Danny Duncan Collum, author of the novel White Boy, teaches writing at Kentucky State University in Frankfort.
Posts By This Author
Bourgeois in the U.S.A.
The closed-circle culture of country music
When All the World Is a Stage
The President and pop-culture
Old Nightmares in the New Europe
IN WATCHING RECENT events in Germany, personal and historical tragedies have sometimes blurred together in my vision. The shocking wave of German neo-Nazi violence against foreigners and Jews (still rising at this writing), and the German government's immigration policy concessions to xenophobia, have appeared alongside news of the death of Social Democratic Party leader Willy Brandt and the tragic murder of Green Party founder Petra Kelly.
The picture that emerged from this blur was one of a shiny new dream dying, while old nightmares revived. Willy Brandt, who was chancellor of West Germany from 1969 to 1975, in many ways represented the best ideals and aspirations both of his generation of Germans and of the European democratic socialist tradition. Brandt was among the only postwar West German political leaders of his generation who had joined the underground opposition during the Nazi era.
Later, as postwar mayor of West Berlin, Brandt stood at the forefront of resistance to the new totalitarianism of the Communist East. Still, as chancellor, Brandt helped open the way for better relations between East and West. He believed that peaceful cooperation, not armed confrontation, was the key to unlocking the gates of the Berlin Wall.
See Ross Run
Ross Perot's influence on political systems
Davenport Tonight--The Couch, Not the Town
Entertainment Tonight as a news source
Tabloids and Taboos
Pictures and a Thousand Images
The role of the media in uprisings
"Right" Again, FYI
The cultural influence of the Far Right
We're not in Kansas Anymore
Secure in its control of the material means of production, the American Right has always taken the lead in the exploration of underlying, non-material, cultural factors in public life.
Questions of Taste (and Power)
Pat Buchanan's terror campaign in the Republican primaries has weakened and disoriented George Bush, and I can't say I'm sorry. It has also forced debate about the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) back into the headlines--on the most skewed and reactionary of terms. Never mind that Buchanan's homophobic NEA attack ads were themselves the sleaziest things seen on broadcast TV in this decade. The issue is back out in the arena.
Bush reacted by firing NEA chief John Frohnmayer. His party chairman, Richard Bond, suggested publicly that the government should "get out of this business" of deciding "what is art."
By the time you read this, Buchanan may well have been laid quietly to rest--and the NEA issue with him--for this year. But given Buchanan's success, it is almost certain to return for as long as we have a public arts agency.
Art subsidies do involve some decisions about what is art. But they also involve judgments about what art is necessary or worthy, and, perhaps most important, about who decides. It's a complicated and problematic issue, and one that requires more than 30 second's (or even one page's) worth of thinking. But here goes...
Rooting for a New America
About Oliver Stone
America's Secret History
As this is written, the media controversy surrounding Oliver Stone's film JFK is reaching a fever pitch.
Vox Pop Rocks Charts
Billboard and music sales
Fascism With a Facelift
There's good news and bad news in the results of the Louisiana gubernatorial run-off on November 16.
A Declaration of Principles
Pop culture is politics...and politics is pop culture
When Going Live Spreads Lies
... Because He Made So Many Of Them
Fox TV and the new season of The Simpsons
A Politics of Attitude
The importance of pop culture on social change. And Oprah
Sisters In Arms
A female hero