Issue 279 | The Sun Magazine

March 1999

Readers Write

Stage Fright

A spelling bee, a lesson about survival, a couples-only swingers’ club

By Our Readers


Advertisers are the interpreters of our dreams. . . . Like the movies, they infect the routine futility of our days with purposeful adventure. Their weapons are our weaknesses: fear, ambition, illness, pride, selfishness, desire, ignorance. And these weapons must be kept bright as a sword.

E. B. White

The Sun Interview

War On Truth

The Secret Battle For The American Mind — An Interview With John Stauber

Public relations is now inseparable from the business of lobbying, creating public policy, and getting candidates elected to public office. The PR industry just might be the single most powerful political institution in the world. It expropriates and exploits the democratic rights of millions on behalf of big business by fooling the public about the issues.

By Derrick Jensen
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Liberation Marketing And The Culture Trust

Liberation marketing takes the old mass-culture critique — consumerism as conformity — fully into account, acknowledges it, addresses it, and solves it. Liberation marketing imagines consumers breaking free from the old order, tearing loose from the shackles with which capitalism has bound us, escaping the routine of bureaucracy and hierarchy, getting in touch with our true selves, and, finally, finding authenticity, that holiest of consumer grails.

By Thomas C. Frank
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Homage To A Sorcerer

Carlos Castaneda has died. There aren’t many to bear witness to or for him, because he didn’t allow many witnesses. One met him by invitation, usually, and even that was more fluke than not. Those invited were of all sorts. I happened to be one, for reasons that weren’t clear to me and probably aren’t important. Perhaps I was called to be a witness?

By Michael Ventura
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories


It’s summer, and I’m taking two women from a foundation that helps fund my work to see where the money is being spent, and if the money is being turned into productive, life-sustaining gardens.

By Dan Barker

Fritz’s Heart

They want to make all pain go away, but that is impossible. Pain is like the sand in an hourglass: a certain amount must sift through your soul before your life is over.

By Sybil Smith


When the old man came up to the bathroom to shave, I crept down to the kitchen for some breakfast. I listened hard for him as I poured those Shreddies, spilling the sugar and quickly tidying up to hide the evidence.

By Jennifer Wortham

Japanese Food

My friend Howard doesn’t want me to know that he’s dying. He hates all the movies and books and plays about AIDS, especially what happens at the end. He says they turn something real into a sappy, pointless melodrama. But that’s not why he hasn’t told me.

By Esther Cohen