Joe Bageant wrote many newspaper and magazine articles over the years, but with the arrival of the Internet, he began putting his essays online and eventually developed a blog as a way to present his thoughts and communicate with his readers. His online work was greatly facilitated by his friend and webmaster, Ken Smith. From these beginnings, Joe eventually wrote two books: Deer Hunting With Jesus and Rainbow Pie. A third book of his 25 best essays was put together by Ken Smith under the title Waltzing At The Doomsday Ball.

   Joe passed away in 2011, but his online presence was preserved by Ken Smith at JoeBageant.net.

   In 2016, Ken passed away and the longterm viability of Joe’s website became questionable.

   Strongly reluctant to see Joe’s insight, wit and compassion vanish from the cybersphere, we have established this site and intend to keep Joe’s work available. The site includes Joe’s blog posts and communcations with readers, his essays, interviews and videos, as well as whatever else we could locate on the Internet.

   If any readers have content – Joe’s writing, pictures, personal communications, etc. – appropriate to the site, please use the Contact Form and we can discuss adding such content.

      Thank you.

The value of father-son respect

I look at those old pictures of my father, just returned from Korea with his khaki hat cocked at a devilish angle, leaning on the shiny black Plymouth. he looks happy and proud. I was six. He was my absolute hero. My total respect for him was never in question.


Joe’s book on Congressman’s six best list

Joe Bageant is in good company this week as his book Deer Hunting with Jesus was chosen as one of six “Best books” by U.S. Representative Keith Ellison, D-Minn.


The Panther in the Sycamore

See the introduction to this series of posts: Writing on Things Southern and Past

By Joe Bageant

It happens perhaps once or twice every August. A violent red Virginia sundown drapes the land, the kind that bathes the farmhouses and ponds in reflected blood. It is as if the heat absorbed during dog days will erupt from the earth to set all the fields afire. Distant cars raise threatening dust clouds on the horizon that settle on the backs of copperhead snakes in wait of the night's coolness and the hunt. Eternity flashes in the eyes of old farmers setting out salt blocks for white-faced cattle.

It is at exactly such a dusk in 1951 that Uncle Nelson and I saw the panther. In the meadow sycamore, a panther so black it is almost blue. Neither Nelson nor I have ever seen a panther. Never expected to in our lives. But there it is. Big as life. Nelson's face shows almost holy amazement in the red light. He takes his pipe away from his quivering lip. Not that fear was a part of it, only awe of this beast. The panther drops weightlessly to the ground and glides into the loblolly pines with all its lithe power. We let out our breath. We


Whiskey, Snakes and Voltaire

See the introduction to this series of posts: Writing on Things Southern and Past

By Joe Bageant

I called the old man Grandpap. But most of my mother's family called him a son of a bitch. Which never bothered me. I still liked him.

During the summers when I visited him in North Carolina I'd sit with the old man on the front porch of his cabin and plink away with a .22 rifle at whatever critters crawled out of the swamp. Sometimes if I got lucky it was a water moccasin snake. But more often it was a feral cat, a plain old housecat gone wild in the swamp — which the old man pronounced to rhyme with stamp. Swaaamp.

The swamp was a nearly supernatural place wherein the water turned a different color each morning. Some days it was blood red. Others it was electric green or cobalt blue because the nearby textile mill dumped it waste dyes upriver.

Grandpap Miles' kids called him a son of a bitch because he ran off to live with the Seminole Indians after the ninth one, my mother, was born. Then at age 70 came back and bought a shack conveniently located between the swamp and the edge-of-town grocery/liquor store to sip cheap whiskey and


Lonzy Barker Is Missing

Lonzy Barker is missing. Has been for several months now. Nobody noticed it until that smelly old hermit didn’t show up here at Dalton Bayles’ post office store for his sardines and rock candy. “He could be layin’ over there in his pigpen dead or something,” says Dalton.


Queen of the Skies

As I drove through the decaying neighborhood in Winchester, Virginia the pain of growing up there came back — the stabbing kind that only lasts a second but makes you flinch as you remember some small but stupid and brutal moment of adolescence.