The breakdown of the family

Examples of social decline, especially in the UK

Re: The breakdown of the family

Postby Mike » 18 May 2013, 08:44

Grant: my reply was to Caleb actually, it didn't really relate to your earlier post.
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Re: The breakdown of the family

Postby Elliott » 18 May 2013, 08:49

Mike, are bogans basically the same as those Americans who get called "rednecks"?
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Re: The breakdown of the family

Postby Mike » 18 May 2013, 08:57

Well, I didn't spend enough time in America to gain a proper understanding of terms such as "redneck", but I think there are some differences. From my understanding, the "rednecks" are demographically rural or semi-rural, whereas bogans are overwhelmingly urban (or perhaps para-urban; they tend to congregate in the outer suburbs of the big cities like Sydney and Melbourne). Another difference seems to be that "rednecks" tend to be supporters of the GOP, for various reasons (the gun control debate, etc.), whereas the bogans are more or less apolitical, although they share the all-rights-no-responsibilities attitude of the British underclass. There's a subset (which Caleb and I have both mentioned here a few times) known as the cashed-up bogans (often CUBs for short) who have actually gained often quite considerable wealth, usually in connection with the recent resources boom here - electricians, plumbers, carpenters and other tradies can make a fortune taking FIFO (fly-in, fly-out) contracts at the big mining projects in Western Australia and northern Queensland. This has led to a particularly gruesome spectacle of Australians making drunken embarrassments of themselves in popular holiday destinations like Bali and Phuket, with the result that Australians are broadly despised by the general population in many parts of Asia - sadly, not without some justification.
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Re: The breakdown of the family

Postby Caleb » 19 May 2013, 03:36

Grant: Sorry. You're right.

Mike: You don't think there's a connection between convict culture and modern boganism? Bogans may be a recent phenomenon in some senses, but I think there's actually a continuous line between their cultures and that of the convict settlers in much the same way as the rednecks and white trash in America can trace their cultural roots back hundreds of years to the times when they left, or were forced away, from the British Isles, including as indentured servants. An interesting (and very amusing) book on this matter is this one, and I can see great parallels with the Australian situation.

My mother's side of the family range from still being bogans (the extended family) to being reformed bogans (her siblings), though they betray themselves. My mother is the only one from her generation who does not say aks or hostibal. Even my cousins betray themselves though because they consider anyone from the southern or eastern side of the Yarra River to automatically be snobs (and have said so, much to my father's annoyance). From what I know of her upbringing in the 1950s, her relatives were essentially bogans, including those of her mother's generation (her father is English). Their bogan ancestry goes back at least until the 1930s or 1920s.
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Re: The breakdown of the family

Postby Mike » 19 May 2013, 07:46

Caleb wrote:Mike: You don't think there's a connection between convict culture and modern boganism?


Not really, except inasmuch as the bogans now seem to take pride in their country's "convict beginnings". As I see it, there's a clear distinction between the long-lasting Australian working-class culture and the rise of the bogans. The latter, in my view, is intricately bound up with the rise of the postwar welfare state. A colleague of mine described meeting a classic Macquarie Fields (female) bogan recently, as a result of an ebay transaction. Kids with rat-tail or mullet haircuts hanging off each appendage, all from different fathers, and an intimate knowledge of what she could claim from Centrelink (said knowledge taking up most of the conversation). One of my own cousins is eerily similar.

Compare that to perhaps the truest and most detailed portrayal of a working-class Aussie in literature, Alf from The One Day of the Year. He's obnoxious, tiresome, narrow-minded and an appalling inverse snob, but there's no way he would countenance the level of dependence that constitutes much of bogan "culture", or the complete lack of a sense of stable family life.
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Re: The breakdown of the family

Postby Caleb » 19 May 2013, 11:21

Mike wrote:
Caleb wrote:Mike: You don't think there's a connection between convict culture and modern boganism?


Not really, except inasmuch as the bogans now seem to take pride in their country's "convict beginnings". As I see it, there's a clear distinction between the long-lasting Australian working-class culture and the rise of the bogans. The latter, in my view, is intricately bound up with the rise of the postwar welfare state. A colleague of mine described meeting a classic Macquarie Fields (female) bogan recently, as a result of an ebay transaction. Kids with rat-tail or mullet haircuts hanging off each appendage, all from different fathers, and an intimate knowledge of what she could claim from Centrelink (said knowledge taking up most of the conversation). One of my own cousins is eerily similar.

Compare that to perhaps the truest and most detailed portrayal of a working-class Aussie in literature, Alf from The One Day of the Year. He's obnoxious, tiresome, narrow-minded and an appalling inverse snob, but there's no way he would countenance the level of dependence that constitutes much of bogan "culture", or the complete lack of a sense of stable family life.


You and I seem to have different definitions of bogan, and your present seems to somewhat contradict something you wrote earlier about cashed up bogans. Are those kinds of guys, tradies, the same kind of people as those on welfare? I don't think they are as such, although there is overlap in some behaviours and attitudes. When I think classic bogan, I think of a guy who works for a living, and with his hands. There are a lot of things that can be said of him, but he has enough self-respect to work for a living. He may be a tradie if he's a slightly upmarket bogan, a bogan with an education (a trade certificate). Otherwise, he probably works in a factory, meat packing plant or something of the sort. I guess there's a subset who are welfare dependent because the factories they worked at relocated to China. He'd surely lose his bogan stripes though. How are you going to afford a Holden Commodore on welfare?

(Just found this site via the Wikipedia entry on bogans.)
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Re: The breakdown of the family

Postby Mike » 19 May 2013, 11:57

Caleb wrote:You and I seem to have different definitions of bogan, and your present seems to somewhat contradict something you wrote earlier about cashed up bogans. Are those kinds of guys, tradies, the same kind of people as those on welfare? I don't think they are as such, although there is overlap in some behaviours and attitudes.


It depends who they are. The ones who use their FIFO money for a three-week binge in Phuket are the ones I think of as bogans. The ones who use the money to get a deposit together, or save for a wedding (such as the electrician partner of a friend of my wife's) I class somewhat differently. ;-)

There could be a Melbourne/Sydney difference here, too. For almost everyone I know in Sydney, the word "bogan" would immediately evoke the outer south-west, which is welfare and single-parent city.

Caleb wrote:When I think classic bogan, I think of a guy who works for a living, and with his hands. There are a lot of things that can be said of him, but he has enough self-respect to work for a living. He may be a tradie if he's a slightly upmarket bogan, a bogan with an education (a trade certificate). Otherwise, he probably works in a factory, meat packing plant or something of the sort.


Hmm...I think definitions have changed a bit over the past twenty years or so. For one thing, those jobs are disappearing to Asia now faster than you can say "service economy".

Caleb wrote:(Just found this site via the Wikipedia entry on bogans.)


Ha! I like it.

I would suggest, though, that the subspecies being dissected on those pages could be classified more accurately these days as the McMansionite.
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Re: The breakdown of the family

Postby Gavin » 13 Jun 2013, 10:01

I suppose this might be able to go in the multiculturalism subforum, but anyway:

I do a lot of reading on the Wikipedia. I read about almost anyone I hear about, and I've spotted a trend. I have been unable to encounter any incidents of a multiracial couple (a white woman choosing a black man) whereby the man has stuck around. When I read about mixed race people who I see on the TV, actors or anyone, the man always "left when [the person] was born" or soon after. It's the same among my own acquaintances. I know of a few mixed raced people (same situation) and again in each case the father left very soon after the birth.

If anybody knows of any cases whereby the father stayed around please let me know. It would be nice to hear of these.
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Re: The breakdown of the family

Postby Nathan » 13 Jun 2013, 11:07

Two sporting examples of people from mixed-race families (black father/white mother): Lewis Hamilton and Jessica Ennis.

Lewis Hamilton's parents did separate in his early years, but his dad took a very active involvement in supporting him through all the different racing series, and even when he got to F1 used to be his manager. Not sure what level of involvement Jessica Ennis's dad has had in her career, but they seem a decent family from what I can tell.
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Re: The breakdown of the family

Postby Grant » 14 Jun 2013, 11:28

I've seen the posts concerning dating and feel sorry for those who haven't found the same contentment I have from married life. After 31 years of matrimony I feel reasonably qualified to comment on what constitutes a successful marriage and how that partnership is the bedrock for a solid and productive society. The prevailing climate would appear to be at the first sign of trouble, get out of the situation.
A prosperous marriage needs attention and care, and an understanding that those first rapturous months of the marriage cannot last (the physical body could not withstand the pace) My wife is my best friend, my confidante, my sounding board. She keeps me grounded by being my most honest critic and also my most enthusiastic supporter. Our interests are not shared but our morals and philosophy on life are. Life has not always been the bowl of cherries but our ability to surmount difference and minor antagonisms has strengthened our marriage and commitment. I'm sure I have habits my wife finds annoying but she is prepared to look at the big picture, as I am.
Our relationship has flourished as we have come to respect what each of us has brought to our marriage, especially in our children who have become successful members of society and who know what a marriage involves and the commitment and persistence necessary to nurture the partnership we call marriage.
While I don't expect either partner to stay in a violent and abusive relationship, the tendency of many married couples to seek divorce when their marriage doesn't fit with the image of never-ending bliss as portrayed in women's magazines is a clear sign of the quick-fix, me generation. I'm eternally grateful I have a wife who puts up with my faults and foibles, as I excuse hers as the qualities we admire and love in each other far outweigh the faults.
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Re: The breakdown of the family

Postby Nathan » 04 May 2014, 10:43

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Re: The breakdown of the family

Postby Gavin » 26 May 2014, 10:29

On this topic, something that annoys me is the way that it is now totally unacceptable to show any disapproval when a friend of the family, say, announces that she is pregnant by some man whom she is no longer seeing. This happened to us recently. The woman in question selected a man whom everyone could see was not a "keeper", got herself pregnant and he left. She was given a house, payments etc.

She's now gone and done it again, another man, nowhere to be seen (as if there was no such thing as contraceptives). He wasn't even her boyfriend. Yet, when you find out, you are supposed to offer congratulations: it's all wonderful! "Well done", you're supposed to say. But actually it's a disgrace - highly irresponsible behaviour and cruel to the child, who will be deprived of a father. Society has just gone from one extreme to the other on this.
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Re: The breakdown of the family

Postby Jonathan » 29 May 2014, 20:43

Gavin wrote:On this topic, something that annoys me is the way that it is now totally unacceptable to show any disapproval when a friend of the family, say, announces that she is pregnant by some man whom she is no longer seeing. This happened to us recently. The woman in question selected a man whom everyone could see was not a "keeper", got herself pregnant and he left. She was given a house, payments etc.


I find it quite remarkable to think that this happens often enough that there is now a proper and improper way to react to it.

I have some acquaintance with a small number of single mothers. All of them are working, unmarried, approaching 40, and have decided to have a child out of wedlock, with the full support of their family.

The closest I've gotten to what you describe is second-hand knowledge of a friend of a friend (divorcee with a child) who got pregnant from a man she was dating, and soon married him.

Is this really happening that often in England? Even in the middle class (where I have presumed to place your anecdote)?
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Re: The breakdown of the family

Postby Andrea » 30 May 2014, 14:13

I am currently in my local McDonald's (as Costa was packed). Sitting before me are two girls. Unchaperoned, swearing constantly and dressed like whores. They can't be more than eleven years old! Where are the parents? !
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