#67 – Southern Cross Tattoos

19 01 2010

As previously discussed on TBL, tattoos regularly adorn the Bogan’s body, advertising such things as warlike toughness, confected spirituality, femininity and cultural sensitivity. In the tradition of co-opting symbols it doesn’t fully understand, the Bogan tatt du jour is the Southern Cross Tattoo. A beautiful and evocative design derived from the celestial formation of the same name, the Southern Cross appears on the Australian flag, and also the flags of New Zealand, Brazil, Papua New Guinea and Samoa.

The Bogan, considering itself patriotic, is actually a nationalist, and being unaware of the distinction between these two things, believes Australia has a monopoly over a constellation that is visible from about fifty other countries the Bogan has never heard of. Subsequently, the Southern Cross Tattoo, or the “Aussie Swazie”, as it’s known in some circles, has become for the Bogan a symbol of ‘Aussie Pride’, a secret Bogan codeword for immense racial intolerance.

The Southern Cross Tattoo comes in a number of forms, from the popular and simple five star design, to those incorporating the outline of the Australian continent or a boxing kangaroo, and is sometimes adorned with such ‘patriotic’ slogans as ‘fuck off, we’re full’, ‘we grew here, you flew here’, and ‘if you don’t love it, leave’.

These slogans first came to the attention of the wider public during the 2005 Cronulla riots, started when local Bogans became incensed that groups of Lebanese people were behaving like Bogans on ‘their’ beach. The Aussie Bogans attempted to send the Lebanese packing, but failed to make Cronulla 1/100th as scary for Lebanese people as Beirut.  Southern Cross Tattoos have been proliferating in Australia ever since, TBL’s tattooist sources claim to be churning out about fifteen Aussies Swazies a week, a startling pace which shows no sign of slowing.

So, as the sun sets on another day of being a proud Aussie, the Bogan looks towards the skies only to be baffled by the strange appearance of a constellation that looks a possum sitting in a tree. It quickly ignores this astronomical anomaly, briefly glances at its tattoo and continues to scan the landscape for any stray Lebanese.