Competing Values Department: What I discovered on today’s walk with Shadow and the front section of the local newspaper

Why the newspaper? Because I noticed an article —

IU Trustees to hear plans for new FIJI house in historic district

— that yes, made my blood boil. And notice, BTW: that this digital title is not the one that went out in the print edition. The words “new” and “in historic district” were omitted there. . . You get the drift?

I was upset, not so much about humungous, autocratic Indiana University that sits like a fat corporate hog in the middle of Bloomington, ever-seeking ways to fatten further. No. Not that. Nor about its relationship with alumnae and funders and frat houses and how they corrupt Trustee decisions. And not even about how four old historic homes in a newly declared “Historic District” — by the city, in a vain attempt to change the course of events — were scheduled to be moved and two others destroyed.

Of course, those facts don’t sit well with me, and certainly not with any of the folks who live in that neighborhood. But of course it doesn’t matter. According to the newspaper, “Because IU is a state institution, it isn’t required to have a certificate of appropriateness from the city before demolishing any property it owns in the neighborhood.”


No, what especially piqued my attention, and my ire, was something entirely different. Something that most other readers would hardly notice, if at all. It had to do with the “empty lots” on a nearby corner that two of the homes were supposedly to be moved to. Hmmm. I wondered. Was this the Sprouts Garden, a wonderful student permaculture initiative on IU land that has been going strong now for at least seven years?



I grabbed the newspaper and the leash and Shadow and we headed over to 8th Street and Woodlawn. Checked the four beautiful old homes.

Then we walked to the corner of Park. Yes, just as I suspected. SPROUTS. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my phone with me to photograph it, but the Sprouts garden is going strong this year, too.

Participating in the Sprouts Garden:

Okay, here’s what really bugged me about my discovery. Not so much that the IU Trustees were just about to decide to ruin another historic neighborhood by allowing FIJI to build a loud, party-oriented frat house, but the fact that the local newspaper of record did not even bother to mention the wonderful student-run initiative for cooperatively growing real, live, local food on those “empty lots.”

Yep! Partying and big funders to create more and more limestone-faced infrastructure: a model for “learning” that is both ruinously expensive (to the students, with their loans) and seriously obsolete in the 21st century — is more important than actually learning how to do something useful, that teaches group cooperation while reconnecting with the Earth? Yep. That’s right. That continues to be “right,” that skewed system of values that is, obviously, acceded to by local MSM news.

And you know the most disheartening thing about my discovery? It’s that nobody is to blame. I doubt the news editors and reporters even noticed that they didn’t identify, much less dignify “Sprouts,” the wonderful ongoing student experiment that has been taking place on these two IU-owned “empty lots.”

That’s the skew in values that still constricts authentic creativity. That’s how out of touch this distracted American culture still is with what’s really, truly important, and will only gain in value as time goes on. Cooperative living. Growing our own food. Learning from one another how. Reconnecting back to the Mother.

Hello, Indiana University Trustees!

Hello, Herald-Times!

Hello FIJI/IU alumnae funders!

What parallel world are you living in? Not mine, that’s for damn sure.

This entry was posted in 2014, dark doo-doo, local action, Uranus square Pluto, visions of the future, waking up, wild new ideas, zone zero zero. Bookmark the permalink.

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