With DePauw's new found embrace of varsity athletics as one of the "pillars" of liberal education, we know that trash talk is the discourse of choice by those who do not have game.
The premise of Energy Wars is competition, that somehow the existential threat of climate change will be resolved through the forces of competition, as if it were a rugby scrum, a friendly game of gin rummy, or Hasbro's Chutes and Ladders. In the real world of existential threat it is competition, especially between the economies of China and the United States that drives ever deeper into the abyss. In the looking glass world of DePauw sustainability, a competition to turn the lights off and lower the heat, is a competition to pick the lowest hanging fruit; a masking of our dearth of research, analysis, publication that constitutes the higher education elite. Playing energy games is what you do when there are no ideas, when ideas generated by research and publication are not the drivers of education, when our societal predicament permeates the symbolic domains of antiquated infrastructure and spawns the looking glass world of Wogswartian master plans.
Instead of playing competitive games for the lowest hanging fruit, why not build a learning commons of collaboration and cooperation that seeks to become a laboratory of ideas, critique and analysis? If it must be a competition, why not make the competition over who has the best concept for retrofitting our existing buildings for the 21st century before we spend millions on new ones?
Trash talk is the mindset of those who play games with the existential threat. It is time for DePauw to graduate from picking low hanging fruit and become a laboratory of learning for the 21st century.
Glen David Kuecker
Professor of History