The Human Condition: Rednecks

My children and I have had many conversations about the differences between bogans and rednecks.

Bogans, we agree are the harmless variety. Albeit a bit rough around the edges, bogans can be pretty damn entertaining. I have time for bogans.

Rednecks, on the other hand are a different breed entirely. Rednecks hate everything that’s ‘different’ and don’t they like to tell you about it.

Growing up part of a large farming family in regional Australia I’ve had my fair share of rednecks. In fact, it was my destiny to marry a redneck and happily raise baby rednecks in his values. That would have made my family happy.

When I took a job as the Manager of an Aboriginal corporation my uncle told my (then) husband that it was time to “pull your woman into line”.

That was never going to happen, but one of my career and community highlights did happen and I’ll never regret that experience.

I could put it down to the city living experience that made me ‘different’ but really, I was always a ‘bit soft’.

With large amounts of tree changers moving their worldly views and possessions to our community the rednecks have shifted from outwardly ‘taking the piss’ of the newcomers to moving the redneck comments to the more accommodating realms of the small town bars after dark, on the sidelines of footy games, on inside the safety of the closed doors. Oh! And let’s not forget the ‘helpfulness’ of Facebook to provide safe harbour for keyboard wielding rednecks.

I could continue my views and opinions of rednecks for days and weeks but that may make me equally judgemental of other human beings. Besides, just yesterday I realised an outcome that is so much better than a witty retort (which, let’s face it — it’s not likely they would understand anyway).

It happened like this…

My girls and I were doing the start of year school shop. It was just after 10am and already close to 40 degrees (Celsius) outside. I was hot and frustrated people around me were hot and frustrated. The cool of the shopping centre made it just a little better.

Suddenly there was a commotion behind us. It sounded like a farmer herding cattle. I turned around to see three fat-necked, red-faced young Caucasian men strutting their redneck glory into the mall.

As they strutted their stuff through the shopping centre the over-zealous morons made catcalls, pig noises, and a whole lotta jeering accompanied with arm gestures according to their opinion of the women unlucky enough to stumble upon their walk of importance.

It was when I heard them call “sooie” (a pig call in case you didn’t know) that I felt the full extent of the anger this behaviour invoked within me.

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There were so many things that I would have liked to say — I could have pointed out the girth of each of the young rednecks was similar to that of the keg they no doubt swilled during the past few days, or that their red blotched faces indicated sure signs of future health issues, or perhaps I could have appealed to their softer side asking if their mother would approve of their outwardly sexist behaviour.

But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in life it’s that there’s no point pulling up a redneck in full-flight.

Because beer, stupid and conflict aren’t a good combination.

Instead I focused inward to my little clan. The girls and I agreed the behaviour was intolerable.

10 minutes later we saw them pushing a shopping trolley filled with beer, sausages and buns.

“typical” said my older daughter

And with that I realised that my little bit of redneck genocide was done. Perhaps that is a better victory than any verbal exchange could ever produce.