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The Sun Magazine

The Sun Interview

Crimes Of Punishment

An Interview With Christian Parenti

I describe SWAT teams in Fresno as a kind of postmodern public execution — a highly ritualized, highly theatrical display of the sovereign’s power. Like an invading army, they occupy whole neighborhoods, harass the residents, and surround the houses. They have machine guns, barking dogs, and armored personnel carriers. This is state propaganda, political theater, directed not at the “perp” holed up in the house, but at the hundreds of community members watching.

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

In The Lions’ Den

Half of each weekly session is devoted to charting one man’s abusive acts on the night of his arrest. We write them out on the blackboard, step by step. . . . Whatever we hear at chartings is only part of the story. Men minimize their actions and inflate hers in an effort to prove that she was responsible. We ferret out the truth and examine inconsistencies until a man’s story finally unravels like a hem with faulty stitching.

Promised Land

I returned to LA from New Hampshire at the end of June, shell-shocked from my father’s last days, his funeral, the strain of spending two weeks cooped up with my seven brothers and sisters in the house where we were raised. Having always been drawn toward the mystical and the contemplative, I’d converted to Catholicism three years before, but now I saw it was one thing to be told that death leads to resurrection and another to watch someone you love die in agony.

Mean Cuisine

According to surveys, about half of American households have at least one person on a diet at any given time. Dieting is normal — more normal than eating what you want to eat. How many of us now live on various versions of Lean Cuisine during the workweek and pay premium for a plate of swordfish and greens on Saturday night? (We have the sauce and dressing on the side— of course.) Stouffer’s Lean Cuisine (now a Nestlé product) is little more than smaller portions for a higher price; the consumer pays for the corporate mother to dole out the proper foods in their proper amounts. A man told me he’s never had to worry about his weight; he can eat whatever he wants. “People resent me,” he said. “They don’t want to go out to eat with me.” He paused. “It’s lonely.”

Fiction

Reptile Man

It was July, and I hadn’t had sex in more than two years. The last time I’d loved and lost, I had ended up walking the streets in a snowstorm, melting the drifts with my hot, salty tears. While in this unfortunate condition, I ran into an acquaintance and blurted out my tragedy. It’s hard to say who was more embarrassed.

Readers Write

Losing Weight

I didn’t know I needed to lose weight until my senior year of high school. I was sitting near some of the most popular girls in class, and they were talking about their weight. All of them weighed twenty to thirty pounds less than I did. I looked down at my thighs, which were bulging out of my blue cotton shorts with the giant psychedelic polka dots, and realized that I was fat.

Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸
Sy Safransky's Notebook

October 2000

I’m out of town with Norma and I’m homesick. I miss my cats. I miss my friends. But I know that once I’m back home, I’ll miss something I’m never able to put my finger on. Is it something from the past? Growing up in Brooklyn? My father’s big hands, the smell of his cigars? My mother’s arms, her breast, her breath? Maybe I’m nostalgic for the night they lay entwined, and half of me met the other half. Or the moment just before that.

Musings From Our Founder ▸
Quotations

Sunbeams

The toughest part of being on a diet is shutting up about it.

Gerland Nachman

More Quotations ▸
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