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Russell Frank

A collection of Russell Frank's columns from the past 20 years, titled “Among the Woo People: A Survival Guide for Living in a College Town," was published this fall by the Penn State University Press. His columns for Statecollege.com won first place in the Commentary-Non Daily category of the Society of Professional Journalists Keystone Chapter 2017 Spotlight contest. Frank is a member of the journalism faculty at Penn State. Before launching his academic career, he worked as a reporter, editor and columnist at newspapers in California and Pennsylvania for 13 years. He is, by academic training, a folklorist (Ph.D., UPenn), which means, when you strip away the academic jargon, that he loves a good story. His views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Penn State University.

Articles by Russell Frank

If You’re Happy and You Know It, Trash the Town
Column
If You’re Happy and You Know It, Trash the Town
80 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
What you find in a violent crowd, author Bill Buford says, is 'the dark satisfactions' of nothingness. 'Nothingness in its beauty, its simplicity, its nihilistic purity.' [Read More]
A Hallelujah Thanksgiving
Column
A Hallelujah Thanksgiving
81 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
Of course they should come, the rest of us agreed. The only questions were, should we talk about the elephant in the room? And could we, without spoiling the feast? I thought we should and we could. [Read More]
Aviation and Its Discontents
Column
Aviation and Its Discontents
82 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
In a burst of industrious ant-ism, I, normally a lazy grasshopper, made my Thanksgiving travel plans at the end of August. [Read More]
How to Talk about the Election on Thanksgiving
Column
How to Talk about the Election on Thanksgiving
83 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
At first I thought our recent democratic exercise would have to be off-limits on Thanksgiving Day. With Clinton voters passing gravy boats to Trump voters and Trumpistas helping Clintonistas to yams, I didn’t see how we could get all the way through the pies without the discussion taking a testy t [Read More]
The Jitters Were Warranted
Column
The Jitters Were Warranted
84 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
My thinking was that Trump's support was thinner than it looked. His crowds looked big, but surely there were millions of Republicans who, whatever they told reporters or pollsters, would, in the privacy of the voting booth, pick the more qualified candidate. [Read More]
We're All Over the News (Uh-oh)
Column
We're All Over the News (Uh-oh)
85 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
Our little town and our big university are making national news again, for better and for worse. Russell Frank takes a closer look at four stories that drew national interest in the past week [Read More]
It's Time to Give Lifers a Chance at Life
Column
It's Time to Give Lifers a Chance at Life
86 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
There's a faint glimmer of hope for Pennsylvanians who are condemned to spend the rest of their lives in prison. [Read More]
Of Trumps and Chumps
Column
Of Trumps and Chumps
87 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
We were strolling one of the prettiest neighborhoods in Central Pennsylvania when we heard a child hawking her wares from a table across the street. When we approached the table, though, we saw that the little street vendor was not selling lemonade and brownies. She was flogging rocks for 25 cents a [Read More]
I'm Handing the Ball to Hillary
Column
I'm Handing the Ball to Hillary
88 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
I have a lot riding on this election. My record stands at 5-6 – that is, five times voting for the winner and six times backing the also-ran – so I need a victory in November to get back to .500. A look back at presidential elections I have known. [Read More]
Clownology 101: Your Resident Folklorist Weighs In
Column
Clownology 101: Your Resident Folklorist Weighs In
89 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
Everywhere I look, I see creepy clowns. Except I'm not actually seeing them. No one is. [Read More]
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