From the breathtaking architecture of Saint Andrew’s Chapel to the cheap laughs available in the second floor Walsh-Ellet men’s bathroom, there are many walls around campus that are sure to brighten one’s day. Yes that’s right, walls.
The most recent wall to join the likes of these has caused such a stir that the University has contracted me, a freelance journalist with zero print experience to investigate it. This and paint? Is there some large-wall not only stands out, it stands alone. Sort of like I do in the print business, or Chuck Norris does in everything he does. The wall in question has been set up from time to time over the fall semester in Spencer quad. Composed of plywood and accompanied by paint cans, the wall offers passersby the opportunity to address the community at large. What a joy it is to have your voice heard. Until someone paints over your “voice” or they take it down. By this point you might be asking yourself, “who is they?” “Who put’s up that wall?” Campus speculations range from lonely carpenters to Goblins but the answer is almost certainly the SGA. (There are still several Goblins under questioning.)
So why put it up? Why spend University money on plywood scale art project in the works? Will these walls be saved in the archives for generations to come? Is this a plot to end bathroom graffiti once and for all? Does anyone actually care what you have to say? That’s where I come in.
Instead of reaching out to the SGA, I sat down with fellow Goblin sympathizers, Norris Eppes, a senior English major from Charleston, SC, and Charlie Morrow, a sophomore Physics major form Birmingham, AL and asked them why they thought the wall had been erected.
TJ: Are you familiar with the wall?
CM: I am.
TJ: How did you first come to recognize it? What were the circumstances?
NE: Last semester, whenever it got first put up, I was walking to class, saw it, stopped to look at it for a little bit, then I had to go to class so I kept walking to class.
CM: I was walking to class and it was just on the front lawn between Woods and the Library. I was puzzled by it so I went up to look and I read some of the things.
TJ: Have you ever written anything on the wall?
CM: I have not written anything.
TJ: How did you feel about what you saw on the wall? What impact did it have on you?
NE: I thought that some things were positive. I particularly liked a painting of “Johnny Mack” as Mr. Rogers, with sort of Sewanee as his neighborhood. That was humorous and funny, which was good. I don’t remember what, but I do remember seeing things that seemed pretty intense on there which were like well… Like I said I don’t remember what they were but I definitely saw things on there that prompted me to think about whatever was written as I was going about my day.
CM: Some of them made me happy and some of them kind of annoyed me. Someone painted “I love nugs.” I thought that was inappropriate.
TJ: Why do you think they put up the wall?
NE: I thought it was kind of like the SGA toilet talk stuff… To get student’s feelings in a sort of semi-Anonymous way, but I don’t know. The thing that I like most about the wall was when people actually did art on it and it became a creation of sorts.
CM: So people could write down their thoughts and make other people happier with them. I think it’s a good thing but I also think it is a pointless thing.
Well there you have it boys and girls, Norris is a patron of the arts, Charlie, a Nihilist. The way I see it, the wall gives students or anyone else that happens to walk by an opportunity to take a break from their routine. It offers not only the chance to be heard, but also a chance to listen to what someone else has to say, however silly or witty or inappropriate their notion may be. By reading what someone wrote, you are involved with that person, but not personally so. Who cares for all that phony handshake-introduction business anyway? By writing or painting something, you connect with many. For years men have built walls to keep each other apart. I put it to you Sewanee, don’t you think it’s time a wall brought us together?