Letters to The Ethical Spectacle

We don't see much snow in New York state. I remember the snow days of childhood very fondly, when they closed P.S. 193 and we could play in the drifts and mounds of the stuff all day. It seems like snow stayed on the ground for six weeks at a time back then.

It snowed enough last week for me to get the cross country skis out of the closet and go for a turn on the Promenade in Brooklyn Heights, across from the Manhattan skyline, which I couldn't see for the mist. In the '80's, when I went skiing in my neighborhood I would see twenty or thirty other skiiers, but this week I was the only one. Did the others I remember move out to the suburbs? Did they get too old? Apparently a new generation, unused to snow, doesn't keep cross country skis in Brooklyn closets.

I enjoyed being the lone madman, and hearing children ask their parents, "What is that man doing?"

It definitely seems like global warming to me. We're never going to address the problem via merely national legislation. This month's article discusses what we need to do.

I love getting your email and can be reached, as always, at jw@bway.net.

Jonathan Wallace

Dear Jonathan --

I came to your site in an odd sort of way. I am at a crossroads in my career [trying to design my next step]. I am an executive producer of large scale events -- and did a search of "spectacle". Your site appeared.

God bless anyone that quotes Richard Foreman on thier home page. [It was his production of Dr. Selavy's Magic Circus [in 1972] that set my sights right for the world of theater. I went on to see most of his productions is the loft on b'way, and eventually stage managed a musical he and Silverman created: The American Experience].

I was in Dobbs Ferry during the Kent State demonstrations, and did my share of leading marches, sitting vigilant on the steps of embassies, and marching with candles through the night. My older brother was drafted to nam in '68, and thankfully he was not the one killed.

I have bookmarked your site, as one of the new directions I am investigating, has to do with advocacy groups, and advocacy issues. I'd lilke to run a site providing access and information. I need to see if there is anyway of making the site self-sufficient and/or revenue generating in any way.

I'll come back for a visit periodically. Keep up the good work.

all the best,

Kim Novick kim@intermedia-services.com

Dear Mr. Wallace,

I am an undergraduate student at the University of Michigan. I am tell you what an informative and invalluable asset the spectacle has been in helping me put together a term paper on censorship of pornography. I also support Nadine Strossen's viewpoint. Well-- i enjoyed the page and will hopefully be able to use it again in the future. Thank you.


mahvish khan Mkhanmd49@aol.com

Seattle and the WTO
Dear Jonathan:

That was a great fucking issue. I managed to kill a small tree printing it out so I'd have it in my permanent collection.

The contrast between now...and thirty one years ago is interesting. I was covering "radical politics" for NBC News, and of course, the '68 Democratic National Convention. Like Seattle, it took a while for the full horrendous behavior to be understood. And it took a bunch of us a few more months to develop plans and publish the first Chicago Journalism Review, where we could nail those who didn't tell it straight. And like Chicago, it's going to take a long while for it to be fully processed and understood. Your issue sets the standard.

But to have your "magazine" out and on the Net in about one month is extraordinary. There is an aspect to this story which as yet is still untold (and one which I am looking into) but the "groundwork" you've established is just terrific. Thanks.

Lewis Z. Koch lzkoch@mediaone.net
Special Correspondent
CyberWire Dispatch

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Let me begin by saying that The Ethical Spectacle is one of my 'must reads'. Keep up the good work!

We can look at the Left's opposition to the current WTO as a 'third round' of a prisoner's dilemma game whose first round was NAFTA. ( The second round was fast track for NAFTA expansion. ) To get NAFTA passed, Clinton had to add side agreements on labor rights and environmental standards. We were suckered. Clinton has never had a friend he hasn't betrayed, and now that NAFTA is law, the side agreements are dead letters.

If we let WTO be cemented without some inherent mechanism for addressing environment and labor, we'll be suckered again. We have a carrot for those in power; if we give it away without demanding some international structure to deal with our concerns, those concerns will be ignored.

So, there is and there will be an internation trading regime. If the corporate right wants to use my nation's law to bolster their cause, they can make a deal, and that deal concerns effective labor and environmental standards.

jon hedquist jahedqui@mm.com

Dear Mr. Wallace:

As a recent convert to the Ethical Spectacle, I feel compelled to respond to your issue devoted to the events and protestations at the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle. I found the coverage both stimulating and provocative, with the singular exception of an article authored by Bob Wilson - "Why Liberals don't like the WTO". Not because it is overtly right wing and reactionary, but rather, because it is anti-intellectual inasmuch as it sets out to be personal and vindictive.

Surely one of the chief virtues of an on-line magazine such as the Ethical Spectacle is the opportunity it provides for the free exchange of information. I'm certain that Mr Wilson will agree, an open forum such as the Ethical Spectacle is an example of free speech in action, compromised only by editorial discretion. And judging from the diversity of opinion, it seems the editor selects a wide range of views (despite his unapologetic leftist leanings) which are representative of both the left and the right.

The distinction between personal, subjectively based criticism on the one hand, and intellectually tenable and objective criticism on the other, is what distinguishes, say, the National Inquirer from the New York Times. In some contexts the personal may be political, but in writing which professes to be serious, and taken seriously, there is no room for name calling or bigotry. What, for instance, is the utility, and relevance, of describing (non-violent) protesters as "anarchists, vegetarians, Green Peace whack jobs ...left wing loonies... assembled in ... tie-dyed bandannas and scruffy beards" ? Such pejorative phraseology only serves to detract from the impact of the argument.

Hyperbole aside, I feel it's prudent to discuss two of Mr Wilson's assumptions, patently evident in some of his bold statements - "In their opposition to free trade, the protestors oppose the most progressive force of the last two centuries". Without debating the merits of the WTO, it's mandate and policies, it is, in light of its unrepresentative constitution, furtiveness, unaccountability and lack of transparency, (see articles by McMasters, Wallace & Price in the December 1999 issue) logical to assume that many protestors were motivated by its methodology, not necessarily its content Form, it seems, is as important as substance. As for the second assumption above.... It's a bold statement that says trade is the most progressive force of the last two centuries; it's quite another to make it with without substantiating the claim.

Quoting from The New Republic, Wilson trivializes the raison d'Ítre for the demonstrations - street protests used to concern "war, civil rights, abortion" ; Seattle was about "the genetic modification of canola oil and... cross-border intellectual-property enforcement". For Mr Wilson, it seems the latter are deemed to be less worthy than the former (he goes on to make the point that there is "no scientific evidence that any genetically modified crop has done any harm to anyone anywhere"). According to the London Times (January 7, 2000) Britain's largest supermarket chain has blacklisted crops grown in fields that have been host to genetically modified crops (all other supermarkets and food retailers in the UK are expected to follow). The trade ramifications for Britain are obvious. Mr Wilson may be interested to know that intellectual property accounts for well over 50 percent of U.S exports. When one thinks of the ease with which software, CDs and DVD can be inexpensively duplicated and unlawfully traded, it is not hard to see the colossal sums connected with such sales.

It's ironic that in the home of the brave and (alleged) land of the free, police reacted so violently to those who were freely exercising their first amendment rights. One would think that in the USA, a so-called bastion of democracy, free trade would equal free speech. It's truly shocking to think that in America innocent protestors may need protection from state fired rubber bullets and tear gas. As much as I disagree with Mr Wilson's views, I would endure coercive police behaviour to protect his right to express them.

Matthew Pond matthewpond@hotmail.com

Hi Jonathan.

I haven't got time for a rant on the subject, but Reason had a couple of pieces that pretty-much captured my thoughts.

The Broken Blue Line subtitled "How to start a riot" by Jesse Walker and Trade Secrets by Jacob Sullum present interesting alternative views which will probably annoy some folks (oh well).

Regards, James M. Ray jray@free-market.net

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Thanks for the above article printed in the Ethical Spectacle. I believe your analogy to the dormant commerce clause in the U.S. Constitution is legally apt and a valuable contribution to the debate. I think you should go further in your assessment however.

For example, the WTO is not democratic, as you seem to imply. It is one of the first forms of global governance, but its "governance by consensus" is no protection at all, despite their claims. If I and all of my attorney friends got together, especially in secret, to decide laws people would object to that. Certainly we might see the justice of extra tax breaks for attorneys. SImilarly, if the trade ministers and corporations get together in secret and make laws regarding "trade", we should not be assuaged. This is government by the business class with no representation of other interests.

Secondly, the WTO attempts to privilege the values of commerce over all other potential values, by saying labor, environmental and human rights standards are often "non-tariff barriers to trade". If a country is unable to exclude or regulate goods made in country X with slave labor or without environmental safeguards, then it has a competitive disadvantage and ultimately may have to lower or eliminate its own standards. In a global marketplace, that reduces nations to the level of weak American states (or worse), who can only regulate truly local activities but not national or international ones. This creates a global constitution in which commerce rules completely, and with free-flowing global capital, any governmental institution that considers regulation will be told that global capital will pull up its toys and go home. So basically all global capitalists need to "rule the world" so to speak is freeflowing capital and the ability to challenge and effectively veto nation's laws that attempt to regulate them.

Still, the wTO has two big things going for it: a global organization is the main effective way to deal with globalization, and trade is generally a good thing. STill, defending the WTO by defending "international trade" is like defending a person accused of spouse abuse by extolling the glories of marriage: it is ridiculous. An organization that stands accused of abusive trade practices can not defend itself based on the advantages of trade. The main real problems with the WTO are its undemocratic nature and the fact that it is a trojan horse for a single set of values. If this was widely known, 80% of Americans would say as many protesters did: fix it or nix it.

Paul Lehto lehto@eskimo.com

Morality and Truth
Dear Mr. Wallace:

I find myself pretty much in agreement with your outlook on morality up to and including the Holocaust raising serious problems for belief in a benevolent G-d. This problem has bothered theologians since when, of course, "theodicy" -- how does one resolve the trilemma: God is omnipotent. God is benevolent. Real evil exists. Most religions have denied or weakened one or more of these propositions to resolve this trilemma -- but that is a far push for evils in this century -- not only moral, but natural as well.

I tend to go further with Hume, myself, as I grow older. I suspect that morality is based on emotional dispositions (What Hume called "sentiment."). One is either born with these or develops them in early childhood. We have our irredeemable psychopathic types -- some function quite well -- G-d forbid that one marries one or has one as a boss! They are not all so obvious as a Hitler or Saddam Hussein. They feel no compassion towards others or their suffering. I saw a recent study which reported that when confronted with pictures of suffering, psychopaths showed no physiological responses (as do normal people) -- only responded to things that threatened them personally. At the other end of the spectrum are people who are unusally empathetic -- our saints and heroes, if you will. In between are most of the rest of us -- Hume saw the sentiment of altruism as being nearly universal -- but weak. If we see a suffering child, we will assist. A suffering homeless person . . . . Ask our NYC Mayor, Rudy Giuliani.

Hume also suggested that we need to build upon this basic sentiment by teaching children "justice." Perhaps this is where our various moralities of rules come in? Note that they are various, but as the ancient Romans began to detect as they conquered their world and as natural law theorists expanded, there are certain core prohibitons -- against murder, stealing, incest (except for the poor Pharoah who had to marry his sister -- only goddess available -- like Adam and Eve -- incestuous).

Hope this is enough for your purposes. Perhaps I should add that I was trained in philosophical theology as well as straight philosophy where I now center my work.

Edward Kent ekent@brooklyn.cuny.edu

Dear Jonathan,

Just stumbled across "the Ethical Spectacle", and your article "Morality and Truth". Thumbs up.

I am responding simply to encourage you. These are difficult issues, even if only because others make them so. Your reasoning stands as a pleasent read.

I was brought up as an atheist--but not, as my great grandfather apparently said, "an empty-headed one". I may never have been to a church more than four times in my life, but I had some familiarity with that history.

My own 'spiritual' interests came in my mid teens, when I was searching for meaning. That search soon became a more pure search--"what is meaning?", for example. I studied perceptual psychology (Gestalt in particular) long enough to realize that IT IS ALL PROJECTION. A little neurobiology later, and I am left agreeing that we are wired for rulebooks, however harsh and unrelenting such an assertion seems.

We are, I suppose, beautifully wired. To make the human (and animal) condition more pleasing to the ears and mind is but self-deception. Yet, how discouraging!

I find it impossible to extricate the facts of life (what we are) from the emotions ... to not say reproducing machines without adding that we are very good at it. This curiousity of culture, of programming, is just another part of that projective mechanism. My brain lives in my body, and is a full part of it. My body (and brain) is awash with electro-chemical states. I am not free, but dependent on life. On this existance.

Someday, I will actually see a form of morality in this.

David Henry dh56@mb.sympatico.ca

Hi Jonathan,

I was just passing by -- by way of slashdot.org, by way of peacefire.org.

I've just read some of your articles on religion. I'm glad I read them -- some of what you write speaks to my own belief that we can live good lives without needing that big floaty guy with his beard and his clouds. (I read other articles too.)

I often meet and work with Quakers and Quaker chaplains. Recently, I've had a number of interesting conversations with some of these colleagues on where (if anywhere) the god stuff fits in.

These most thought provoking conversations usually start when I get mistaken for a young Friend (I'm 25), and my standard reply is that I could quite conveniently call myself a Quaker, if it wasn't for the christian/god angle.

Your articles have provided me with further stimulating thoughts in this area.

So, thanks. I guess I'll be a regular at the Spectacle from now on. Who knows, I might even write something one of these days.

Oh, and the work? I facilitate conflict resolution workshops in prisons and not in prisons, as part of the Alternatives to Violence project. Perhaps I could contribute an article about this?


Steve Alexander steve@cat-box.demon.co.uk

The Bob Wilson Corner
" Jonathan:

Ben Price really gets hot when someone challenges (or as in my case, makes a joke about) his stream of consciousness left wing patter doesn't he? He takes himself far more seriously than he should, but that is obvious to anyone who takes the time to plow through more than a few of his Unibomber-esque sentences.

Ben...Ouch! You win. I can't compete with your level of venom. Calm down my bitter, outrageously left wing whako friend. (OK, maybe not friend, but wow, that level of animosity is really unhealthy.) I haven't seen such an outpouring of hate since the 1992 Democratic convention. If it makes you feel better, I am going to print and frame your letter as an example of what happens when you tweak a deluded, self important, loud mouth liberal in just the right place.

Your letter regarding my humble criticism was an exquisite flame...truly worthy of someone capable of obsession (as you undoubtedly are.) But my main criticism still stands...your letters are way too long and I doubt if you talk (to your psychiatrist...and I really hope you have one) with the same phony sophistry that you exhibit in your writing style. I got bored reading your expressions of hate even when they were directed at me... I bet you really get steamed when you (apparently) listen to Rush Limbaugh every day--as you must since you are apparently such an expert on what phraseology and "authoritarian grammar" he uses. Your point that Limbaugh too, has the capacity to go on like a Castro speech is right on...Now, why don't you see the same ironic comparison with your remarkably pathological rav...er, writings?

Anyway...you really tore me up Ben. Just relax...Take it easy...You win...Everything will be all right...Ben.

Bob Wilson

Dear Jonathan,

In his critique of my essay "Do You Believe In Magic?" Bob Wilson expresses near felicitous agreement with some of the core issues and assertions I make. I am left wondering, however, if he felt compelled to uncover some bedrock of disagreement between us, despite the specific areas of agreement he noted. He wrote:

"Ben makes a good case against 'God's morality' when he discusses the history of religious based morality standards as being a social phenomenon based on pressure to conform imposed by people who claim they are divinely inspired. He gets confused however, when he ascribes the term 'dogmatic morality' only to the religious kind. Ben doesn't seem to think that the secular kind he likes better is similarly 'dogmatic.' It is."

Having invented this non-existing point of contention (read on), he invokes the example of John Rocker, a professional athelete who publicly expressed negative opinions concerning minorities and others who Bob refers to as "people in certain 'sacred' classes, which secular moralists have pronounced 'off-limits' to opinions that don't conform to the secular code of morality." By secular moralists, Bob contextually seems to mean "liberals." Before turning this into a love fest by agreeing with the spirit of what Bob objects to (the shunning and ostracism of people for their opinions), I'm sure that Bob's sense of fairness to John Rocker and his publicly pulpited private views will be extended to me by acknowledging that the following paragraph actually appeared in the original text of my essay, as published in The Ethical Spectacle:

"The irrelevance of human suffering, and the super-relevance of a particular mind-set of dogmatic conviction is what the secular moralist finds objectionable. There are, to be sure, dogmatic forms of secular morality, and these are not far removed from the scriptural brand of morality that posits an infallible authority as arbiter of the categorization of good and bad living. So it is incumbent on those who would propose a more honest, non-authoritarian morality to offer a practical and fair system that indeed does change and improve or at least empathically adjust to the human condition, rather than an immutable codification of acceptable and forbidden actions. By design, a secular and 'situational' system of ethics and morality must come into conflict with the morality of unreason that is at the heart of dogmatics in any form."

Bob acknowledges the possibility that even religious moralists might find Rocker's comments objectionable, but he makes a distinction between religious and secular moralizers by suggesting that the religious folks just wouldn't take any notice while the secular brand ("liberals," we are to understand) fulminate and cry out for a (symbolic, I assume) lynching.

I agree that no person should be punished for opinions. I don't think liberals or secular humanists should be punished, ostracised, or calumnized for expressing theirs either, no matter how many bigots they offend.


Ben Price BenGPrice@aol.com


While buying a bottle of Champagne and some flowers on New Year's Eve at a nearby shining monument to capitalism, (Costco warehouse store) I was first irritated then amused by the one in four people clogging the check out lines with shopping baskets overflowing with survival rations of bottled water and canned food. They represented those, who like you, fell for what I think might have been one of the biggest totally fabricated marketing schemes in the past quarter century. Thank you for being among those who have made this holiday season such a succe$$ with your purchases in preparation for the dreaded Y2K chaos.

I wasn't too surprised to read that you had stockpiled provisions and bought a generator in anticipation of a Y2K disaster. I believe that generally two kinds of people are inclined to fall for such nonsense. Those who don't have a good grasp of how things really work, and those disposed to believe outrageous scenarios. Some people, (like you) of course, fall into both categories. (I mean that in a good way.)

Regarding your "rule book" wherein certain choices (during the conduct of total war) are forbidden even to save lives, you restate your belief that the United States should not have used nuclear weapons to bring about the end of the war with Japan. As with your disapproval of the "firebombing of civilians in German tourist cities" you advance the idea that warfare should be conducted in a sterile environment where only the "soldier ants" of the respective combatants suffer.

Of course, that is absurd. So-called innocents are going to suffer terribly in any all-out war. That's the only way we "soldier ants" have to make sure that the fuzzy headed liberals who typically start the wars in the first place, get their fill. Germany rolled across international boundaries with tanks and aircraft, (because the fuzzy headed liberals allowed them to rebuild their arsenals) devastating all who were in the way until there was a total surrender of the government of the state it was violating. It is totally irrational to think that we and our allies should have used a "rule book" that involved avoiding destruction to the "innocent citizens" residing in German "tourist" cities. The theory that ended in our victory involved pursuing a policy of inflicting enough damage overall to make the German government surrender. The "innocents" who maintain the economy and production, and who wave the flags and send their young sons to be "soldier ants" are the ones that have to be affected, else warfare will never cease unless side using the "rule book" has been totally defeated. Your ideas would have seemed pretty peculiar to the British "innocents" who sat nightly in their candle lit basements waiting for V-2 rockets to rain down indiscriminately.

Should Truman have withheld the imployment of the two atomic bombs that brought about the end of the Pacific war in three days, he likely would have been (rightly) executed as a traitor. The Japanese were totally committed to a fight to the death of their last combatant. Seven thousand U.S. boys died taking Iwo Jima...(many thousands were horribly injured) a worthless piece of lava in the Pacific. How many would have been killed by an attack and ground struggle on the Japanese mainland is (thankfully) only speculation, but the number would have undoubtedly exceeded the number of "innocent" citizens killed by "the bombs." You are simply hung up on the fact that "nuclear" weapons were used, and that (in your Y2K mind) makes it unfair.

This all ties in with what I said were the types of people who were freaked into buying provisions for Y2K. I am somewhat perplexed though as to why someone with such a diminished sense of survival as to be willing to sacrifice themselves in a total war because of this "rule book" would bother with stocking provisions for Y2K. I guess that it shows that no matter how detached from reality some liberals seem to wander in their expressions, they have survival instincts after all. They just need to connect them somehow with the real world. Regarding that ability, you are still a work in progress.

I do however send you sincere good wishes for health and happiness in the coming year. While I mostly disagree, I enjoy your opinions, and respect your tenacity for pursuing them. Repeating something you said about me recently, "I am (just) glad you don't run things."

Bob Wilson

An Auschwitz Alphabet
I'm 19 years old and I live in Italy. Mussolini's Italy was directly responsable, with Hitler's Germany of the Cocentration Camps, and I feel bad, when I think about it.

I think that it was one of the most terrible things ever happend in the World.

People MUST keep on informing the new generations about what fascism and nazism have done fifty-five years ago. Nobody should forget!!

I visited many nazi lagers and I heard the silence full of desperation that still lies in those places. Please, keep on doing what you are doing here.

Sincerely, Tosti Duccio (Florence, Italy)

Dear Jonathan:

You wanted to know what we think of the Auschwitz Alphabet.

I think you have an incredible heart and a well-trained brain to give it focus and direction. I think the Alphabet is moving and powerful and you have done a service by providing it.

Six years ago, I renounced orders as an Episcopal priest after sixteen 'successful' years in parish ministry. I was being interviewed for the 'top jobs' of bishop or rector of the larger churches but the cognitive dissonance that had gown and grown for the past several years finally ripened into the peace that passes all understanding. I woke up one morning free and clear and told my wife, "I am resigning, leaving orders, and becoming not a Jew as I have always been but only a Jew." And so I did.

This does a complex provess resolve itself into a single laser-like point of light.

My father was Christian and my mother a Jew. I was raised a (tepid, almosty unitarian) reformed Jew in the fifties. I had not one single role model in my extended family of a male who was also a Jew and who also had a viable spirituality. When I went through profound life-changing experiences in my late twenties living in England, the Anglican church in which I had been thoroughly socialized through my undergraduate and graduate studies in literature was the right place to turn. But through all the years as a Priest, my consicousness of myself as a Jew burned brightly and finally consumed my adopted identity the way a candle flame might burn away a thick paper lantern-like shell that had been placed around it as a shield and protection.

For six years I have made a living as a professional speaker and writer. You publish my column, "Islands in the Clickstream," regularly in the Ethical Spectacle, which is how I suddenly wandered into the Alphabet. I am in a process of continuing to learn how to articulate what it means to me to be a Jew and only a Jew after a life in many cultures (I was a priest in Utah, on Maui, and in Wisconsin)(and lived in Madrid as well as London after growing up in Chicago) had revealed the indissoluble core of my identity and being to be that of a Jew and only a Jew.

Of course the holocaust and Israel are for me as for all Jews today two poles between which our ambivalent oscillation defines the force field of our identity as Jews. Your exhibit magnifies that movement. Thank you for doing it and please keep me informed of other relevant tangents to that exhibit if they are public and internettable.

Many thanks.

Richard Thieme rthieme@thiemeworks.com

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Thank you for creating such an interesting and informative web site. "The Auschwitz Alphabet." It helped me quite a bit on a research paper I had to do for my Advanced Comp. class. Not only was it well written, but it was interesting too.

Thanks again,

Lindsey Nolechek

Dear Jonathan-

My name is Kristen Armandt and several other high school students and I are working on creating a website about WWII. I stumbeled along your website and thought that it was really informative. We were wondering if you would consider letting us post our sections on 'Doctors' in our website, wih of course credit to you and your website.

Thanks for any consideration that you give our request.


Dear Jonathan,

Hi. How are you? I came across your web page as I was surfing the Internet for sites that deal with the Holocaust. I do this often because I feel there is so much to learn. I'm not ignorant to the facts of the Holocausts. I have come across many survivors in my life, both interviewing them in a formal setting and listening to them in an emotional setting. I have been to Poland on a "tour." I visited all the camps in Poland and Chekoslavakia. I have seen the ghettos and towns that now serve as a reminder of the enormous population that once was. I took classes in college with a world known scholar and survivor Prof. Yaffa Eliach. I've read Primo Levi and Eli Wiesel. One cannot judge a person until one is in their shoes. Primo Levi may attribute his survival to luck but the more you know about life in Auschwitz the more you understand that luck had nothing to do with it. (Perhaps Levi realized his mistake which contributed to his possible suicide.) Levi did not recognize that above the smoke streaming out of the chimneys was a God in Heaven. God created all people, meaning he created the Nazis as well. He gave every human the right to choose. The Nazi's chose to kill the Jews, gypsies and others. For five years God was crying as he watched his chosen nation being massacred. God existed all the time. Like all good parents, God too must punish his children sometimes. You write that Hannah Arendt wrote in Eichmann in Jerusalem that Eichmann himself could not even rescue a favorite Jew from Auschwitz. When Dr. Joseph Mengele, who was the sole person in charge of the selections on the Aushwitz platform, saw thirteen year old Livia on the line he was amazed by her golden blond hair and her sweet face. He told her that although she was young and should be sent to the gas chambers she should lie and say she was sixteen and that she could go with the living. He even allowed her mother to go with her. Together, Livia and her mother survived the war. You can read Dr. Livia Bitton Jackson's book "Eli" for a religious perspective on the Holocaust.

It is obvious that you too have studied the Holocaust and that you have much knowledge on the subject. I was just hoping however, that I could clarify some of your doubts and uncertainties. As Jews we must stand united and strong for our fellow people who survived the atrocities that we cannot understand and for those who unfortunately perished at the hands of mere people.

Amanda BaluNell@aol.com

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I must comment to you that the film "Schindler's List" was based on the book by the same name, written by Australian author Thomas Kennelly. Your argument wrongly suggests that Spielberg came up with the shoreline of a German Gentile rescuing Jews. It is my sense that Spielberg decided to film this story because it was so rare for Gentiles (let alone members of the Nazi Party) to have rescued Jewish people during WW2.

April M. Love amlove@uci.edu

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I am writing to thank you for writing the Auschwitz Alphabet. Ever since I was little I have been interested in the Holocaust, and read all of the books that I could get on the subject. Now I am writing my term paper on Auschwitz, and your article has helped me a lot. Of all of the sites that I have been to looking for information, your site was undeniably the best. I can tell that you spent a lot of time writting it and I appreciate it.

Thanks again, A. Rice

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I came across your web site while surfing for an easy-print layout of the requiem mass. I found it interesting and generally well done, although I'm not sure if I were a publisher I would agree that a document that is 80% the work of others would meet fair use requirements. But I'm certainly not an expert on this.

One thing I would urge you to do, though, is find a way to make your borrowings clearer throughout your document. I assume, for example, that "Borowski" followed by a page number refers to This Way to the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen, but since there is no explicit link to a bibliographic citation I can only surmise that this is true. The inexperienced or uneducated reader won't have a clue to whom you are referring and may not have the patience to work all the way to the "sources: books" link that appears at the very bottom of your outline and is not, so far as I can tell, linked to individual pages or authors.

The easiest way to connect sources to the individual letter entries would be to insert a "bibiliography" link at the end of each page. Or you could make html tags of the author's names in your short citations so that when the reader clicked on Borowski it would take her to the citation of the text cited. This latter is more work, but creates a less ambiguous link to the citation.

Of course, while writing this I realized that it is possible that you have permission to use these excerpts on the Web, and you simply have not posted those credits prominently. But I think the citation issue--an issue of scholarship--is one that is very important.

Again, let me say that the cite is very well done in other respects.

Susan Allan sallan@midway.uchicago.edu

Jonathan Wallace replies: Your suggestions about citations are well-taken. As far as fair use is concerned, the work does not quote more than a very tiny percentage of the content of any individual copyrighted work, though in the whole it is a compilation of such quotes.

Hello Jonathan,

This is a very interesting page you created My name is Uwe Plaeschke,

I was born 1961 and I live in Frankfurt Germany.

I want to comment the situation in NAZI Germany.

As I hear from my Grandparents, the normal man on the street was aware that the jewish population was removed from the cities. Also in secret words was been told that they are sent to a "Konzentrationslager". But the biggest point to speak for the nation at this time was that the people doesn't know the "Endloesung" during the NAZI period.

They been told that a Konzentrationslager" is only a place to collect the Jewish population and they have to work at these places (Which is by the way also unacceptable from the present point of view)

I was not really believing this until last week.

I've seen a reportage in our Television with a Jewish Man who has survived Auschwitz.

He mentioned that as he was delivered to Auschwitz End of 1943, also the Jewish people where not aware what Auschwitz means. Otherwise the NAZI would not be able to deliver the People to Auschwitz whithout much more resistance.

The second point is that Germans are normally very structured and everybody was seeing himself only as a small piece of the big machine. In this moral you have to function without asking what you are doing here!

This bureaucratic thinking was also enabling the Holocaust.

Today I cannot agree to the things happened during this time (And sometimes I've been hitten for the history) But I also cannot tell you how I would have handled if I had to life in this time.

It as you can imaging its mostly easier to swim with the river. Best regards and lets hope that these things never happens

Uwe Plaeschke uplaeschke@pgexch.com


Visited your Holocaust website this evening. I happened upon it by chance in a totally unrelated search.

I didn't have time to read the entire site, so forgive me if I've missed something.

First, I'd like to point out you are right about many things. There are plenty of ignorant people out there who don't understand what the holocaust was or don't believe it ever happened. There are plenty of evil people out there who hate others because of their heritage. And as for those who try to blame Jewish people for killing Jesus, maybe they forget that Jesus was a Jewish rabbi. It's just ignorance on their part. But what I'd like to mention is that I think your website does more to annoy and inflame others than it does to help.

To be 100% honest, I'm a white Christian American. I don't hate you. I don't even dislike you. I'm indifferent because I don't know you. But you've made the same mistake that many others make...you've thrown yourself into a class which sets you apart from others. Just like I hate the terms "African-American", "Asian-American", etc, I hate it when someone classifies themself as anything other than an American. You aren't from Israel or Europe. You are an American. You may be Jewish, and making an issue of it, can only result in angering others. I make an effort not to call attention to differences in myself. I'm not a "German-American", I'm an American, nothing else. I'm also not inclined to create websites proclaiming my Christianity. No one else wants that shoved at them. It could only serve to call attention to differences and anger them.

Please understand, people are stupid for the most part. They see different things as threatening and in turn, they see those who call attention to their differences as threatening.

Thank God that neither you nor your immediate family were involved with the holocaust. The reason is because you are all Americans, not Europeans. You live in the greatest nation on earth,not Nazi Germany or the occupied Europe. You have as much in common with those senselessly murdered in Nazi death camps as I, the great-great grandson of German immigrants, does with those people who did the killing.

We're both Americans and nothing else. Please don't forget that we are all on the same team here.

Take care.

Ryan Cornell bargaindealer@yahoo.com

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I am a 7th grade Social Studies teacher at Akimel A-al Middle School in Phoenix, Arizona. Over the past week I have been looking for material on the Holocaust to teach to my classes. I finally found your extremely powerful website and got pulled into it for hours. As hard as it is to learn about the horror of the Holocaust, I want to thank you for opening up our world.

Your idea about putting your feet into the shoes of an inmate is an excellent idea. I think that would make it a more powerful experience for many people who think of the Holocaust as a "movie" or "book" (those who are disbelievers). Your site certainly showed me the importance of teaching about the Holocaust.

I wound up making an interesting lesson from your material. Do you have any other sites that could be beneficial to me or my students the way that "Auschwitz Alphabet" did? If I can help you in some way, just let me know.

Brian Sears BSEARS@email.kyrene.k12.az.us

Thoughts and Suggestions
Dear Mr. Wallace:

As long as there are people that exist who believe that the oligarchic remains of this corparte driven society is vitally flawed and requires what some would consider unacceptable. There is still hope one would consider that we can repair the damage to society and to the planet.

Keep up the Good Work and in fear of a cliche 'Keep fighting the Good Fight'

Marc Robert Adams ADAMSM@angloeuropean.essex.sch.uk


I just found your web page. What a great resource you are.

I live in Yuma, Arizona and for some time now the NAACP and other concerned citizens have been trying to convince the planning and zoning committee to change the name of one of our streets (3rd Street) to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parkway. We have been getting the run-around.

I thought maybe you guys would be able to tell us how many streets have been named in honor of MLK throughout the states and abroad. It seems that no matter which city I visit there is a street named after him.

If you could find the answer or give me a clue where I could search, I would appreciate it.


Deb Drysdale Elias luz@primenet.com

Dear Mr. Wallace:

We are writing in the hopes that you will consider doing a piece on our site; http://www.ccadp.org ( all the news reports can be found at http://members.tripod.com/ccadp/newsccadp.htm - ) which has been featured recently in the Miami Herald, Canada's National Post, the Buffalo Times, KTXL Fox News in Sacramento, Newschannel50 in Santa Rosa, ABC news in Atlanta Georgia, Network Indiana Radio, El Mundo newspaper in Madrid, Veja - Brazils weekly newsmagazine, Argentinian FM radio, Florida's Steve Kane radio and TV show, The Seattle Times, Knight Ridder news service, Toronto Star, Denvers Rocky Mountain News, Birmingham News, many more.

We are the directors of the Canadian Coalition Against the Death Penalty and we currently maintain personal webpages for almost 200 death row prisoners across the United States, as well as over 500 death row prisoner penpal requests - with more being added in a daily basis. We post death row prisoner art, writings, essays, case information, legal documents, photos and more.

The pages and requests are provided free of charge and this is a not for profit site.

It is our intention to provide a forum to help educate on the death penalty - and where death row inmates can have a window of outreach to the world.

The page has the wrongly convicted, juveniles, people denied their rights under international law, reports of prisoner abuses, a student resource centre where university and upper level high school students can contact prisoners with research questions either directly or through us, urgent action alerts, photos of the recent torture by electric chair of a prisoner in Florida, a collection of over 500 links including real audio and video, much more.

Historically, when prisons, mental hospitals and things of that nature have been opened up to public scrutiny, and when the public truly becomes aware of what goes on, their opinion on this treatment of fellow human being changes.

We hope to be a conduit to this sort of change by shining international light on the dark corners of America's justice system - Death row.

Please visit our pages at http://www.ccadp.org

We are available to be interviewed either by email at ccadp@home.com or by telephone at 416 686 1630 or 416 693 9112. We would be more than happy to discuss this initiative and the reactions to it, both internationally and in the US should you have an interest in the coverage of this story.

Thank you so much for your time - and please do take a moment to drop by the webpage.

Tracy Lamourie and Dave Parkinson ccadp@home.com
Directors, Canadian Coalition Against the Death Penalty

Dear Sir:

Is there such as bill of wright in America ? if there is one is it only for certain interusted group and any judge who wants to destoy our intelectuals such as "honorable Bill Gate man of our generation" and others to make happy by supporting those evil and jalus peple who do not want to see the prgress of others ? it is shame and sad to see an act of barbarian in Great America where is Democratie?

I am employed person able to support my family but I do not want to distroy my rich neihbour because of his wealth which he earned it throuh his hard work. So why the American Judge distroy the great art f work of our generation the Microsft with un founded reason any law which is not existing any where to stop or distroy any one from self progress .let me say this Microsoft campany pay American Government a huge tax not ilegal to make its windows to make it unike of its kind and the Microsot never force any boy in this planet to buy its Softwares or Services even me with my anual income of 20,000$ I love to buy new softwares & services and I love too much windows 95, 98 combined with internet explorer. Those campanies and individual who goes after Microsoft are just jelus and unable to comput with Microsoft and they complain to Justice Department without any base for their acusations, our century is time of computition and civilization no one has a wright to kill any one by formig a gang group, the groupe to be punished for buling the individuals, gouping as gag to kill someone is a geat crime, these acusers of Microsoft they miss lead the justice Department by forcing Microsoft to split there is no such kind of law in the world or in the universe to breakeup a family unit. in my opinion Microsoft to be left alone to continue its progress because these world is the compution world. "Why the justice Department fail to stop IMF (World Bank) when forcing the third World Countris to devaluate their currency special whwere the poorest Nations payed their lives their porest bank to compute with industralised countries the World knaw that the poorest counties import incrised by 500%-800% and their export reduced by the same % as iport so where is the real Law ? so invente new law to punish IMF till then LEAVE! LEAVE! LEAVE ALONE our Microsoft. Justiice Department is there to make juctice not to take sides thnk you

"I say peace and Justice for Honorable BILL GATE the great intelet man of our century in our glbe"

T. Abraham tabraham@mondenet.com

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I'm a Washington state lawyer facing discipline for having reported a corrupt judge. The gory details are at my novice website: http://members.aa.net/~schafer/ a/k/a http://bigfoot.com/~d_schafer/ . I'm told that The National Law Journal is publishing a cover story on the case of me and the corrupt judge in its 1/10/00 issue, which should be posted about 1/3/00 at http:/www.nlj.com/ .

I'm a 50-year-old, 21-year seasoned lawyer telling the Washington State Supreme Court and everybody else that the judge and lawyer disciplinary systems in my state are ineffective if not corrupt. I may not get an "honorable" discharge this time around, but whatever sanction befalls me I will wear as a badge of honor, for I strongly believe that what I've done and am doing is right.

I look forward to regularly visiting your website. I invite you to peruse mine.


Doug Schafer, Whistling Lawyer in Tacoma, Washington