June 2011

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Letters to the Ethical Spectacle

Spectacle Letters Column Guidelines. Send your comments to me at jw@bway.net. 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. 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:

Regarding your Craigslist article, [the fact no pay was offered] is probably the only reason why that particular ad was flagged. I HATE the help forums, I absolutely hate them and their smartass remarks. I never go there asking for help. After the first couple of "treatments" I was "cured".

But as a working film and video professional, the NO PAY ads are a pet peeve. Sorry, but people spend the best years of their lives honing their craft, buying expensive equipment, wearing out shoes, burning gasoline, time away from their families and friends, foregoing other paid work, only to wind up (more often than not) being exploited by someone who usually wants something for nothing.

Maybe that's not you really. Maybe you're the one golden person who just genuinely needs a leg up and a favor and who will return the favor. But there aren't a lot of you out there. 99% of them are just folks who exploit free labor...so that is probably why your ad was flagged. Folks in the business just tend to take a dim view of the NO PAY thing. Even if you only offer forty or fifty bucks, it's better than "no pay".

Makes it tough to get a shoestring production done, I realize that, but the jerks spoiled it for the few out there who genuinely need it.

I won't bore you with the horror stories. I figure you have a fairly decent imagination.


There is a large off off Broadway community in NYC, consisting of thousands of actors, playwrights, designers and stage managers, who rarely get paid for their work but continue to contribute for years on end because of a love of theater, for experience, to build their resumes and in the hope of getting noticed. Anonymous trolls on Craigslist have made it impossible for members of this community to find each other there, and so we use other resources instead.

Dear Mr. Wallace:

This letter is in response to the articles covering the issue of bullying in schools across the United States.

I can recall various times in my life when I experienced bullying first hand. It never really bothered me until I began to worry about the next episode. It was the anxiety formed by the anticipation of it that created the real fear. In retrospect I think some of it was nothing more than someone trying to get my attention perhaps to form a friendship. But there were times when I remember going to school and feeling absolutely terrified of what was about to befall me that day. It was in the eighth grade when the anxiety began to consume me to the point of not being able to eat, sleep or enjoy everyday things. That was the year a new federal program initiative rolled out; it was called the "focus group". The purpose was to re-enter juvenile malcontents into the general population of students. Needless to say they wreaked havoc on the students by bullying and starting fights with them. They were also instrumental in disrupting class. Unfortunately for me my locker was assigned next to one of them who resembled {in looks, words and actions} none other than Charles Manson himself. The dude was just plumb crazy {or at least emotionally disturbed}. He also sat in front of me during most classes so I spent more time worrying about what he was going to do to me than trying to learn the subject matter. We scuffled once during gym class but when the teacher broke us up he blamed me for the incident. There were other students as well who began to pick on me when they recognized my vulnerability.

Finally, after having watched {and grown tired of} my whimpering and weeping my Father decided it was time to teach me how to defend myself. Every night after school we would go down to the basement and practice three boxing moves; the left jab, left hook and right cross. I was not allowed by my Father to use these techniques until he was convinced that once a fight started it would end quickly {hopefully with me as the victor}. Until then he trained me to develop a certain mental toughness so as to ignore those who were just kidding around compared to those who had malicious intent. I engaged in eight fights during the second semester, was suspended for three days and broke one knuckle. Nobody ever bullied me again. Fortunately for my chief antagonist he was expelled so we never did have that "super fight". I would have leveled him. My troubles continued in high school though when the second "focus group" initiative allowed for a eighteen year old drug dealer to be admitted into the freshman class. He too did everything he could to intimidate me but this time I was ready. Unbeknownst to me my Father called the school principal before the start of class one day and told him "I have directed my son to seek out and annihilate this worthless slime ball before he has the chance to do the same to him." Evidently the dude was causing problems in other places as well and was expelled before we could have fought. I would have leveled him too.

Bullying is one of the most demeaning things one person can do to another. It is as though the perpetrator has so much disdain for another human being they just have to act out on them in one form or another. Where does this inner hate come from? What is accomplished by disrupting someone else's life {sometimes permanently}? Perhaps one solution is the "reality show" called "Bully Beatdown" whereby a bully is paid $10,000 cash if they can defeat the victims proxy in what appears to be a ultimate fighting championship type venue. As expected the bully talks tough until they realize what they got themselves into. The proxy usually makes quick work of them and the money is then awarded to the victim followed by an apology from the bully. This would make for a great fund raiser for schools {given all the budget cuts} and perhaps restore order to a place that is supposed to be reserved for learning. Sometimes some of the greatest lessons in life can only be learned the hard way. To the victims out there across the country; I got your back. To the bullies get out of our face or someday we will level you too.

Joe Bialek

Dear Mr. Wallace:

"How to become a millionaire?"...the answer is very simple....Become a Politician! You can see it taking place right before your eyes ." I will collect a billion dollars to run for office." If he should not win...where does the money go???