Letters to The Ethical Spectacle

My wife had a big birthday over the weekend, ending in a five, and some friends came to visit. We walked down to the beach just after sunset, with a bottle of champagne and some cassis, and we mixed kirs and drank them together as the stars and the Milky Way came out, bright as anything--vivid as "chicken pox", one inebriated guest said. We counted five shooting stars together and as we walked off the beach I realized that, despite terrorism and war, financial stress, personal challenges and reverses, and worst of all, a health cloud on our horizon, for a moment we were transcendently happy.

I can be reached as always at jw@bway.net.


Suicide and Statehood
Dear Mr. Wallace:

Your "Suicide and Statehood" is the most intelligent analysis I have read yet about the Palestinian conflict.

Lee Drury De Cesare tdecesar@tampabay.rr.com

Mr. Wallace,

I would like to commend you on attempting to be fair in your article "Suicide and Statehood." However, one issue continues to be lacking in the majority of articles on the Middle East - the right to return. Although, you did attempt to cover the subject in a few sentences, I think you (and many others) truly discount the sacred bond Palestinians feel to their right to return home. As a Palestinian whose parents were both born in what is now referred to as Israel proper (1948) and who were both evicted by force, it pains me that in the 21st century I am banned from returning to live as a rightful citizen in my ancestral homeland. My family are not from the West Bank or Gaza, they are from Haifa, Nazareth and Safad. Our roots are deep and our bond strong. Why exactly do I or my cousins (many who live in camps) have to renounce our homes and lands to make room for Russian Jews (and Christians), many who only seek to use Israel as an economic tool. What law gives a person whose link to the land is religious at best with no evidence that it was ever their homeland more rights to my home than I do? This isn't only about statehood or the perception of statehood, it is about property, family bonds, life and dignity. The greatest con the Zionist propaganda mills created was this notion that Palestinians never existed. It would be akin to stating that Parisians never existed because Paris itself was never labeled a "State." It is utter hogwash. Palestinians have always differed from Egyptians or Saudis. They are a different mixture of the many tribes who lived in historical Palestine. Their Arabic dialect is different, their dress is different and even their cuisine does not reflect the food of Desert Arabs. My Mother's blue eyes and light hair are not characteristic of the Arabian peninsula. The Palestinian people have always been a singular entity and without the establishment of the State of Israel, today their would have been a State of Palestine on all of historical Palestine. But even if we agree with the Zionists that there never was a State called Palestine - how exactly does this nullify the native peoples rights to their homes and lands? How exactly can someone justify the theft of another's land and then have the gual to be dissatisfied when they refuse to accept the legitimacy of Israel? I am a realist and today as a realist we must accept the fact that Israel exists. That said, there is no reason that I should not be able to return to Israel and recover my Father's lands and live in my own homeland as an equal citizen. Until the Israelis understand that no matter how many Eastern Europeans they bring in, we will not forget our homes and we will never be satisfied with anything less than our ability to return and live in peace as equal and responsible citizens. The land of Palestine was not, is not and never was an exclusively "Jewish" State. No matter how hard one tires, you cannot turn a Lion into a Tiger.


Yazen Alsafadi yazen@aol.com

Everything else
Hi Jonathan --

John O'Driscoll of Shanghai's song about a twisted human sister, a young girl bedecked in suicide Semtex, contains a verse "we're not gonna take it" attributed to AC/DC. Alas, we native Long Islanders recognize the verse as actually from a Twisted Sister song of the same name.

Just need to shortcircuit it from being Shanghai'd on behalf of AC/DC.

Matthew Hogan matthewhnj@aol.com

Now, OK. So you're telling me you guys are gonna bash Interview With The Vampire when you haven't even read the book? O.O Is that legal? Give me a break. So I suppose the fact that it is a work of total fiction makes no never mind, right? Schindler's List is an entirely different film, meant to portray and entirely different set of circumstances, and I personally think it's sick and kind of low down dirty to use that in comparison. There. I've flamed you. Publish it and pick it apart and lead sorry little lives with no magic. Thanks.

Axl Blackheart axllee08@yahoo.com

Dear Mr. Wallace:

In an essay entitled The Future, you wrote:

Heinlein also is the perpetrator of one of the most distressing of apocalypse stories, Panic in Year Zero, later filmed with Ray Milland. In the opening moments of a nuclear attack, a solid middle class citizen immediately abandons his wife and son, whom he believes do not have the right stuff for survival, and goes off to become a Nietzschean superman with his daughter. If I remember correctly, there is even an implication of incest-- anything to survive and to propagate.

Found it, and it wasn't by Heinlein.

The story was "Lot" by Ward Moore. Copyright 1953.

I read it in the anthology "My Favorite Science Fiction Story" Edited by Martin H. Greenberg (c) 1999 by Techno Books DAW Books

Chuck Stewart zapkitty@hotmail.com

Yes, I was completely wrong on this one.

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I just read the below quoted post in the July letters column:

As a U.S Marine Major, the suggestion to close gun shows gives me a desire to put a 50 cal desert eagle to the person who suggested it chest and exploding them. That is the most idiotic thing i heard in my whole entire life. Can't blame guns for the actions of stupid wihite boys. Might as well blame knifes since they are very common in crimes. Hey, lets bann knifes, people dont need them, they can use their teeth.HbkGS316@aol.comThe most ignorant and violent mail I get is from the Second Amendment types like this marine. This is the third or fourth email I've gotten over the years suggesting I should be killed (or threatening to do it) for expressing my views on guns.

Two quick points come to mind from this. First, a Marine is in the killing people and breaking things business. I'd hardly expect a pacifist comment from him. Second, I noticed that "HbkGS316" didn't go out of his way to send a copy of a well thought out response received in his e-mail that went against his views and I'm quite certain that there had to be at least one if not many.

I spend a great deal of time with an AOL discussion board in debate about the Second Amendment. Interestingly enough I've found there are a number of commonalties behind anti gun agenda types. One such commonality is most of them tend to be Socialist who at first attempt to hide that fact until they are confronted with their own words. They seem to have a disdain for our Constitutional Republic and have not a clue of what constitutes a Right nor can they contrast a right with a privilege.

The other commonality is many of them will ultimately consider the use of armed force to get their will as a righteous stand point. It's amazing that none of them can ask themselves just who is the aggressor. The people who protect their guns or those who would attempt to take them away? Food for thought.

John Campbell PatriotsHeart07@aol.com

PS. Please, no death threats. I don't need to be bored to death.

Dear Mr. Wallace:

While doing some Internet research I came across an article you had written, Teaching Kids HTML. I found it very interesting and helpful, as a teacher. I am going to help run a computer camp this summer at the elementary/middle school I work at, and I was thinking about teaching a little HTML to the older kids (they are very curious about it). I wanted to ask you a question: would it be appropriate to use a free web host so each of the kids can make their own webpage? With parental permission, I was thinking of using Yahoo/Geocities free web space, because they have an "Advanced" option which lets you type your own HTML commands. I would of course restrict personal information from being published, as well as any e-mail/contact info/full names etc.. If not, how else could the kids actually *see* the fruits of their labor?

If you've got any time to answer this, I'd appreciate it. Either way, thanks for a very informative article!

Ms. Railand mrailan@gmu.edu

Hello, Jonathan.

My name is Tara. I'm nearly fourteen years old, and I live in Wisconsin. I've been reading your webpage, and I've found many errors in your Auschwitz Alphabet. First of all, you tell me there is no G-d. I would like to begin with telling you a little story I heard:

There was a little girl in first grade who had a teacher who was an athiest, and had begun to incorporate her beliefs with the children's lessons.

"Do you see that tree outside, class?" asked the teacher.

"Yes," they replied.

"Do you see the sky out there, class?"


"Now Tommy," the teacher focused on a little boy, "I want you to go outside and look up at the sky. Observe things very closely." The little boy walked out the door and came back in after a few minutes. "What did you see?" the teacher questioned. "Clouds." Tommy said.

"So you didn't see a G-d up there?"


"That is exactly what I mean. If you cannot see it, it does not exist. In conclusion, there is no G-d."

One little girl looked up at the teacher in utter confusion, but then smiled and raised her hand. "Mrs. Whitcomb? May I ask Tommy a few questions too?" she asked her teacher.

"I suppose," the teacher replied.

"Tommy," she began, "do you see that tree?"

"Yes," the little boy squirmed with impatience.

"Do you see the sky?"


"Do you see our teacher's brain?" the little girl asked.


"Well then, according to what we learned today, she doesn't have one!"

I hope that this will change your mind about what you think of G-d, although everyone is free to have his own opinions.

Just to give you a little idea, I think that G-d is not a thing, He is a spirit inside us all, who stays and guides us throughout all hardships. He does not predict the future, nor does He plan it. Each person is his own being, and must choose for himself; he cannot wait for G-d to choose for him. The Holocaust was not a mistake of G-d's; it was a mistake of mankind's, and we mustn't point all fingers at the G-d who has helped us find right from wrong in the cruel world of humanity.

Your new friend,


P.S. Please write me back so that I know you got my message: It is still a mizvot that I tried to make you believe in G-d... I just want you to know that I care about what you believe. Even if you propose an argument when you write back, I don't care, as long as you write back. I just want to know that my effort wasn't all for nothing. Thanks.