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

Our Fast Food Empire

by Danny Duncan Collum 05-01-2006
'You deserve a break today' can be a pretty appealing proposition.

In his landmark book Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser reported that, in a global marketing survey, McDonald’s Golden Arches proved to be a more widely recognized symbol than the Christian cross. The arches are second worldwide, after the Olympic rings. The cross comes in third.

Of all the changes that struck American culture in the last quarter of the 20th century, the explosive growth of the fast-food industry would have to count as one of the most destructive. That’s a big claim. We’re talking about a period of history that saw the advent of music videos, infomercials, and call-waiting. But I’ll stand by it.

Foodways are among the most essential defining elements of any culture; in the past few decades, ours have changed almost beyond recognition. Twenty-first century America has, in large part, left behind regionally grown, home-prepared food for globalized, pre-packaged, sweetened, and fatty convenience stuff. Just as we’ve surrendered control of our free time, and even our inner consciousness, to the TV and advertising industry, we’ve turned over responsibility for much of our daily sustenance to a few transnational marketing corporations.

We are what they sell us. And, in exchange, the lords of the fast-food empire have promised to free us from cooking, dishwashing, and (at least briefly) from complaining children. The consequences of this bargain are written across our strip-malled landscape, our low-wage economy, and our increasingly bloated bodies.

Public Radio's New Jeans

by Danny Duncan Collum 04-01-2006
The 'Triple-A' music format comes with a nice fit, but only for a few.

Uncrossing The Wires

by Danny Duncan Collum 03-01-2006
If democracy is to be more than a slogan, everyone must have access to the Internet.

The politics of PBS

by Danny Duncan Collum 02-01-2006
Can we get spin-free public TV?

Reporting Through the Grapevines

by Danny Duncan Collum 01-01-2006
What do we believe when all social restraints are off?

Taking Back Our Kids

Child rearing, never an easy endeavour, has become in many ways a countercultural activity.

Agents of Power

by Danny Duncan Collum 12-01-2005
Can democracy survive without an adversarial press?

America's Holy City

by Danny Duncan Collum 11-01-2005
The suffering and salvation of New Orleans.

When Them Is Us

by Danny Duncan Collum 09-01-2005
My life among conservative Christians.

Balanced' Coverage

by Danny Duncan Collum 08-01-2005
Colonizing the last commercial-free slice of the broadcast spectrum.

Blood, Soil and the Blues

by Danny Duncan Collum 07-01-2005
The particular truth of the North Mississippi Allstars.

A Pilgrim in the House

by Danny Duncan Collum 06-01-2005
Buddy Miller's music sings louder than words.

Finding a Cultural Politics

by Danny Duncan Collum 05-01-2005
Ossie Davis, Arthur Miller, and the common good.

Down With The Boondocks

by Danny Duncan Collum 04-01-2005
Aaron McGruder rages against the machine.

I Yam What I Yam

by Danny Duncan Collum 03-01-2005
I Yam What I Yam

What those 'Low Prices' Cost

by Danny Duncan Collum 02-01-2005
I always had a soft spot for Wal-Mart.

Better Living Through Technology

by Danny Duncan Collum 01-01-2005
Turning on to life by turning off the box.

Pledging Allegiance to the Imagination

by Danny Duncan Collum 12-01-2004
Richard Wright was a political activist, but his loyalty was to his art.

 Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Carl Van Vechten Collection, LC-USZ62-42502 (b&w film copy neg.)

Richard Wright was a political activist, but his loyalty was to his art.

The Story Preceded Us

by Danny Duncan Collum 12-01-2004

An interview with Paul Elie on faith, writing, and the "School of the Holy Ghost."

The Boss Plays for Change

by Danny Duncan Collum 11-01-2004
Bruce Springsteen as singer, guitarist - and statesman.