Mad, Rad and Dangerous to Knowledge

monashUrgent! Urgent! If you’ve got a degree from Monash University, don’t let anyone know. Your alma mater has completely lost its mind. Who would want to be associated with its agitprop video for recruiting teenagers?  There are more than 11,000 views so far and a swathe of hostile responses from once-loyal alumni and potential students.


The violent and mendacious 60-second montage is also on the university’s home page, creating a university’s minute of infamy. Which of its clips would you vote as the most creepy?

  • A young Monash woman walks up (at 50secs) and defiantly rips down a lecture-theatre wall chart being discussed by three males, two in suits and one is balding. No reason can be ascertained for her wimmynly  rage. The text says, “Our Clayton campus  is committed to being a living example of positive change.”
  • Someone shimmies around wearing a Donald Trump mask. The backing song goes, “Yeah the big bully killed ‘em all”.  The video text blames “populism” for Trump’s election. (The video is supposed to advertise the university’s sophistication in international relations).
  • Monash students demonstrate for “Grants not Fees” – other suckers can pay for students’ privileges. An Aboriginal and a shaved-head woman are to the fore.[1]
  • Aborigines demonstrate (at 40secs) to “Stop the Genocide” (what genocide?) and for treaty-backed sovereignty
  • A polar bear plays hopscotch on ice floes, as proof of global warming’s  veracity (even Monash might have checked that Al Gore’s polar bear peril was and remains a crock)
  • Any of the violence-porn clips crammed into the 60 seconds – from the opening sucker punch by a masked “punch a nazi” hooligan, to injured or dead Arabs to explosions and an elephant crumpling when shot by poachers.

A Monash University spokesperson responded to on-line criticism (emphasis added),

As an institution, we firmly believe in its message. This is us drawing a line in the sand about what we think a top university [Monash ranks equal 80th worldwide] has to contribute to the world. In 2016 we encouraged our community to challenge the status quo and question what is put in front of them in order to move forward. Now we want people to take action.”

The video’s background “song” is Blaccout, shouted by Aboriginal hip-hoppers A.B. Original.  Lyrics with the video include:

Yeah, the big bully built the wall (y’all feel that?)
Yeah, the big bully killed ’em all (y’all feel that?)

A line from the song, “What the fuck we doin’?” applies equally to Monash’s administrators. Many adults wouldn’t trust teenagers with their car keys or an empty house. But Monash literally demands that its would-be students challenge the social order:

“For sixty years our work has changed the world.
But this is only the beginning. Now it’s over to you. 
Because we’re not asking you, we’re telling you:

The Blaccout song per se appears to incite its audience to start fires, one hopes metaphorically but maybe literally. Mercifully, the lines below didn’t make it to the video:

What you doin’ with your life, boy?
Stand up and then fight, boy
You wanna change their minds, boy?
You wanna start them fires, boy?
What you doin’ with your life, girl?
Better stand up and then fight, girl
You wanna change their minds, girl?
You wanna start them fires, girl?

Another clip shows US House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican, banging down his gavel. In linked sub-text, Monash claims loftily that its brain researchers are “identifying why some humans can’t help but agree – even when the stakes are high”. The clip seems another cheap shot at the US, not that it makes much sense.

There are two iterations of the video. You can play the 60 seconds straight through on youtube  (the version embedded above), but Monash prefers you play the one on its home page and hit “pause” to bring up an official text/explanation for each element of footage in the clip. About a third of the video is worthy stuff — Monash researching diseases, PTSD, conservation, aged care, obesity and so on.  The rest is green/Left propaganda, such as boat people’s ‘rights’ and jejune pacificism.

An early clip appears to show US troops in Afghanistan. The grammatically confused sub-text begins: “We’ve waged war on ending wars.” It continues with grotesque overstatement, “Our Gender, Peace and Security Centre seeks out roadblocks to peace and demolishes them. [As in the Middle East, not.] We’ve partnered with the Department of Foreign Affairs to help shape policies that work in Asia and beyond. If you don’t like war, change it.” To get an idea of what the centre gets up to, click here for a briefing on gender-related climate matters. And do notice how the research is funded by Action Aid Australia (AAA). Where does AAA get the money to wage its green/Left campaigns? Well, according to the organisation’s 2016 annual report (page 30), from you, taxpayers, via a $3 million grant from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

We should be grateful that Monash psych whizzes will solve the North Korean nuclear crisis. Against a clip of a Kim Jong-un missile launch, they explain:

“Why do we play global games of chicken? Our School of Psychological Sciences applies principles of psychology to topical issues digging to the root of controversy and current events to work out the why behind retaliation and other destructive behaviours. If you don’t like mutually assured destruction, change it.”

Again, Monash offers this dated, corny rhetoric while bragging about its international-relations sophistication.

Other messages suggestive of low-IQ or naive Monash administrators include, “If you don’t like bombing kids/armed conflict/gender inequality/ change it.”  There’s a predictable hint of anti-capitalism ignorance: “If you don’t like boom and bust, change it”. Maybe Monash’s students include lots of little Lord Keyneses.

Equally ludicrous and no less ignorant is a clip of a cyclone with the message,

“Humans are partly to blame for freak weather that destroys our economies and environment.[2] We owe it to the Earth to fix this.[3] In the meantime, our Centre for Excellence of Climate Extremes is improving weather predictions and developing strategies to reduce devastation. If you don’t like freak weather, change it.”

Hmm. Could Monash  also organise some rain on my garden please?

A shot of a glacier calving has text:

“It’s actually not too late to save the planet. We’re at the forefront of efforts to stop climate change and environmental devastation…our researchers are world-leading. If you don’t like global warming, change it.”

Wow, after 4.5 billion years, no more climate change, thanks to Monash’s claque of climate scientists.

It takes only 26 seconds for the virtue-signalling by Monash dilettantes to spectacularly backfire. Fulminating against cyber-bullying, they cite as “hate speech”  a tactless tweet in 2013 by a 30-year-old American PR manager, Justine Sacco, who was then subjected to an on-line pile-on by tens of thousands of social justice warriors. One  example, “We are about to watch this @JustineSacco bitch get fired. In REAL time. Before she even KNOWS she’s getting fired.” Fired, she was.

Her 2013 tweet, which she says was silly and self-mocking, read, “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” She later told the New York Times, “I cried out my body weight in the first 24 hours. It was incredibly traumatic. You don’t sleep. You wake up in the middle of the night forgetting where you are.” She released an apology statement and cut short her vacation. Workers were threatening to strike at the hotels she had booked if she showed up. She was told no one could guarantee her safety. All-oblivious to her destroyed life, the bullies at Monash write:

“As cyberbullying and trolling become increasingly common, our Education faculty is focused on examining their impact and developing strategies to protect the vulnerable from being drowned out. If you don’t like hate speech, change it.”[4]

The video includes the obligatory bleeding-heart clip of boat people being rescued. “Conflict. Persecution. Eviction. We’re seeing unprecedented numbers of displaced people denied access to the most basic right: safety… while in sharp relief, our Australian Border Deaths Database aims to prevent grave tragedies becoming banal statistics. If you don’t like social injustice, change it.” A glance at the data base shows well over 2000 deaths, the vast bulk from foundering of people-smugglers’ leaky boats during Labor’s permissive regime. The Monash intellectuals fail to notice any connection.

Monash is located close to the epicentre of Sudanese teenage home invasions. But it’s hard to know what to make of this Monash entry:

“Being safe in our own homes should be a right not a privilege. Our Civil Engineering department serves as a leader in engineering for extremes, protecting society by making our infrastructure more resilient to the pressures of fire, flooding and attacks [by whom?]. If you don’t like unsafe housing, change it.”

Perhaps Monash engineers now design steel-grilled safe-rooms in houses against ethnic gangs, as used in South Africa and PNG.

In a few cases the text gets Monash off the hook. For example the brutal opening clip is of a man in suit talking on a Washington street and getting sucker-punched by a masked Antifa-style thug who runs off. The speaker was real life Richard B. Spencer, a (non-violent) white supremacist. The sub-text includes,

“The rise in extremism is undeniable.  Crying ignorance doesn’t cut it. Our Global Terrorism Research Centre  gives us a view, and our partnerships with the UN ensure a clear direction. Understanding the underlying causes are (sic) the first steps to eradicating terror. If you don’t like anarchism and terrorism, change it.”

Although fatuous, the message seems to disapprove of both parties. Oh, and predictably, the entire video contains no hint about  the Islamic terror convulsing Western countries.

Hostile on-line YouTube commenters let rip.  Note they seem to emanate from the Monash and student community, not from political junkees.

“Xal: Crossing this university off the list, anyone who wants a future as anything other than a whining self righteous parasite should do the same.”

Only Guest claims the video was “(p)resented to a group before official release. In Q&A somebody asked if this video will deter some researchers and students and your answer was ‘We don’t want them’. So much about diversity and inclusiveness.”

AndyZ: I was considering doing a PhD at Monash. Forget about that. This is a classic example of  what Jonathan Haidt describes as an ‘activist’ university.[5] I am much more interested in going to a ‘truth’ university; that is where you will find open minds.

Even loyal Monash alumni are appalled.

GR writes, “I absolutely applaud the achievements of your alumni and researchers. It is my opinion that this video is rife with a political agenda from the imagery and the backing track. Extremely well produced and edited, I might add, I really liked it. But as an educational institution, funded by the public, why are you taking an obvious (to myself and clearly a few others in the comments) political position? This video, I interpreted as a dog whistle to the minority of radicals that have interests in tearing down institutions, values and traditions that built the free world.”

A blogger names himself as a Monash academic and writes

“Shame Monash Shame! Great way to start the day opening up the ‘my.monash’ page on my office desktop to have this ‘Rubbish’ in front of me. This does not reflect a politically bi-partisan viewpoint and if it is intended to attract students, it’s (a) poor marketing tool. As a teacher at Monash are we  expected to have this looping on big screens during our enforced attendance at the next open day?”

Luke replied:

“You’re a brave man. I advise you to screenshot this exchange should a kangaroo court inquisition follow. Thanks for tackling the serious question of overt political bias in academia.”

Eddie, self-described as a former soldier and alumnus:

“I’m saddened by this aggressive propaganda, which blatantly endorses extremism.”

Chowzoo: “Even worse, they’ve somehow entitled themselves to the moral high ground. Many, many people aren’t receptive to that, in fact it turns them off completely.”

Pramoda: “You lost me when you put Donald Trump’s effigy in the video. From that point you lost your plot that you are talking about global issues as (the) vast majority of us don’t see a democratically elected leader is a problem. …(It) would have been more appropriate to show an undemocratically elected  leader Xi Jinping. You know, the guy who’s just elected himself leader forever! But that might alienate your core customer base. Chinese students… :)”

The Monash officials took fright at the hostility and began posting rationales, referring critics to the pause-and-text facility on the version of the clip at their website. Their efforts reinforce the criticisms. They appear delusional about Monash and its 80th place on the world rankings:

“This isn’t about Monash taking a position — political or otherwise. We are tackling the questions of the time and not just taking a stand on global issues, but working towards solving them.”

That wan response did nothing to mollify critics:

Julius: “Ridiculous. How are you ‘solving’ the problems of the world? You aren’t.   You are actually creating more hate and fear by making a nasty video that preaches anarchy and violence.”

Rex: “Whether a student decides to engage in political discourse or not should have nothing to do with you. By taking a position, you alienate the students attending Monash that hold different political views to the ones presented here.”

Karl: “Cultural (M)arxism needs to be thrown in the dustbin of history. Instead of trying to fallaciously ‘fix’ society, how about fixing yourselves?”

Bernard: “I thought going to Uni was about getting an Education and not about solving someone’s personal anger management issues.”

These drew more response from officials:

“We think of a university as a place to develop critical thinking abilities and challenge the status quo to make the world a better place. What students choose to do beyond that is up to them. It’s our job to equip them with the tools to enact the change they want to see.”

Once again, the university’s response prompted obvious — and angry — comments:

 Graniteau: “Caption — ‘Rebellion strongly encouraged’. You must be kidding yourself if you couldn’t see how this can be interpreted as partisan propaganda.”

M-L: “Monash University is now seriously off (my)  list or at least at the very bottom. I’m so disappointed because I was impressed with The Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music and it was a serious consideration for me together with the Qld Con. How can you allow such radical political propaganda to be representative of Monash?”

The officials tried again:

“We firmly believe attending Monash will help contribute towards change. What students choose to do while they are here, and beyond, is up to them… We’d love to have you join us! … Universities enable students to develop critical thinking skills, feel encouraged to challenge the status quo and be exposed to diverse people and cultures, broadening our understanding of the world and the issues we all face. Progressing positive change can be as simple as having the ability to consider different perspectives and cultures and have (sic) a more open mind. And that does the whole world good.”

More criticism

Ralph:  “My children wont be going anywhere near your pathetic university. I’d like them educated not indoctrinated.”

This prompted Monash’s online sophist to respond:

“Monash is not taking a position – political or otherwise.”

Which again incited furious responses

Jon: “Not taking a position? Pffft, just look at the lyrics of the music you have chosen. ‘Changing minds by fighting people’… honestly this is so dumb.  By a ‘university’ too! WTF?”

Julius: “Monash, is it an IT bot replying to posts? The replies by Monash are inane and blah blah robot leftist speak.”

Saturn580: “Go ahead, turn your once-respected institution of learning into a playground for radical left-wing activists. See how well that worked out for Universities in the United States.”

Summing up, the video disaster is an all-too-revealing insight into the monoculture at Monash. In most large institutions, review processes cull outrageous material before it can cause any public disgrace.  At the Monash Monoversity, the groupthink is so strong that no-one imagined the video could backfire.

Tony Thomas’s book of essays, That’s Debatable – 60 Years in Print, is available here

[1] The next clip features anti-gun bisexual Emma Gonzales 18, a survivor from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High.

[2] Losses  from  weather disasters have declined since 1990 after adjustment for population increases and density. The IPCC 2013 report disavows that warming has increased most forms of violent weather.

[3] Note the quasi-religiosity

[4]  A similar instance of Monash know-nothing (or deceit) is the familiar pic of power chimneys belching the supposed black clouds of CO2: “If you don’t like our future going up in smoke, change it.” The university pledges to be 100% renewables powered by 2030, “acting as a living lab to prove that a sustainable future is possible.” I suspect they’ll keep emergency diesel generators in the basement.

[5] Haidt is an American social psychologist and Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University‘s Stern School of Business

11 thoughts on “Mad, Rad and Dangerous to Knowledge

  • IainC says:

    What is preventing the adults at Monash doing a counter-presentation for the more mature and non-violent demographic? Please don’t tell me these were the adults, as I am having a very bad week.

    • Tony Thomas says:

      The Monash video appears now to be automatically “pushed” to people on-line. I was browsing an unrelated website last night
      and the video suddenly appeared in the middle of it as an ad.

  • btola says:

    This absurd video might be produced by Monash but it coould easily be from many other Australian universities. The message is “Come to university and we will teach you what to shout”.

  • gerardbarry@ozemail.com.au says:

    Monash Monoversity.

  • Jody says:

    We just have to keep pushing back tyranny with BARE FACTS. This is one such example of facts:


  • Tricone says:

    I’m beginning to see why my Indian business colleague, who was considering sending his son to an Australian university, sent him to USA instead.

  • en passant says:

    I had dinner last Saturday with an American investor who is hiring IT graduates from a Vietnamese University as the Oz graduates he interviewed could not answer the questions he posed. So, we know the soft degrees are useless, but it also appears that the ‘hard sciences’ have also been affected. I am not sure if this is a fault of the teachers or not. I suspect it is more likely a case of the students who have gone through the Oz school sysytem being too ill-prepared to undertake the difficult and complex material involved.

  • Jody says:

    As Dr. *Jordan Peterson says, ‘DE-FUND THESE UNIVERSITIES’!! At the moment this is how we pay for *’ideologically addled vipers’.


  • BJAS1961 says:

    The truly astounding element of this story is that it seems that there wasn’t one person at Monash who was outside the echo-chamber, or who could at the least appreciate the alternative perspectives, and who felt safe enough to warn of the likely consequences of producing material like this video. The official and lukewarm backpedaling in response the Youtube comments is nothing less than patent evasions that attempt to rationalize and justify the violent rhetoric.

  • Michael.Fry says:

    This is what you would expect from a mediocre leader like Margaret Gardiner.
    Her claim to scholastic fame was as a “Human Resources” expert. She has had a dream run since.
    So much for the “gender pay gap”.

  • dimmkap@gmail.com says:

    History is so easily forgotten. It was the higher education institutions in the pre-1917 Russia that bred an army of intellectual minions who later followed Lenin and enabled him to get a totalitarian grip on the country which lasted more than 70 years.

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