Wearing his signature John Lennon eyeglasses and scruffy beard, the founder of THE SUN, Sy Safransky, has been spotted in some pretty posh places for a hippie who publishes a literary magazine with black-and-white photographs and no ads. The former six-foot-tall journalist (he’s now 5’10” in his late 60s) has been rubbing elbows at the Beverly Hills Library, and grinning ear to ear in a white stretch limo with writers Cheryl Strayed, Marion Wink, and Poe Ballantine. Safransky holds celebrity status among such literary stars who often quote him on aging, sentimentality with compassion, and God and cats. With his popular Notebook column, he engages his loyal readers (most of whom are writers) with ledes like: “There’s a cat in the room. There’s a man in the room. How about God? Is God in the room?”
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Seymour Ira Safransky was bar mitzvahed in the 1950s, dropped acid in the 60s, got a master’s in journalism from Columbia in the 70s only to quit his newspaper reporter job to type the first issue of THE SUN in a friend’s garage in Chapel Hill, NC. Today, THE SUN has more than 70,000 subscribers. What’s Safransky’s secret sauce? Maybe it’s the Lennon lenses that he insists upon wearing because the Beatle was/is his ideological idol. Chances are, even without the specs, Safransky would have stayed true to his idealistic vision. No matter what the political climate, Safransky and THE SUN shine on.