Danny Duncan Collum, a Sojourners contributing writer, teaches writing at Kentucky State University in Frankfort, Kentucky. He is the author of the novel White Boy.

Posts By This Author

The Voiceless Majority

by Danny Duncan Collum 04-01-2010

I have a relative up in the Rust Belt who owns a small machine tool company and watches Fox News.

Prosperity Pedagogy

by Danny Duncan Collum 03-01-2010

My oldest child is applying to colleges, so there’s been a lot of talk around my house this year about the underlying purpose and real value of education.

America's Rebel Artist

by Danny Duncan Collum 02-01-2010

Was Jack Kerouac a keeper of visions or a self-destructive individualist?

Behaving Badly

by Danny Duncan Collum 01-01-2010

Our politically mad times.

Fat Cats and Failed Systems

by Danny Duncan Collum 12-01-2009
Capitalism: A Love Story examines a "filthy, rotten system."

Seeing is Believing

by Danny Duncan Collum 11-01-2009
Creating a better world first requires an act of imagination.

God's Word for the Pint-Sized

by Danny Duncan Collum 09-01-2009
Vacation Bible Schools isn't nearly as bad as, say, the Inquisition.

Long Live Gravity

by Danny Duncan Collum 08-01-2009

Smart people concocted a fantasy empire based on investing in other people’s debt.

Family Reunions

by Danny Duncan Collum 08-01-2009
Two multimedia projects see Africa as the planet's musical heart and soul.

Changing Our Minds

by Danny Duncan Collum 07-01-2009

When I began writing this column back in 1985, my page could hold up to 1,000 words. Over the years that number has shrunk, first to 800, then 700.

How to Save Journalism

by Danny Duncan Collum 06-01-2009
Can a government-subsidized press save democracy?

Dying a Slow Death

by Danny Duncan Collum 05-01-2009
The future of Appalachia -- and the planet -- depends on unseating King Coal.

Against the Tide

by Danny Duncan Collum 04-01-2009
Major record labels haven't adapted to the wired age -- and they're losing.

America in Black and White

by Danny Duncan Collum 03-01-2009
Does the Obama era herald a post-racial United States?

The Digital New Deal

by Danny Duncan Collum 02-01-2009
Will President Obama deliver on his promises of media reform?

The Battle Over the 1960s

by Danny Duncan Collum 01-01-2009
Can Obama move us past the culture wars of the last 40 years?

Mountain Music

by Danny Duncan Collum 12-01-2008
Saving a Kentucky community and its culture, one kid at a time.

Looking for Truth, Beauty, and Love

by Danny Duncan Collum 12-01-2008

Fred Rogers, the creator and host of the children?s TV show, Mister Rogers?

Publishing on Demand

by Danny Duncan Collum 11-01-2008
We may be losing interest in reading books, but plenty of us still want to write them.

For 500 years, Western culture, for better or worse, was formed by its books. Great novels have held up a mirror to the foibles and absurdities of human nature, while book-length manifestos have set the terms of political debate and social struggle (think Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations, Marx’s Das Kapital, or even Hitler’s Mein Kampf).

For decades now, we’ve heard predictions that a culture founded upon the book is on its way out. The electronic culture ushered in by TV and confirmed by the Internet, we’ve been warned, would eventually render most people incapable of the kind of concentration required to really inhabit a serious book. Teachers have regularly reported a decline of interest in reading among the coming generations.

Despite these warnings, the book publishing industry marched on. Book sales kept rising. Sure, sales figures were pumped up by relentless niche marketing, fad-pandering, and Hollywood tie-ins. Still, books were moving off the shelves. But now the declining importance of print has begun to show up on the bottom line. According to a report by the Book Industry Study Group, in 2007 overall book sales barely increased at all, and would actually have declined if not for a single title—the final installment of the Harry Potter series. Publishing giants, such as Random House and Simon & Schuster, are showing declining incomes. Meanwhile, sales of books for young children are declining, which confirms the common-sense impression that, with each passing year, the place once occupied by books and reading is being filled by electronic gadgets with hypnotizing screens.

Cult, Culture, and Cultivation

by Danny Duncan Collum 09-01-2008
When we separate pleasure from responsibility, we defy nature at our own risk.