There was once a time when claiming that bogans enjoyed the nasal whine, fierce ignorance and misguided nationalism of Pauline Hanson would be misguided in itself, and begging for a backlash. While the bogan insists that it is not racist, it is more than happy to broadly stereotype and generalise on the basis of ethnicity or skin colour. The bogan of today is, however, cognisant enough of the forces of Political Correctness Gone Mad to avoid making blanket statements in public about the country being swamped by Asians, and instead its racism was never entirely of a piece with that of Ms Hanson. The result was that the bogan was deeply conflicted over the former member for Oxley.
On one hand, it secretly agreed that it was indeed being swamped by Asians (who couldn’t drive), was having its taxpayer dollars siphoned off to layabout aborigines (who were all alcoholics) and that it was subject to reverse racism because it was neither of those things and didn’t receive sufficient support in Making Ends Meet. On the other, it was not racist. The result was a strange kind of mental stagnation, as the bogan’s rigorously programmed brain was confronted with an unsolvable paradox. The result was that Pauline Hanson really attracted only the votes of those completely happy to be racist – old people.
But that was then. The past five years has given the bogan every chance to engage in Hanson’s very public rehabilitation, as the trashmedia, short of anything it could legitimately call ‘celebrities’ settled for people that were at least ‘recognisable’. Midway through realising that her 2004 attempt to re-enter federal politics was doomed, she instead opted to fail more generally at life, by featuring on Dancing with the Stars. Immediately sensing the chance to ‘forgive’ a ‘celebrity’, the bogan instantly propelled her to the final, only to be confronted by a choice between a forgiven Hanson and an ascendant Hewitt.
After that, Hanson released an autobiography called Untamed and Unashamed, two things the bogan, rebellious Underbelly viewer that it is, certainly considers itself to be. Less mentioned is Hanson’s earlier book called The Truth, which suggested that Aborigines routinely engaged in cannibalism. Nonetheless, Hanson’s journey to bogan forgiveness is now complete, as she competes alongside a series of utterly failed semi-public figures in Celebrity Apprentice, a program that is effectively designed to see which low-rent, feckless Australian is most willing to debase themselves in order to garner a few more moments in the public eye.
Today, Pauline Hanson is comfortably ensconced in the bogan pantheon, with a lifetime of income to be drawn from her continued public exposure for no reason beyond the fact that the bogan recognises her. Once, she was (allegedly) driven to electoral fraud in order to make a crust, but from now on, she may suckle on the nourishing, engorged teat of the bogan’s ignorance. And she will.