Watching the footy these days is a whole different experience. Groomed beards and man buns have replaced the bleached blonde Capper-esque mullet.
But are we any less bogan? Are the man bun and cuffed pants the latest Aussie adaptation of bogan expression? Surely at heart we are still more comfortable listening to AccaDacca in our uggies than worrying about whether our bobby pins come loose when we kick a goal.
Bless him, Aussie comedian Pauly Fenech, of the subtle television comedies Pizza, Housos and Bogan Hunters, has written his first book, The Bogan Bible. His argument is that bogans embody “all of the great aspects of our proud culture – being carefree, individual, wild, loyal, honest, humorous people who live fast and passionately”.
“In fact”, the publicity blurb burbles, “Pauly Fenech argues that many of us are in fact bogans in denial.”
Who’s denying? When our mums were packing our scabby legs off to school with our cheese and Vegemite sandwiches packed in our Skippy lunchboxes in our ports, bogans didn’t really exist.
They were known as Aussies.
We might not yet have had the benefit of a ride-on Esky, but if we wore shoes, they were thongs. The boy down the road sported a mullet and all of us travelled in Holdens, with our young thighs stuck to the red vinyl as we sat on the front bench seat sandwiched between mum and dad. There was no air-con.
We were too poor for Walkmans, so if we were lucky, we had a cheap portable radio with substandard earplugs and we listened happily to static all the way to the beach.
We didn’t know we were bogans.
Fenech might have a point. Most Aussies, rich or poor, were in fact bogans. From Bob Hawke to Chad Morgan (I believe a few of you should google this fellow for a bit of education) and even Olivia Newton-John.
Have we lost it? Look at the people we celebrate today – Rebel Wilson, Sophie Monk (a self-confessed “massive” bogan), Shane Warne (well, somebody loved him) and Pauline Hanson. I’m not sure where I’m going with this argument.
I think what I’m trying to say is if we don’t still treasure the bogan, we should. They keep us real, mostly because they are us. Heaven help us when the day comes that we find ourselves ruled by a Prime Minister who’s a venture capitalist and lining up for coffee made out of civet poo.