Author: J.L. Wall

J.L. Wall is a native Kentuckian in self-imposed exile to the Midwest, where he teaches writing to college students and over-analyzes Leonard Cohen lyrics.

The Seder in Quarantine

When the world’s Jews gather to celebrate Passover this Wednesday night, our seder tables will be uncannily private, small gatherings reduced from the scale of family to that of individual households

Techlash and Soulcraft

How Christopher Beha’s satire of celebrity culture creates space for the human in technology’s panopticon

The River is a Strong Brown God

The parishes around Baton Rouge are underwater from a thousand-year rain and the flooding that’s followed.

Sickle Moon

A poem for Paris.

Atticus Finch Is Still a Decent Man

J.L. Wall explores the duality of Atticus Finch as portrayed in both the newly-released Go Set A Watchman and the classic To Kill A Mockingbird.

A Book for Every Type

The Paris Review endorses Maddie Crum’s “One Perfect Book for Every Single Myers-Briggs Type.”  Like all Myers-Briggs related lists, it’s at once silly, entertaining, and at least partially true.   Mine:

Free-Range Organic Visual Arts

How the rise of “Amazon Art” and CSAs for local artists extends earlier business models—and how each needs the other to succeed.

Don Draper’s Purgatorio

“Mad Men” isn’t stagnating — it’s rejecting easy character arcs.

The Ballad of Billy and Ike A.

If you need to laugh this morning, Alan Jacobs has you taken care of with his graphic novel adaptation of Ikea instructions.

Gettysburg’s Headlines, Day Two (Don’t Worry, Be Happy)

On July 3, the New York Times announced its possession of “VERY IMPORTANT NEWS: Further Particulars of the Battle Near Gettysburg on Wednesday.”  The item that follows isn’t what the reader of a contemporary...

Gettysburg’s Headlines, Day One (The Fog of War)

At the beginning of July, 1863, Union newspapers were abuzz with reports of Lee’s invasion.  Headlines in the New York Times fell under the bold-print category “REBEL INVASION”: “Important Intelligence Regarding the Movements of...

Compensated Emancipation Was Tried — But Didn’t Work

Ta-Nehisi Coates takes the time to respond, with historical data, to the those who would claim the Civil War could have been avoided through a program of compensated emancipation.  He’s certainly right that this...

Sunday Evening Theism

I wish I could offer a fuller response to the post Christopher’s “Sunday Morning Atheism.”  He raised, powerfully and cogently, some of the issues that do—or should—plague any believer.  Sincerity in a religious endeavor...

Atheism, Paganism, and the God of Abraham

Several months ago, Rod Dreher, responding to several commenters on his blog, wondered whether a decline of Christianity in the West will lead to an atheistic society or a pagan one.  There are, to...