October 2012

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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.


Thanks so much for your superb Nov 2009 article re Craigslist.

Like you, I was taken by surprise by craigs forum trolls. I tried to post an urgent ad very important for my business, yet craigslist for no apparent reason refused to upload it, so I asked why on the forum, and instantly a half dozen trolls responded with a half dozen replies saying pretty much:

"Hey asshole what do you expect for free? You paid no money for this free ad therefore your ad wasn't important anyway, so wtf does it matter whether we delete it or flag it? Don't expect any customer service for a free ad, dumass! Grow up and get a life you dipsht!"

This fiasco cost me dearly in both time and labor, and lost revenue for me. Yet the trolls said my ad cannot be important because it was free.

My expectations of craigslist were far above the reality. I strongly agree with you, that craigslist is both an inferior unreliable product that suffers intolerably inferior customer service, which itself is intolerable considering Craig made $100 million from this very defective business model.

You really helped me today, and prevented a really loud violent public freakout.

My blood pressure and homicidal rage were almost out of control all day today, until, towards sunset, I took a deep breath and finally did a google search: "why craigslist forum trolls so abusive?"

You probably know several dozen other bloggers complain about these forum trolls. But your article was the most comprehensive and intelligent and best-written and a damning indictment of craig's whole business model.

By the time I finished your well-written and intelligent article, my blood pressure had returned to normal and my rage had subsided. Craig still cost me alot of time, labor and revenue today. But it is hugely therapeutic to know that I am not alone. Anyway I'll never use craigslist to buy or sell or solicit anything ever again.

Thanks for preventing my public temper tantrum today!



Let me call your attention to another friend who is doing some really good work to effect a "Peaceful Revolution" in our politics and government. Her name is Judy Frankel. She has set up a special website to empower people to get big money out of politics and take back what should be THEIR ["We the People"s] politics and government. See http://www.writeindependent.org/. The site ignores the major party candidates for President (who have already been bought and paid for), focuses attention on candidates for Congress who have taken the "honest candidate's" pledge [to work to get big money out of politics], and enables "crowdsourcing" of ideas on how we can save our precious democratic republic. Judy has produced a remarkable "infomercial" that should be broadcast nationally. I have a role in this [my time has been donated] as a political economist. It makes the case as never before as to why and how "We the People" need to step up to the plate so that our republic doesn't go the way of the Roman's -- to be a government of plutocrats and oligarchs. Judy needs your help. Broadcasting a national infomercial doesn't come cheap.

So please go to http://www.writeindependent.org/, check it out, then click on "Donate" to contribute whatever you can afford. Any contribution of $10 or more will be rewarded with access to the informercial video recording. With thanks you for your good citizenship and attention to this matter, I am...

Your friend for freedom and liberty,


Dear Mr. Wallace:

Referred to as the world's oldest "profession," prostitution is defined as the act or practice of selling oneself for sexual purposes. It is also defined as an unworthy use of a talent, quality, or the like, especially for personal gain. What's interesting is that the former is illegal in all states except Nevada while the latter has been morally and culturally accepted since the beginning of time. This begs the question: is there any difference between a street walker/escort and a person who uses their physical beauty to attain a lifestyle that others labor very hard to attain? Too often in our society we see evidence of the "trophy spouse"; a reward received by those who achieve success in business or entertainment. The marriage consists of a person who sees a beautiful spouse as something to obtain and a person who deliberately shops lifestyle by any sexual means necessary.

Some would argue that prostitution should be made legal so that (just as with drugs) it can be regulated by the state and become a source of revenue enhancement. Furthermore, sex between strangers would be safer since the government (as in Nevada) would require regular medical examinations to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. The problem facing this country is that we haven't reconciled these two definitions thus creating the existence of a double standard. We are quick to arrest and condemn the street walker/escort but would never think to shun a sexual opportunist. In many ways, prostitution already is legal in our society. People pay to watch two people have sex with each other but yet cannot pay each other for sex. I recall two people comparing their lifestyles while waiting in line at the airport. One person told the other "the difference between you and me is that you pay for your sex with cash and I pay for it with dinners, clothing and jewelry". The problem with this country today is not that we are a nation of laws but rather a nation that continually contradicts itself when it comes to morality.

Joe Bialek