The excellent and hilarious Australian blog, Things Bogans Like often takes aim at Australia’s passive consumerist culture, via devastatingly canny roastings of our trashy press. For sane Australians of a certain mental acuity, TBL articulates the misery in which we live on a daily basis. In fact, I find it so astute as a cultural critique, I even referenced it in an academic paper on Australian identity:
“[a]…highly sardonic and surprisingly nuanced cultural critique is the website Things Bogans Like. Its targets include Australians’ uncritical acceptance and celebration of soporific mass media, moral panics, the worship of sporting professionals over intellectuals, and latent racism that is always preceded by such qualifiers as ‘I’m not a racist, but…’ Another target is conspicuous and foolhardy consumerism. The website defines ‘bogans’ as those who are perhaps a nouveau-riche middle class, or upwardly-mobile working class, who have more expendable income (or credit ratings) than sense and taste. The contemporary ‘bogan’ is represented as a technologically savvier descendent of the uncultured Australian that scholars have long been criticizing and analyzing. At the heart of this website is a challenge to Bourdieu’s theory of cultural capital – that taste is a marker of class (Milner and Browitt 2002, p. 88).”
It’s probably the only instance where writing about Marxist theory was enjoyable.
More frequently, TBL serves as a handy blog on media criticism. The image above, posted on TBL’s Facebook page, is an article from News.com.au published on May 15. The annotations are self-explanatory, but best read alongside Crikey’s notable joint research project with the ACIJ, Spinning The Media: How Much of Your Daily News Is PR? (.pdf).
Can we create a mathematical formula to explain Australian mainstream media? E.g:
Confected outrage + churnalism x unattributed experts as sources = a useless piece of fluff to share with your fellow zombies at the water cooler.
Now I’m off to the inner-city cafe I frequent to enjoy a latte and a copy of the Green Left Weekly after hugging a refugee and some trees along the way.