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Nobody likes a bogan…

December 8, 2013

Triple J’s Hack program took many callers on the “Bogan” phenomenon. What does bogan mean, is bogan good, are we all a little bit bogan?

“As long as you have a job and pay your taxes, I don’t give a stuff how bogan you are mate.”

This man’s answer would sound like a good response. The embrace of all types of people, even beer swilling, misogynist, love their car-types. I really liked that movie “Happy Feet”- among the morals of that story was that of “everyone is different and we should all be accepting and loving”. I am not a smart person, but I think that this is the basis of what political theorists call “liberalism”. Liberal being freedom and individuality- you can do what you like, so long as you don’t hurt anyone else. Talk rough, wear flannel and drink VB- that’s fine. Wear a suit, eat blue vein cheese and listen to Rammstein, we’ll accept you. Be a penguin who can’t sing, but dance- eventually we’ll learn to like you. Liberalism. Cool.

OR IS IT? (DA-DA-DAHHH! {Ominous})

I think one of the self-observations I have to make over the last few years is that society allows you to be different, as long as you’re the same as the rest of society. Yeah, I just got a paradox into my blog. Think about that for a moment.

So returning back to our Bogan championing friend from triple j:


“As long as you have a job and pay your taxes, I don’t give a stuff how bogan you are mate.”

What seems like a noble tolerable statement, I believe is actually quite tricksy with a brief value analysis.

Let’s start with what is good in this statement.

Working. Yeah, I think we can we all agree that working is not only good for the people around you, but also for your sense of self-worth, your peace of mind and your health.

But the man did not say work did he? He said “have a job”. So having a job, any job I assume is good? If I work in a uranium mine in the Northern Territory and I know some of the stuff I produced led to the deaths and severe pollution at Fukishima is that still good?

If I am coal-seam gas worker and my labour contributes to environmental degradation and global warming, is that still good?

Ok, I guess I wanted to briefly look below the veneer of the ordinary where we as individuals in society assume that having any job is good and people without jobs are bludgers. Not to mention the mentally ill or those in the working class who had insecure work their whole lives and now find themselves aged between 45 and 67 and no chance of ever gaining paid employment. They must be bad according to my tolerant liberal friend.

“As long as you have a job and pay your taxes, I don’t give a stuff how bogan you are mate.”

Paying taxes. Now I have been in hospital. Thank you to everyone who contributed taxes so I could stay in hospital for three days in 2012. Taxes are good for schools and hospitals. (Those, along with lots of other services are being massively attacked by governments who run this line of “work for it yourself, or else you’re a bludger” or “sure, wear clothes from Culture King or I dunno, is Supre still around? Just work for it yourself”). But taxes also subsidise the coal industry and other mining especially in diesel fuel subsidies, everyone else has to pay those taxes except those doing the most damage ecologically… hmmm.

This, of course, is not to mention the billions of dollars paid to the Military-Industrial Complex to make money out of dominance, death and destruction. Universities, the bastions of free speech and free thought are now majorly co-opted by the MIC to research their drones and weapons that kill people on a daily basis. So still good for my taxes to go to that?

So in my liberal sample’s answer about bogan being ok, people who work harmful and destructive jobs and who pay taxes to causes that are inhumane, environmentally homicidal and with complete social irresponsibility are ok. On top of that, you can put your money into cars to burn more petrol and destroy the environment even further and as Bogans are considered dumb or unthinking, let’s even celebrate our unawareness to our social and ecological connections. And this is what makes a person “good”. That acceptance of everyone who is different so long as they contribute with a job that pays taxes, is extremely flawed. Australia’s ‘liberalism’ and love of freedom extends only to those who do these things.

Now I want to swing a bit. Since 2004, the United States has pursued a drone war in Pakistan. Drones are unpiloted craft that are flown by remote control via satellites. So an operator in Washington D.C. could be looking at real-time graphics of real people in Afghanistan. The US claims that the drone wars are a way to pursue Al-Qaeda or Taliban militants without risking US causalities.

Drones have killed, in Pakistan alone, 200 children since 2004. Drone strikes work by hitting the target, presumably a Taliban fighter and after they’ve been blown up, people rush in to help and the drone operator fires again. The legalities of drone strikes in a country that the US has not declared war on aside, it is clearly illegal to attack any person who is attempting to give aid to injured people. Aside from being illegal, to me, the sheer bastardry of such an act defies belief and can only be motivated by very malicious, evil intent.

The assassination of the Taliban leader at a time when the Pakistani government was claiming to be in negotiations for a truce seems to be more about destabilising the region than about American security. But I digress.

Australia’s military is critical in US drone strikes. The joint facility at Pine Gap helps locate and target for the drone program. The deaths of the kids and the illegality of this got to me. So along with some mates, we decided to take our concerns to the Australian military and before the action, I went through some now familiar emotions.

I didn’t want to dress up as Santa and make a noise in public. I didn’t want to look stupid and I didn’t want to get arrested. Rather than being overwhelmed with, well kids in Pakistan are being bombed, that’s much worse than my momentary embarrassment, I had a begrudging “well, someone has to do it” and off I went into town. (Video posted below).

Santa and his stunt double

I felt good after, if a little drained, but in reflecting and struggling to find my voice for this blog, I wondered, why my initial morning hesitation?

Listening to triple j the other day, I realised, that even though I question and challenge general society view of what is good and what is bad, I had succumbed to the same liberal thinking. I was feeling bad because my individuality was different to society’s norms. I was bait for the “get a job” crowd call and for people to say I’m protesting the wrong group, that I am a dickhead, and that I am wasting my time.

But like the liberal answer on Hack, a quick value analysis shows a different story. Kids are dying! The region is being made more unstable and my further or deepen the war. People are fighting when there is more than enough on this rich earth for everyone to work a bit, have a shirt on your back, a roof over your head and food in your belly. Its insane and its greedy and inhumane.

At some point, take 26 minutes and watch this documentary on youtube:

This gives you a greater understanding of the conflict and humanises in it a way I can not.

War is happening, people are dying and suffering is the way of life for many people.

And it doesn’t have to happen! So until war is over, my work is to talk about and raise the profile of the peace movement, this work gives me no income (in fact I have no income at the moment) but I feel that right now in human history, it’s the most important work for any of us to do.

More than 200 kids killed in Pakistan drone strikes since 2004.

More than 200 kids killed in Pakistan drone strikes since 2004.

But it’s not enough. There are lots of us out there having a shake at making this world a little better and we all need to be part of it. So global warming, war, poverty, find what moves you and get out there and make it your work to fix it- right from where you are! (and I won’t judge you on what you choose to wear, as that is your choice):


SPEAK TRUTH or die trying.



Here’s the action:




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One Comment
  1. Adele Goldie permalink

    Great work thankyou

I would be honored if you espoused your narrative here.....

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