June 2010

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Letters to The Ethical Spectacle

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.

Wow Jonathan. Just read this article of yours on lying written at least 10 years ago. But I just saw it and want to say good work, man. I totally relate and appreciate how much thought you put in to the notion. It's not just broken hearts or dummies who shoulda known better. Some people really see what you do. I'm one of them. Not that I could write this like you did. Anyway... Thank you because I was getting scared that everybody lies but the stupid. Which maybe sometimes we have reasons. But the intentional mislead is what I mean. That 's a cheap way to win. I guess people do though. Nuf said.


Greetings Mr. Wallace,

I just read your article about the Craigslist flagging phenomenon. What a treat! Thank you so much.

I recently posted a casting call for non-union actors to participate in a small - no budget 5 part comedy series for the web. Of course I clicked Non Paying.

The ad was flagged twice.

I diligently re-read my wording looking for a lapse of integrity or some obscure reference I put in the character breakdowns that someone farfetchedly might take offense to.

I found none and reposted.

Got flagged again, and so went to the flagging forum with my plight. All I got were rude and derisive comments saying things like no pay = no stay.

And - learn to pay for what you want. etc.

When I explained that Actors work for free all the time - it's called theatre. there were no replies.

When I explained that it wasn't exactly for free - no exchange of energy is, that I offered copies of the films, food, a good time etc. No response.

Your statement of being trapped between two very contrasting community cultures is spot on.


I have successfully rented my house out for short terms using craigslist and have never encountered this before. Fascinated, I started googling around and found your well put and thoroughly engaging article.

I wanted to thank you for all the time and effort it took to write it.... and let you know that at least it counted for me. It's not pay... but I hope you receive this praise well, and that it makes you feel good.

I myself have come away from craigslist with a very bad taste in my mouth and on my heart.

With only days before my shoot and still no cast. I am in a bind. So... I should probably go and solve that.

Thanks again


Hi Jon,

I LOVE that shot from Godot on the Home Page. Your graphic sense is always excellent, but this photo is especially fantastic. I'm sure Beckett would love its starkness.

I also loved your essay on theatre. Yes, I appreciate it when you rant about repetitive idiocy because it helps my own blood pressure, but I appreciate even more your taking the time to celebrate the magic of theatre and the transforming mystery of great acting. Theatre is an art form that leaves me in awe when I'm privileged to witness something extraordinary like Mikhail Barishnikov turning himself into a cockroach climbing up a wall in Kafka's "Metamorphosis"...

Your choice of "Glass Menagerie" is excellent, but for different reasons than I've ever thought of which was fascinating. My candidate for greatest American play is "Death of a Salesman" because it strikes at the heart of the American Dream's failings, but my three favorite American plays are Salesman, Menagerie and "Long Day's Journey into Night". Structurally and sonically, I regard Menagerie as perfect. There aren't a lot of perfect things in life, but that play is definitely one of them.

As for dramaturgs, it seems to me that every area of life is plagued by saboteurs whose real aim is to hinder and destroy and, unfortunately, they're aided and abetted by an automatic tendency to assume the best place to aim creatively is for the mainstream. The reasoning is simple; the more people approve of what you do, the better it is which is not necessarily true if you've bled its energy and purpose in the process of getting there. Yes, ultimately, you've got to trust yourself.

Toni Seger