Issue 264 | The Sun Magazine

December 1997

Readers Write

The First Time

A Donny Osmond doll, an abortion, a clear-cut

By Our Readers


Most of us spend too much time on the last twenty-four hours and too little on the last six thousand years.

Will Durant

The Sun Interview

Down The Garden Path

How Ten Thousand Years Of Agriculture Has Failed Us — An Interview With Daniel Quinn

Famine doesn’t occur among hunter-gatherers, because they don’t sit there and starve: they go wherever the food is, as all animals do. One reason why famine and agriculture are connected is that, when crops fail, practitioners of totalitarian agriculture stay put and starve, because there isn’t anywhere else for them to go. If you look at famines throughout history, you’ll find that almost every one is connected to crop failure.

By W. Bradford Swift
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories


Late at night in New York’s Museum of Natural History, time comes to a stop. The dust settles slowly on the dioramas and displays, and nothing stirs it. Not a muscle shifts: The head of a sperm whale is wrapped in the tentacles of a giant squid, forever.

By Rafe Martin
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

The Rules Of Corporate Behavior

Most people are familiar with the destructive behavior of corporations: closing factories and exporting jobs; dumping toxic waste; devastating the environment; abandoning communities for “free-trade zones,” where environmental and social laws are lax. But few understand why corporations behave this way.

By Jerry Mander
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories


Pulling down my pants was not enough. I had to let them fall below my knees and then carefully, so as not to lose my balance, turn as if on a vertical spit, heated by Tommy’s eyes.

By Sybil Smith

How To Find Him

Listen to your mother’s story about playing baseball at fourteen and hearing her own mother say to a friend, I don’t know what I’ll do about Martha’s looks. Wonder if your mom’s speaking in code. Is she going to say that you’re pretty, or has she just told you why she never will?

By Ashley Walker


On Sunday morning at a quarter to six, Lilli calls for me. Her cry hits me in my sleep like a hurled knife. Lightning flashes through my brain; my stomach cramps up; my heart flutters. With eyes closed, I wait for her next cry.

By Doris Dörrie

Photographs By Gordon Baer

The first [part of the series] documents a day in Lewis’s life in Salem, Missouri, when she was a carefree seventeen-year-old who often skipped school and tried on the wedding dress she kept packed away in her hope chest. The second part was made a year later, after Lewis was married and pregnant. The year was 1969.

By Gordon Baer