Good stuff online

August 4, 2011

I’ve just been catching up on old issues of The Sun, the excellent no-advertising literary magazine published by Sy Safransky out of Chapel Hill, NC. The June 2011 issue featured a terrific interview with Peter Coyote, an actor with some Hollywood fame but whose life work has revolved around political activism, community organizing, and spiritual pursuits. His interview with David Kupfer covers a lot of territory, with a lot of honesty and soul-searching. (He’s open, for instance, about his history as a heroin addict and the chronic hepatitis C that he lives with as a consequence.)

Here’s a small sample:

Kupfer: …your generation did transform the U.S. political agenda.

Coyote: No, I don’t think we did. We lost every one of our political battles: We did not stop capitalism. We did not end the war. We did not stop imperialism. I can’t point to real political victory.

Culturally, however, we’ve changed the landscape dramatically. There is no city in the United States today where there is not a women’s movement, an environmental movement, alternative medical practices, alternative spirituality, organic-food stores. That is a huge and powerful development that I think will eventually change the political system.

Kupfer: So the political system is the tail on the dog, the last thing to change in the culture?

Coyote: Politicians are not leaders; they are followers. They think that, because they can plunder the public treasury, they are leading. In fact they are terrified of the people. The people are a problem for them to manage, and when they can no longer manage them, they must follow them, or oppress them.

You can read an abridged version of the interview online here.

In the same issue, there are also excerpts from a fantastic advice column called “Dear Sugar” that runs in an online magazine called The Rumpus. Check out the except here.

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