Possibly the most abused phrase in our contemporary lexicon, ‘political correctness’ initially referred to the project of re-engineering certain terms to remove implicit discrimination, and promote neutrality and inclusiveness in language. For instance, proponents of political correctness advocate the use of the utilitarian ‘Flight Attendant’, ‘Chairperson’ and ‘Thyroid Challenged Australian’ over more charged terms like ‘Stewardess’, ‘Chairman’ and ‘Joe Hockey’ (sorry Joe – easy target). Uncomfortable with the threat this presented to their perceived right to insult people they don’t care about, the term was seized on by right-wing commentators, and redeployed as a catch-all pejorative phrase to deride the entire spectrum of Progressive thought. They won, and over the years, the addendum ‘gone mad’ emerged, asserting that much like Ken Bruce, political correctness had gone batshit crazy, and become a slavering, rabid, totalitarian Soviet bear, hurtling towards the horizon, wild-eyed and hungry, looking to devour our Freedoms and Way Of Life.
The Bogan latched onto this concept less than a year ago, and ignorant of the term’s troubled etymology, has since been arming itself with the phrase in any discussion of political or social issues, in the time-honoured Bogan fashion of getting these kinds of things wrong. Spurred on by the reactionary commentators most directly responsible for its sorely uninformed yet nonetheless adamantly held opinion on everything from immigration policy to juvenile justice, the Bogan now uses the phrase to stand in place of any actual analysis, the exact adult equivalent of shoving Duplo in its ears and shouting “do not want”.
Because the Bogan’s political convictions are formed entirely out of received wisdom, the argumentative shorthand of ‘political correctness gone mad’ and similar slogans is of great use to the Bogan. The key appeal lies in not having to interrupt its routine of consumption to attain the wide reading of history and current affairs needed for making an informed comment. Further, being able to so succinctly write off anything exhibiting tolerance and compassion towards people different to itself allows the Bogan to effectively reinforce a conviction of its sole entitlement to that cocoon of suburban orthodoxy that provides such utility for crypto-fascist politicians and marketers of energy drinks.