I was disappointed in the November 1998 issue, which seemed devoted to drug and alcohol abuse. In Readers Write on “Last Chance,” for example, Ruth Thone begins her story, “I know I have another drunk in me,” and an unnamed writer describes becoming a junkie in junior high. The characters in Poe Ballantine’s “The Mayfly Glimmer before Last Call” are all drunk or stoned much of the time. The first sentence of Al Neipris’s “Organicity” reads: “I was a daily drinker, a frequent opium user, and a bona fide cocaine addict,” while Monica Trasandes opens her story “Howard” with “We never did cocaine on weekdays, only on weekends.”
Was the drug theme intentional? Is it hip, once again, to get stoned? For a publication that bills itself as “A Magazine of Ideas,” these are very poor ideas, indeed.
Regarding the letters from Judy Broderson and M. Cardwell in the March 1999 Correspondence section: I agree that The Sun should stop printing stories involving booze, drugs, and sex — just as soon as they stop being a part of everyone’s reality.
I can understand Judy Broderson’s “disappointment” with the November 1998 issue and its apparent devotion to the themes of alcohol and drug abuse. We often want to view the dark aspects of our culture as “very poor ideas.”
The reality is, however, that alcoholism and drug addiction — as well as eating disorders, consumerism, racial hatred, and any number of other conditions — are more than just ideas for many of us. These destructive strategies for getting through each day sap the precious energies that we need to live sane and productive lives. It is to eveyone’s benefit to recognize these afflictions and try to lessen their devastating effects on our country; intentionally disregarding them or pretending they don’t exist does not help those who are suffering. We ignore their pain at our own peril.