Letters to The Ethical Spectacle

Last October, I took a playwriting seminar, and conceived an intense passion for the theater. I just had my first short play performed, and I have another one coming up at an Off Off Broadway theatre in July.

It is an amazing experience to hear your words spoken by actors. Good ones will give your lines a reading you did not anticipate, but that has its own surprising truth. During the rehearsal process, you discover that you wrote lines which are didactic and unnecessary ahd give the audience information it does not need, or which mask the basic emotional impact of the situation. Across the process of all rehearsals, your play is refined, until it achieves a purity of purpose you could hardly imagine at the start. This collaborative process does not exist in any other form of writing; I never rewrote so much, or ever thought I needed to.

A novel may mask a variety of sins, false starts, didactic interludes, misconnects, emotional dishonesty. A play cannot, because you must win the audience anew every minute; plays force you to become spare, stunning, honest, and immediate if you can.

Jonathan Wallace jw@bway.net

Spectacle Letters Column Guidelines. If you write to me about something you read in the Spectacle, I will assume the letter is for publication. If it is not, please tell me, and I will respect that. If you want the letter published, but without your name attached, I will do so. I will not include your email address unless you ask me to. This is in response to many of you who have expressed concern that spammers are finding your email address here. Flames are an exception. They will be published in full, with name and email address. I have actually had people follow up on a published flame by complaining that they thought they were insulting my ancestry privately. Nope, sorry.

Dear Mr. Wallace:

re: Our Broken Health Insurance System:

It's funny how you accuse libertarians of starting from a false premise so that they can come up with the desired conclusion when you did the exact same thing. Your entire article based on an unproven assertion about "how the system broke" which, unsurprisingly, blames the free market. Did you do any research *at all* on the subject or did you just arbitrarily decide what caused the problem so that you could get the conclusion you want?

SEcondly, you state that realist libertarians believe that in a free market some people "will die because unable to receive adequate medical care." Do you think that no one dies here in Canada due to a lack of medical care? Do you think the Canadian government has infinite resources? The fact is, people die in Canada all the time because treatements available in the US simply do not exist here.

The question is not whether a free market system will magically give everyone the best medical care possible. It is whether it would distribute that care better than a government-run program. That is a question you not addressed at all, except with assertions completely unsupported by facts. The only fact in your entire article is a reference to what some newspaper columnist wrote!

I publicly challenge you to cite data in support of you claims. I am willing to write a counter-point to your editorial and address any factual, verifiable claims you make.

Konrad Grygorczyk

Mr. Jonathan Wallace,

I read your article titled A Personal History of God . When I read it, I felt that it was not by chance that I tripped across your writings. My sense was that I was to send the URL to someone who I felt was better equipped than I to address your oughts about God, since I feel that I happened across your writings only because they were meant to be addressed. At the end of your article, you mentioned your youngest brother, and the one prayer that you have made since childhood. You concluded by saying that you do not know whether the being to whom you gave your word exists.

I am here today to tell you that the being to whom you gave your word does exist, and it is because of Him at I made it and am here today. I know in my heart that happenings viewed by most as tragedies are almost always actually blessings in disguise (albeit sometimes great disguise!).

You have many unanswered questions ... I pray that you find your answers, because God is real; He is a loving God, and I know that He wants you to know Him.

I read your health insurance article and agree with you that "medical services should be delivered to everyone, as a routine function of government."

Most Sincerely,
A. Médard


To add to the 3 laws of thermodynamics being the true arbitrer of things, also are the basic axioms of statistics (Sum of all disjoints elements is 1., etc...).

One phenomenon is strikingly interesting: That everything happens in bursts. Poisson's law of event probability describes always what a store cashier experiences (moments of utter boredom followed by unbrindled hecticity under hordes of shoppers). It also can relate to everyday occurances that are interpreted by our pack-favouring brains as signs of a higher power intervening.

911 was allowed by a burst of luck... The only elephant in Leningrad was also killed by the first german shell to fell on the city in 1941, and Yamamoto was killed by one of 3 test rounds fired by one of the planes destined to intercept him (probably between 4 and 10 miles away, a 30 mm round can do wonders at higher altitude!).

It represents a universe as a tapestry of an infinite amount of infinitely improbable events...

It turns out if a big enough improbable event occurs the average layman will look for an explanation where none is necessary.



Dear Mr. Wallace:

We will never know how many people died in those camps, we can only estmate the total and that is just a small figure of the ones that were kill before the camps.I quess we will never know for sure.we must not ever allow this to happen again,We as a free nation must learn to live togather and put our difference behine us.And keep praying for each other and keep our faith in god.

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Wow--I am a Catholic that grew up in a Jewish neighborhood in Chicago. I cant watch a Holocaust movie without crying. The Auschwitz A-Z is very moving--People will not forget --anytime I hear anti-jewish remarks -it disgusts me -and i let people know that-- I do believe the world is more tolerant of all people. I believe what Ann Frank wrote --that all people are good(varying degrees) Great work --check out the movie Hotel Rwanda--Take Care Sandy Daly