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The Sun Magazine

The Sun Interview

Man Versus Machine

An Interview With Kirkpatrick Sale

The advance of computer technology has generally been perceived as a positive development. Ardent proponents of technology tell us that sophisticated computer networks will make it easier to communicate, to live more comfortably, and to spend our time more wisely. But others are more skeptical about high-tech civilization: Will there be time for solitude? Will we have any privacy in an increasingly wired world? Will life in cyberspace be beneficial or detrimental to our sanity and happiness?

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

At The Altar Of Progress

It is characteristic of industrialism to make swift and thorough use of nature’s stored-up treasures and living organisms (called “resources”) without regard to the stability or sustainability of the world that provides them. The process is ratified by such industrial ideologies as humanism, which gives us the right; materialism, which gives us the reason; and rationalism, which gives us the method.

The Technology Of Simplicity

When I was eleven or twelve, I used to go deer hunting with my father. He would wake me before dawn on cold, crisp October days, and we would dress silently in the dim glow of a night light, not wanting to awaken the rest of the house. He would already have packed his hunting gear in the car, and we would slip out of the house and go to an all-night truck stop for breakfast. It was always still dark when we made our way into the woods along paths it seemed only my father knew, until we found the blind we had built days before, overlooking pathways frequented by white-tailed deer. At first, being too young, I took no gun or bow and arrows, but later I would sit alone in my own blind, my weapons ready, while my father went to a different part of the woods.

The Wilderness Within

We think of wilderness as a vast, pristine region set apart from humankind, but such places do not exist anymore; perhaps they never did. Humankind has exerted its influence everywhere on this planet in a process that began many thousands of years ago when the first inventive hominid harnessed fire. Nothing is pristine in the strictest sense of the word.

Tuned In

In the preface to his book of photographs Tuned In: Television in American Life, Lloyd DeGrane relates this story:

“The impact of television first registered with me when I was delivering telephone books to an apartment building on Chicago’s South Side. I knocked on a door in a darkened hallway and this voice just said, “Come in.” The room was dark, so all I could see were silhouettes of people, illuminated by the flickering light of a television set. There were ten people altogether — a mother and father, a grandfather, and seven kids. The TV and the couch were the only pieces of furniture in the room. The only place to sit was on the floor with the kids. . . . We watched the last two minutes of a Godzilla movie. When it was over, the guy who’d invited me in said, ‘OK, now what did you want?’ ”

Dad Left, So We Got A Television Set

When my father left, my mother bought our first television set. She put it in what was now her bedroom. Three pieces of furniture floated in that spacious room: a Singer sewing machine, a mattress atop a box spring, and now a black-and-white television with rabbit ears. Instead of welcoming Dad home from work, my brother and I learned to sing along with the opening themes of Petticoat ]unction, Green Acres, and My Three Sons.

Glorious Failure

Bad news is supposed to travel fast, but this news took nearly three months to get from a snowcapped mountain in Vermont to my office in North Carolina. It finally arrived on a beautiful spring afternoon, eyes downcast, dragging its heels.

Fiction

Stories By Sparrow

I went to a theater to see a play. In the middle of the second act,
there was a pause. The actors seemed to be waiting for something. A tall
man walked up to me and whispered, “You’re in the play.”
“I am?” I said. “But I don’t know the lines.”
“Don’t worry,” he said. “You’ll know what to do.”
I climbed onto the stage, and the actors beat me up.

The Air Around Me Was Hissing

I was nineteen and living with three other girls in a big house sandwiched between a linseed-oil factory and a pesticide plant. Two of the girls were nuts, and the smell of linseed oil gave me headaches.

Never And Nowhere

You leave Kentucky, with its leaning phone booths and thick green twilight and sloe-blossom bourbon and dogwood insouciance, and you head west on the bus with $984 and some roast-beef sandwiches and some bananas and a bag of trail mix and the usual doubt and the usual set of diminishing expectations. For twenty years you’ve had a vision of the ideal place. You’ve tried to explain it, but you can’t. It is something like nowhere, but not a ghost town. It is alive.

Readers Write

Watching TV

When I say, “I don’t watch television,” nearly everyone within earshot is inclined to say, “I don’t, either — at least, not that much, really.” My friends shake their heads knowingly, chiming in that TV is the death knell of American civilization, that nothing good is ever shown — except on PBS, of course.

Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸
Quotations

Sunbeams

“Television knows no night. It is perpetual day. TV embodies our fear of the dark, of night, of the other side of things.”

Jean Baudrillard

More Quotations ▸
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