An Aussie waxes eloquent about a quirky bit of artwork
August 11, 2014 11:35 AM   Subscribe

Up, up and g'day: Superdoreen is Miss Galaxy 1982 A fascinating peek into Australian history and culture through a tiny sliver of artwork.

The piece itself has a number of interesting supporting links. But here are a few more:

Some of the Aussie lingo:

bogan Probably the equivalent of "hick."

Rack off ("eff off" basically)


This sentence: The fuel tank, which fell on Kalgoorlie, was exhibited on the stage of the pageant. is about Skylab:

The Night Skylab Fell to Earth

The Re-entry of Skylab

The sky is falling: how Skylab became an Australian icon
posted by Michele in California (10 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
bogan Probably the equivalent of "hick."

Kinda sorta. Bogans are very much an urban/suburban phenomenon, though, whereas "hick" mostly implies "rural."
posted by yoink at 12:45 PM on August 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Some Aussies of, um, a certain age can still sing Rack Off Normie, all these decades later.

How could you forget lyrics like this?

"The Hells Angel and I got married immediately.
Me dad and six brothers arranged it expediently.
Now he's on the run, and I'm on the Deserted Wife's pension.
I wish I'd paid Normie a bit more attention."

To get the full picture, however, you need to also hear The Newcastle Song. Bob Hudson co-wrote both, but the Newcastle Song was part of his comedy act. Rack Off Normie came later as the response.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 3:18 PM on August 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

You do need to listen to The Newcastle Song, indeed, but you need to listen to the extended version.
posted by yoink at 3:40 PM on August 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think "bogan" is closer to "white trash" than "hick", though it's not really the same thing. Kind of clueless and tasteless and rough as guts. I think Urban Dictionary has it, albeit in an extreme form. Also do a Google Image search for bogan, sometimes a picture speaks a thousand words.
posted by Athanassiel at 8:57 PM on August 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

The "up, up and away" bit is probably really a reference to Trans-Australian Airlines (TAA)'s advertising jingle, which adapted the song "Up, UP and Away": "Up, up and away, with TAA, the friendly, friendly way ..."
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:33 PM on August 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have read the Urban Dictionary entry for bogan (and also done a quick review of some images). I would say that "poor white trash" might be a little closer (at least for me, it is slightly more compassionate than "white trash", attributing it partially to circumstances beyond their control) or "from the wrong side of the tracks" which tends to indicate poor and uncultured but not necessarily bad folk. Again, it attributes causation to circumstances they were born into, not bad choices or bad behavior.
posted by Michele in California at 1:44 PM on August 12, 2014

Hm, bogans aren't necessarily poor - witness the phenomenon of CUBs or Cashed-Up Bogans. I think for Aussies, it's closer to a lack of taste and a lack of inhibition in terms of expression, resulting in extreme clothing/dress, copious swearing and a blatant disregard for the finer sensibilities of anyone else. Like many Australian pejoratives, there's a hint of admiration, or sometimes fondness in it as well as the scorn.

As for compassion, it's wasted on bogans. They are generally indifferent to the opinions (bad or otherwise) of others.

I should add that I am a naturalised Australian, after 20 years here I still may not have it completely right.
posted by Athanassiel at 4:58 PM on August 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

Bogan, to the American mind, would probably fall somewhere in that part of the Venn diagram that overlaps both redneck (and I mean the trailer park/subdivision kind, not the down in haller kind) and people from New Jersey. This is fictional, but got the stereotypes. Hallmarks: low class, sporting Southern Cross gear/tattoos, "Fuck off, we're full!"
posted by cult_url_bias at 4:59 PM on August 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

and people from New Jersey

Yeah, this is good; I've been trying to think of a US equivalent and failing. It's not that they're at all similar in any specific details, but it's the same kind of "oh my god, how declasse!" response that they generate (uncultured, brash, loud etc.) but also the fact that they can be quite well-off (as Athanassiel notes) and that there can also be a kind of half-admiring respect for them (they're being true to themselves, they're refusing to kow-tow to middle class norms etc.).
posted by yoink at 5:17 PM on August 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

... not the down in haller kind...

I think you mean holler, like Butcher Holler?

I guess for me "hick" is still probably the closest American word to bogan but it possibly has slightly different connotations for me than for other people -- which is kind of a hazard of growing up in a bilingual home and all that. I am often not quite on the same page as other people. I think I would probably still call these folks hicks -- having nothing to do with income or wether or not they were rural/urban/suburban, etc.
posted by Michele in California at 5:32 PM on August 12, 2014

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