#178 – Certainty

29 09 2010

If there’s one thing for certain about the bogan, it’s that it likes certainty. It requires its franchised movies and tv shows to clearly inform it of who the good guy is, and who the victor is. Anything more ambiguous bores the bogan, with its attention span entirely unwilling to evaluate or be patient. Generally speaking, the world is kind to the bogan’s need for certainty. The Australian media feeds the bogan emphatic 7 second soundbites that keep the bogan certain through the even the most confusing of times. Today Tonight is also valuable, letting the bogan know who to love and who to hate. Masterchef provides emotiondrums to help the bogan be certain that something is about to happen. But recently, this ozone layer of certainty around the bogan has broken down. The bogan has had a tough 5 weeks.

Generally by dinner time on the evening of a Federal Election, the bogan is able to loudly proclaim the single, one sentence reason why the winner won. But 2010 was different – it was torn between lunging into its shallow toolbox of slogans for “stop the boats”, “our taxpayer dollars”, or “never trust the pollies”. But it didn’t know what to do, and became increasingly angry with the lack of victory that it could either praise or deride. It took more than a fortnight before the bogan could be put out of its misery, and resume viewing the Australian landscape in the pixelated, black and white  manner which keeps things nice and straightforward. It was then prompted by business calls for certainty regarding an emissions trading scheme, causing considerable consternation as it was sure it had just voted against the Greens…

It took a week or two for the bogan to rediscover its footing, briefly returning to its redhead jokes before abandoning politics in the lead-up to the AFL grand final. While grand finals can have their twists and turns, the bogan knows that a couple of hours later, it will be able to experience the certainty of a victorious team being showered in streamers and tickertape. Again, this certainty did not arrive as anticipated, with the game ending in a draw. Bogan uncertainty manifested itself as pure fury. At the final siren, Collingwood captain Nick Maxwell, who was married wearing thongs in Byron Bay in 2009, declared the century-long policy of a grand final replay “an absolute joke”, with numerous players having to reschedule their trips to Bali.

The bogan’s distaste for ambiguity doesn’t just render it an irritating presence in any room, research has also suggested that intolerance of ambiguity is connected with broader themes. Furnham (1995) noted that open-mindedness, which has been equated with tolerance for ambiguity, may be a predisposition to critical thinking (Facione, Facione, & Sanchez, 1994). If presented with the previous sentence, the bogan will become agitated once it encounters the term “may be”. For certain.