By Thomas

Sometimes you come across things that leave you speechless for a moment. Then you consider short whether it is worth the trouble to get upset about it. You shake your head and walk off. But then you come across this thing again …

The “thing” I am talking about in this case are hoodies soled by a group called “ANU Graduates Community”, not to be confused with the ANU Alumni community (I hope).

The first hoodie I came across said “I graduated from ANU. To save time, let`s just assume I`m always right” (Figure 1).

Figure 1: If you wear this I will assume something, it will have nothing to do with you being right though.

I shook my head and walked away from the idea of writing a post about it. After all, if people wanted to display their ignorance and the fact that they had not learned some essentials they should have learned at university, so be it. I was a bit worried that (some) ANU graduates might not understand that in an (ideal) academic discourse the formulated argument is what counts, not some authority you build up (e.g. by graduating from a certain institution). I was a bit more worried about the snobbish picture these hoodies would display to the general public. But hey, maybe the whole thing was some insider joke, or it was a good piece of irony that I just had failed to grasp.

Then I came across another hoddie this morning. It says “I graduated from ANU. I solve problems you don`t know you have in ways you can`t understand” (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Are you sure you graduated from ANU?

What the f … I mean … Really?! This hoodie raises the same problems as the first one: What did the person wearing it actually understood during the time at ANU and how is this message received by other people?

But there is another alarm clock that went off when I saw this one. But before I come to this let me make one thing clear:

I can totally understand that people are proud of graduating from ANU (or from any other institution for that matter) and there is no problem with that. But why do you have to use this pride to elevate yourself above others and be condescending towards them (“you don`t know […] you can`t understand”)?

In the best case that makes you an insensitive … person-I-don`t-want-to-have-anything-to-do-with.

In the worst case it is a sign that you get your self-esteem by belonging to a group of people which you elevate above others.

A human trait that accompanied us through all ages and has many facets.

A trait that can only bring forth misery and harm.

You might think I am a bit dramatic here. Yes, it is only a minor case. But in my eyes the well educated people coming out of university are (and have an obligation to be) the forefront of a modern society that ever pushes to get closer to the utopia of a world with equal rights and equal opportunities.

How can we ever get there, if even the graduates of a world leading university slip back into the old ways of group (i.e. “us against them”) thinking?

Rant is over.