October 21, 2014 | Graham

Stone Barry Spurr? Ask Sydney Uni

When you can’t play the ball, kick the man in the groin – that’s the iron rule of Green Left politics these days.

So if the federal government commissions an inquiry which states the bleeding obvious – that there is not enough Western literature or culture in the national curriculum and too much indigenous – you attack the findings by attacking one of the people involved in the process for having inappropriate views.

In this case that person is Professor Barry Spurr, Professor of Poetry and Poetics at Sydney University, and a faculty member there since 1976.

Spurr has written a number of private emails to a small coterie of friends which contain very politically incorrect remarks. He seems to have fallen out with one of this coterie because the emails are being strategically leaked.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald:

A University of Sydney academic involved in the national curriculum review, Barry Spurr, has reportedly described Prime Minister Tony Abbott an “abo-lover” in an exchange of emails.

“Abo Lover Abbott and [Australian of the Year] Adam Goodes are Siamese Twins and will have to be surgically separated,” Professor Spurr wrote in an email published on the New Matilda website.

Yesterday it was revealed that:

Suspended University of Sydney professor Barry Spurr said Australian of the Year Adam Goodes needed only depression and a disability to be “the complete role model for Australians today”, leaked emails reveal.

This has led the Opposition to claim that the whole process is tainted.

However, if you believe putting these thoughts into an email taints everything that Professor Spurr does, it’s not the government that has the primary problem. It is Sydney University.

For 38 years they have allowed a man with these views to not just set curriculum but to nurture the minds of impressionable young students in the English Department.

In appointing him as a consultant the commissioners implicitly relied on the quality guarantee that being a professor in Australia’s leading university confers.

If Sydney University didn’t know about his inappropriate views, when they were being expressed on their mail servers, how was the government supposed to know?

You could also ask why it has taken the whistle blower so long to come forward. Why did it suddenly become germane that Spurr had these views just after he consulted to a government inquiry?

Professor Spurr was working on chapters in three books. Thank God he has been caught in time and these chapters can be cancelled. Because if his work for the government is tainted by his views, then so is everything else that he has done.

This includes the seminal work on TS Eliot and:

…books on poetic representations of the Virgin Mary from the Medieval period to today; on Studying Poetry (now in its second edition); and on Lytton Strachey’s prose works and on liturgical language, and of numerous chapters, refereed articles and encyclopedia entries on poets and poetry across the centuries.

These books will need to be recalled and pulped if the book-burners and neo-McCarthyists are right and a person’s moral rightness infects everything that they do.

But let’s not stop there. We need a proper inquiry into the moral rectitude of all lecturers, and indeed the works which they promulgate.

For every Spurr there is a Marxist or Fascist hiding in plain sight in the academy. These ideologies are no more acceptable than his racism.

And the works that they teach are suspect as well.

If Peter Singer were still an academic in Australia I’d want him looked at closely. This is a man who advocates eugenics and infanticide, surely even more heinous positions than those taken by Spurr. His works also need to be recalled and pulped, or better still burned.

Unlike Spurr, he has not hidden his unacceptable ideas in his mind, or private emails, but openly proselytised them in text books and published works.

When it comes to stoning, Spurr is well down the queue.

BTW, it shouldn’t be necessary in this day of almost universal literacy, but to make sense of some of the above you may need to look up “irony” in the dictionary (hint, it has nothing to do with the mineral).


Posted by Graham at 8:30 am | Comments (9) |


  1. Good to see you upholding the Attorney General’s
    new accepted 11th commandment
    People have the right to be a bigot

    Comment by lance — October 21, 2014 @ 10:16 am

  2. The first thing we should burn is the committee that selects the Australian of the year, then perhaps Sydney university.

    Any of those books ar of minor import compared to them.

    Comment by Hasbeen — October 21, 2014 @ 11:04 am

  3. Well, he would say that his comments were ‘ironic’, wouldn’t he?
    Perhaps it’s a type of comment that’s simultaneously ironic and literal until someone shines a bright light onto it, then of course, it becomes ironic.
    As Machiavelli observed, politicians can never trust their friends.

    Comment by RussellW — October 21, 2014 @ 11:59 am

  4. The point of the article Lance, is that if Spurr is such a dreadful person, then Sydney Uni should have done something about him long ago. Don’t blame the government for something over which they had no control and little opportunity to investigate.

    Comment by Graham — October 21, 2014 @ 2:04 pm

  5. Lance, people DO have the right to be bigots, last time I checked. We also have the right to take the piss, and to criticise and argue against other points of view.

    When did Australia become so precious? (Around the time of Gough, I suspect).

    Comment by mareeS — October 21, 2014 @ 2:30 pm

  6. Because we have found one seeming racist, therefore it follows there must be many Marxists hiding in plain sight!
    Even if you’re right, I wouldn’t like to chance my arm in any court, with that, [I think so, therefore it must be right, conformation bias,] evidence Graham!
    I suppose one would have expected private mail to remain private, and that was the usual case, when it was all delivered by Australia Post.
    But the salutary lesson here is, your emails are not private nor the views expressed in them.
    Why did the whistle blower take so long?
    Who knows why and who; or where official sympathy really lies?
    However, this man’s apparent “supremacist” views are now out there for all to see, along with his self evident lack of suitability to mold young minds!
    Were it entirely down to me, his tenure would be immediately concluded.
    Perhaps an overseas Posting now beckons?
    Say in Alabama, and in an exclusive white KKK sponsored establishment?
    I don’t know about you Graham, but I wouldn’t let him or his patent xenophobia near my kids!
    However, I wouldn’t burn anything he has written, but turn them over to psychological experts, to see what made this man’s mind tick, and in the way it did.
    Was he born with these problematic views, or did he learn them at his mother’s knee?
    I am reminded here of Martin Luther King’s very powerful and stirring, I have a dream speech; and the fact that very young children left to their own devices, usually play well together and get on, regardless of race, ethnicity, culture or creed!
    Perhaps were we all to take a leaf out of MLK’s book, none of us would be left/right of centre, a racist or bigot, just ordinary decent folk, getting along with other ordinary decent folk; and or, making good or bad decisions!
    And building the richest nation in the world, just by eliminating poverty in all its forms and guises, wherever we find it, and the par for the course (generational) disadvantage that spawns it!
    And I don’t mean handouts, but rather, hand ups and enhanced opportunity!
    And that has to start with the roll out of the world’s cheapest energy, and the lowest real tax rate!
    Rather than more of the same patent lunacy, which has placed us where we are today!
    And enough anti poverty stimulus, if we but remove all the unproductive parasitical practice, and profit demanding middlemen, including take tax and hand it on, minus a big fat fee, officialdom!
    It’s always good to be generous, but only out of surplus not need!
    Which then only defeats the object of the exercise, and is simply self defeating!
    In conclusion let me say, there is only one race and that is the human race, and a kaleidoscope of views, often molded by larger or smaller advantage, disadvantage or enduring character building hardship!
    How many can say, they walked many daily miles to school barefoot, on country gravel roads, on cold or frosty mornings; or, survived on one meal a day, or watched a skin and bone mother go hungry night after night, just so her kids could eat!?
    Perhaps if the (Jeckle and Hide) Professor had come from a similar background, he wouldn’t be so ready to bag others, or hide behind, or take for granted, his privileged position!
    We humans all piz amber and bleed red!
    Alan B. Goulding

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — October 22, 2014 @ 9:40 am

  7. Hi Alan,

    I do admire the way you continue to offer Graham a different perspective from which he could consider the events that are unfolding. He does seem to be having some difficulty being rational in the face of these recent challenges to his orthodoxy.

    I think it is clear from the general public opinion – the wisdom of the crowd if you like – that the way some men – like Spurr – behave toward women is a significant factor that deters women from being able to contribute to the ideal some of us have of making our civilization a truly Christian and Humanistic one.

    You ask, with reference to this so called ‘Professor’ Spurr, “Was he born with these problematic views, or did he learn them at his mother’s knee?”

    There is considerable evidence that these dysfunctional, cruel and in many cases pathological, attitudes that some men have toward women develop throughout their upbringing, at their mother’s knees as you say, and at their fathers side, through the messages in the books they read, and the things people say on the radio – and think of the hateful things that some of our children have listened to Alan Jones say and cringe with shame for this type of ‘man’.

    At least Spurr imagined he was keeping his ‘whimsy’ secret. Men like him do like their secrecy and privacy. But ….. have you ever read a definition of whimsy that would support this claim? me neither…

    Oh, and then there are those pornographic images of women that the marketers of all those products from the Capitalists who make our lives so full of unnecessary and dangerous products and choices; that is a great way to show young men that women are people too.

    Poor Barry Spurr, his life must be ruined now that he has been victimised by the Green Left and the ‘sistahood’ and the philistines.

    Comment by Tripitaka — October 26, 2014 @ 3:07 pm

  8. There is a precious principal that the persecution of Spurr breaches – and that is that you can only be judged on what you do, not on what you think.

    The evidence, such as we have, is that he has treated his students decently, according to “…a small, sensitive, feminist, patriotic Chinese girl…” who wrote an op-ed for the Australian http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/spurr-a-scapegoat-of-those-who-would-shut-down-free-expression/story-e6frg6zo-1227099028218?sv=168036cbf94492dc269c71e1d2270e94#.VEh15AzRubk.twitter.

    Without evidence of behaviour to the contrary not only am I not prepared to condemn him, but I don’t think anyone else should.

    We’re on the path to totalitarian societies like those in the dystopias of Minority Report, or 1984 if we start persecuting people for thought crimes.

    Comment by Graham — October 26, 2014 @ 4:57 pm

  9. Graham

    “Without evidence of behaviour to the contrary not only am I not prepared to condemn him, but I don’t think anyone else should.”

    But do you accord the same respect and preparedness to withhold your judgement – judge not lest ye be judged and all that in the bible you know – to other people like Bill Shorten.

    He is not being persecuted; you are delusional.

    He is being ridiculed for his words and words are the manifestation of his thoughts and evidence of the attitudes that he holds toward women and other ‘lesser’ people.

    If he does’t think these things about women then where do the words come from? Where do the words come from if the thoughts and beliefs are not there to inspire him to produce these ‘whimisal’ musings about his fellow human beings?

    Despite the little girl who claims to be sensitive and feminist and patriotic and was willing to write an op-ed for the Australian newspaper, there is no evidence that he treated his students ‘decently’. And what do you mean by decently? Is that all it takes to be a great man these days? Just keep the sexism and racism secret and pretend to be PC and all is well.

    How desperate you must be to take this story as a refutation of the actual words that this man actually wrote and wrote them in defiance or ignorance of the University rules.

    And what are you talking about? Totalitarian societies, rofl. What happened to the reds under the beds? Are the socialists in retreat then?

    It is the irrational men with issues about women who are the biggest problem for the world.

    Comment by Tripitaka — October 27, 2014 @ 6:09 am

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