the breakfast table (no we were not eating the actual carpet you nong) began to accumulate a film of semi-masticated scrambled egg. Indeed, it was only the deposition of my own contribution to that revolting layer, which spilled out of my gob during a pertinent observation on our souvenir’s value-for-money ratio, which caused me to even notice said film.

Disgusted by what I found under the table I felt a stab of self-awareness, especially as my subconscious recalled to mind the Kath and Kim episode set at a similar resort with certain dining room behaviours now horribly amplified.

Are we…? flashed my egg-empowered cortex…

Elation

Just then my Nephew returned to the table, elated at his mastery of the automatic Hot Chocolate dispenser. He was a little unlucky. As he approached the table a little too quickly, a woman with a particularly huge butt suddenly pulled her chair out in front of him. Young Daylon had no chance to dodge. He gloriously tripped over the woman’s chair and/or buttocks, fountaining what seemed like seven litres of foaming Hot Chocolate over himself, the chairs, the floor, but miraculously not butt-woman, who merely grunted and lurched off toward the Custard Croissants.

Now sitting not only in the residue of scrambled eggs but also a shallow lake of warm milky chocolate accompanied by an hysterical sobbing primary schooler, the unavoidable conclusion seared me.

I too was am a Bogan.

Not Really A Bogan ?

Now I know what you are thinking, you’re thinking ‘Bogans lack any concept of self-awareness, and any willingness or ability to self-reflect ipso facto you are not and cannot be a Bogan.’

Thanks for your kindness, but the evidence is obvious if not overwhelming. I am on the Bogan Spectrum, along with all my other fellow Australians in that dining room, and I supect most of everyone who wasn’t. Peruse the Things Bogans Like list of 255 Bogan Markers right now. If you don’t identify with at least five, you’re not trying.

So, I propose Boganism should be viewed as a spectrum with your Tribal Tattoo-sporting sufferers smack in the middle with zero chance of rehabilitation, through to those operating at the high-end Asperger-like such as Richard Wilkins (weird, but able to inhabit non-Bogan social constructs) and my own family who seem to have picked up elements of Boganism from environmental exposure.

Welcome To Post-Decent Australia

The entrenchment of Boganism as the central engine of Australian civic culture is correlated to higher incomes earned by Bogans due to the extended China-generated Australian resources boom and overlaps the following parallel social and political phenonema:

The rise of the Aspirational / Bogan-suburb voter bloc, the decline of Unionism (hence political consciousness), the decline of churches and other institutions inculcating social values, the corresponding rise of a nihilistic and naive radical individualism (selfishness), the determination of huge corporations to construct self-obsessed, reflexive and insatiable consumers (advertising), the availability of gargantuan amounts of easy credit, the obsessive use of corporate marketing methods by the major political parties and the corresponding nullity of meaningful political discourse in the mass media.

Now, to cut to the chase, Bogans at their core are completely self-obsessed, are complete puppets of advertisers and do not in the least care about any other individual on the face of the planet. Political parties like this, advertisers like this, Richard Wilkins likes this (as Bogans are his total audience) and Bogans like this. Its a win-win-win-win.

But the consequence is that Australian mass media has created in tandem with its allies ( the major political parties), is seeking to increase and is pandering to an ever growing proportion, now numbering 64% of Australians, who do not give the proverbial about anyone else apart themselves, their pit bulls and their jet ski. Welcome to Post-Decent Australia where those shocked by Road Rage assault just need to harden up.

Its Their Fault And Its Their Fault Too

At this point I would like to insist that you read Andrew Catsaras’s brilliant short article ‘Take Me To Your Follower: Into The Leadership Void’ which describes how the major political parties use corporate mass marketing methods to create, manipulate and (ironically) pander to Bogans.

Catsaras is the House-regular polling wonk on Insiders and a man of depth, which I infer from the fact his soul is alive to the beauty and wonder of Creation and that Catsaras has enough humility to be awestruck by it. Catsaras is also a highly-trained Strategic Marketing Consultant, which becomes obvious from the clarity with which he conveys, applies and explains strategic marketing to the Australian political context. Now go to his blog and Like it. Thx.

Catsaras discusses how Laberal use the marketing tool of Focus Groups, which is to ask Bogans what they want and then promise (or pretend to promise) to give the Bogans exactly that:

If we researched a group of young children and asked them what it is they wanted, many would most likely respond with: stay up late, don’t go to school, and eat chocolate and ice cream at every meal.

Now which responsible parent would agree to any of that?

Yet often the politicians [do exactly that] They would follow the marketing doctrine to the letter, that is, to give the customer what they want. They would agree that the child’s wishes were very reasonable and would proceed to develop policies that would support them.

Philosopher Kings

Now this would be OK if Focus Groups were populated with philosopher kings. But they’re not. They are populated by swinging voters, especially from Western Sydney, which means Bogans. Laberal are now dedicated to discovering what Bogans want and giving it to them ASAP.

So, what about things Bogan’s don’t want. Like Asylum-Seekers ? Well naturally Laberal promise Bogans they will never hear, see, share with, smell, look at, touch, give up a parking spot for or stand behind in a queue at Maccas anything remotely resembling an Asylum seeker. Says Catsaras:

Similarly, if we were to research what it is that children feared the most, a common response might be fear of the dark, especially when they were alone in their bedroom at night.

Again, the responsible parent would not allow such an irrational fear to overwhelm their child.

Yet our politicians again would often follow the marketing doctrine to the letter. Rather than try to dispel these irrational fears, they would legitimise them by suggesting that such fears were reasonable and acceptable regardless of the truth. There would be no attempt to educate the child.

Let me repeat and highlight Catasaras’s last statement: There will be no attempt to educate the child Bogan-voter-public.

And that’s where we are folks. A Bogan-led society ostensibly ruled by politicians pandering to Bogans. Bogans are prized by Laberal because Bogans do not think, which makes them easy to fool, wedge and bribe. Bogans love being bribed provided they are simultaneously told that they are being bribed for the good of the country or that it is their just recompense in order to amerliorate the existential agony of trying to survive on an income of 150K per annum.

How Bogans Vote

During the artificial moral panic generated by The Australian and the Liberal/National Party Coalition over the above-mentioned ALP decision to restrict Baby Bonus to those on incomes under 150K, The weekend Daily Telegraph printed an absolute ripper of a cartoon. It was entitled ‘Your Own Australian Voter’ and presented the Aussie voter, typified as a mildly overweight Anglo Male Adult dressed in a blue singlet vest and baggy shorts, in four panels.

The text showed the voter as a kid’s toy with two settings: ‘Whinge’ and ‘Vote’. The owner of the Aussie Voter toy is instructed to initially set the voter/Bogan to ‘Whinge’ whereupon the voter/Bogan bends, pretzel-like, from the waist, its head going down between its legs then upwards where it disappears into a tiny cavity in its posterior (if you get what I mean). Every three years, the text goes on, flick the switch to Vote whereupon the voter/Bogan stands up looking grizzly and unhappy and sticks out its hands for a govt. bribe / incentive / statutory free Pit Bull protein supplement then toddles off towards the polling station.

It was a beautiful encapsulation of the all-encompassing sense of entitlement, ingratitude, selfishness and vacuity of the Australian polity, political parties included.

Bogans, for their part, are at fault for the nullity of the political discourse by demanding that political parties pander to Boganism.

We are getting the country we deserve.

The Collapse Of Post-Decent Australia

Now a society ruled by Bogans in which no-one gives two hoots about anyone else, where selfishness is a virtue, where fears of our neighbour are encouraged and validated, where Laberal promise more more more to Bogan/voters, where education is intentionally ignored … that society must collapse.

And that’s where Laberal are taking us, via strategic corporate marketing in their accursed focus groups. Laberal are being led by Bogans while intentionally setting out to create more Bogans.

The preferred outcome of a Bogan society is maxxtreme Road Rage and govt. guaranteed and subsidised parking allocations for Jet Ski’s outside every Maccas.

An Alternative Story

May I suggest the following as an alternative to Boganized domination of Australian political and social culture which is told here (with some minor modifications made by me) by a Man I respect very much:

“There was once a man travelling from Sydney to Melbourne. On the way he was attacked by thugs. They badly beat him up, flogged his wallet, credit card and iPad and went off leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a religious bloke showed up; he also avoided the injured man.

“An Asylum Seeker travelling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him into his car, drove him to a hotel, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out a hundred bucks and gave it to the owner, saying, ‘Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill—I’ll pay you on my way back.’

“What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbour to the man attacked by thugs ?”

“The one who treated him kindly,” the religious bloke responded.

Jesus said, “Go and do the same.”

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Holidays

My wife and I were strolling down the beachfront esplanade of the delightful far northern NSW coastal town of Kingscliff when I noticed two Buddhist monks approaching on the other side of the road walking with a town local. Their saffron robes and shaven heads stood out like Flame Trees against the backdrop of sandhills and surf. I decided to ask them a question and waited on the opposite side of the pedestrian crossing.

As they crossed I could see that the town local with them was a newspaper reporter, his polo shirt emblazoned ‘Daily Mail’ and cradling an expensive looking camera.

‘Hello. Are you on holidays ?’, I smiled.
‘ahh holiday ?’ they replied.
‘The gentlemen are from Tibet and they are here to construct a sand mandala.’ said the reporter assuming translation duties. ‘They have a colleague with them who speaks very good English.’
‘Do you think I could ask him a question ?’ I inquired.
‘Of course’

Audience Chamber

So we all wandered up to the Real Estate office a few doors up which had been temporarily converted to a drop-in room for the use of the monks. Inside were living quarters, a mandala construction area, some devotional icons of the Buddha and a number of tables with books, stickers, prayer flags, prayer bowls and leaflets on the Chinese oppression of Tibet. There were another one or two monks there, several locals assisting with the set-up also attired in saffron, and a few passers-by sitting respectfully before a gentle looking middle aged Tibetan. The reporter waved us good-bye

‘That’s Geshe Ngawang Gedun’ an Aussie Buddhist lady told me. ‘He has attained the same level of learning as the Dalai Lama and is permitted to debate with him on the teachings and practices of Buddhism’.

I was impressed.

‘Where does Geshe rank in the Buddhist world heirarchy ?’ I asked.
‘Well, there’s the Dalai Lama, then there’s the leaders of the four major schools of Buddhism. Geshe is the leader of one of the sub-schools in the Gelugpa tradition.’

Again, I was impressed.

‘Would I be permitted to ask Geshe a question ?’
‘Of course’.

Audience
I went over and said hello to Geshe. He took my hand in a friendly way. His previous conversationalists were now watching the other monks commence the sand mandala.

‘May I ask how many past lives have you experienced ?’
Others in the room smiled. Geshe chuckled.
‘Do you remember your past lives? Is it possible to remember them ?’
‘Oh yes. Children in particular often remember their past lives.’
‘Geshe. May I ask you an important question ?’
‘Certainly’.
‘Who is Jesus ?’.

Geshe’s eyes flicked from my face to a point over my shoulder. He seemed a little troubled. This man is in the very top echelon of Buddhist world theologians. In terms of learning and study he is a peer of the Dalai Lama himself. What would Geshe Ngawang Gedun say in answer to the question Who is Jesus ?

‘I don’t know.’

Of all possible answers this one was the least expected.

‘You have heard of Jesus and know His Holy Book ?’ I said.
‘Oh yes. A friend of mine from Southern India is a Christian’
‘And Jesus is a great soul ?’
Geshe placed his hand over his heart and an expression of sincerity and respect crossed his face. ‘Oh yes’ he said.
‘And his teachings are of good quality ?’
‘Yes. Yes.’
‘May I ask you your opinion of one of the teachings of Jesus ?’
Geshe nodded.
‘What did Jesus mean when he said this:’

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

‘I don’t know’ said Geshe again. Was Geshe was blocking me out ? Had he really never considered the identity or core message of the single most influential teacher in human history ?

‘May I say what I think Jesus meant by this teaching ?’
Geshe affirmed his consent with a nod.
‘I think Jesus was teaching us that humankind is seperated from God, from eternal knowledge, from eternal enlightenment and eternal life and that God is saddened by this so he sent His son, Jesus, to make a way back to God for humankind so that we may again attain enlightenment, knowledge and eternal life through His spirit.

Geshe nodded.

‘What do you think it means ?’
‘I don’t know’.

Geshe was nothing but consistent.

‘Would you accept this gift of the Holy Book of Jesus? Perhaps if you wish you can email me later with your thoughts on what Jesus meant by this passage. Again a nod.

I left Geshe the Bible I had just read from and a card with my email address on it. I hope Geshe writes.

Divine Appointment

I must say that for a world-ranked theological leader, Geshe’s insights into the teachings of perhaps the greatest soul in history were indeed minimal.

I feel privileged that God allowed me to bring His word to such an influential teacher in the Buddhist world, one who had been personally commissioned by the Dalai Lama himself to establish the Australian Tibetan Buddhism Centre. It had been a divine appointment.

Wow. What if Geshe converted !?