Letters to The Ethical Spectacle

I've just spent two days alone, mostly in the house working on the Spectacle. I've hardly spoken to anyone in 48 hours except saying "thank you" to supermarket cashiers and brief telephone conversations with my wife, who is away visiting a relative.

There is a certain state, of which the runner's high is a version, of deep inwardness you can attain from long silence: a state above language. In 1980, I took a thirty day walk on the Long Trail in Vermont and, towards the end of my hike, went four days without seeing anyone. When I finally met a lone hiker coming in the other direction, it was physically difficult to break out of silence and speak to him: my voice was an unfamiliar instrument.

In solitude you immerse yourself in the emotions you were feeling when you began to be quiet. If you were joyful, there is nothing to distract you from it, and it becomes more intense; but if you were miserable, beware. Other people pull us out of the benefits or dangers of solitude, like flocks of birds singing to each other, grooming each other and jockeying for position on the branch. Humans are social animals, but the amount of energy we exert in the singing, grooming and jockeying could have been used to build immense monuments or to sink ourselves entirely. I have sought solitude often in my life, but I don't always love it: I am my own best and worst company.

You are there too. When I consider the threads that attach me to other people, more of them seem to travel across the Internet these days than otherwise. I can be reached as always at jw@bway.net.

Jonathan Wallace

The Internet Bubble
Dear Jonathan:

Insightful, and very much in line with my views.

Moreover it isn't just the Internet companies. Rational behavior is rarely in evidence - the "bigger fool" model is alive and well. What happened to dividends? To investing based on expectations of future ROI? The daily gyrations do seem to be at least partially correlated with financials - down when the news is bad, etc., but longer term it is indeed as you say - herds, mania, and semiotics.

What little investing I have done has been in companies with real, sound businesses & long term viability. Has worked not too badly long term, although it's down by maybe 40-50% over the last year.

You wrote:

Sure, one way of looking at it is that that's the risk you take, in return for your stock options, when you work for an Internet company. The problem that I have with that approach has to do with the reliance factor. Getting people to come work for you in a startup company--I have done it--is like persuading them to sell their houses and join your wagon train. Once they've uprooted themselves in reliance on you, you have something of an obligation to see it through. When the wagon train is less than 200 miles on its four thousand mile journey, you can't just say, "Never mind, I'm no longer interested," and send them all back home.

Gee - kind of hits home. Just last month I uprooted myself from Arizona & moved here to North County San Diego, having signed on with an outfit called Novatel Wireless (offshoot of a formerly Canadian government-owned thing in Calgary - a story for another time). Nice, but I'm in deep yogurt if they can't hack it ... insanely overvalued California real estate and all (which is itself a consequence of the mania, as all those overpaid, over-psyched, newly-minted Internet millionaires have bid this real estate to insane levels). I've bought a place I probably can't really afford. Time will tell. Then there is the "no recourse mortgage" - a California innovation in real estate, which further encourages this insane speculation - another story for later.

Other market segments are poised for a big pratfall too - in particular wireless telecom. My former employer (Qualcomm) is culpable, in part, for that one. Not that there isn't something there, but it is a whole lot less than the snake oil salesman would have us believe. The Iridium debacle was only the opening scene. I knew some of the promoters of Iridium. Right from day one I thought that, although it had a sort of technological Dick Tracy sex appeal, it didn't sound like a business. Seems I was right. I think there are going to be a bunch more of these - expectations disconnected from reality.

Will be catching up on my reading - Mackay's book, that is.

Best regards, Arthur Ross aross@ieee.org

Schrodinger's Election

I enjoyed Ben Price's exhaustive reaction to my short piece entitled "Gore lost, now go home." In his hyper-reactionary style, Ben parsed my words with the panache of a true liberal demagogue. The most gratifying sentence in his exercise in hyperventilation however, was the revelation that he is proud that he voted for Ralph Nader.

Ben, attaboy! Obviously, if bitterness is an indication, your close "second choice" was Al Gore. Your vote (and the few thousand in Florida who are like-minded fanatics) for Nader made sure that Al Gore is NOT the next president. For that, I wish to express my sincere appreciation.

As the 1992 election was determined by the 18% (most would have chosen Bush otherwise) who voted for the "Little General" and thereby allowed Clinton the back door to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., the whacks who splintered off for Nader definitely caused the Bush victory. Significantly too is the fact that W. garnered a much higher overall percentage of voters than Mr. Clinton did in either of his elections.

As for his attempt to minimize the fact that Mr. Bush won 29 states, and as for Ben's remarkable failure to grasp the significance of the demographics involved in the Gore loss, I was greatly entertained by Ben's childish attempts at spin. The "rule of law" part wherein Ben says I am a nuclear curmudgeon, and that the army of union thugs Gore unleashed on Florida was in fact only "lawyers" presumably intent on following the law.

Obviously, Ben has problems with the rule of law. His essay this month consisted of his arraignment statement for one of his numerous arrests. Ben once wrote a hilarious "essay" published in the "Spectacle" detailing how he got tossed in the poky for a few hours for some other mindless "save= the whales" type protest. In that one, Ben described the horrible conditions in "the slammer" and that he was incarcerated with real "Negroes" and actually saw a cockroach!

Attica! Attica!

Ben, you are priceless! Be careful out there driving spikes into trees no= w.

Bob Wilson

Dear Jonathan:

You wrote:

Gore lost Florida--or to put it more accurately, was not able to prove that he won Florida--because the Republican areas could afford to upgrade their voting technologies, and the Democratic areas could not.

HAR! Only someone thousands of miles away could say that. Democrat- controlled areas (Palm Beach County isn't exactly known for its poverty, Jonathan...) approved a confusing ballot. Democrats amused me when in the face of an all-out effort to DISENFRANCHISE military voters (and I have yet to see a denial from anyone about this) they claimed that they wanted all votes to count. Bullshit. (Oh, and has ANYONE mentioned on the Spectacle about disenfranchising military voters? Seems to be an ethical issue to me...)

More bullshit was when the Libertarians had to fucking SUE to watch the ballot re-count process when they should have been WELCOMED. You don't like the outcome (neither do I, actually) but the problem isn't one of the eeeevil rich oppressing Palm Beach, the problem is and was one of a confusing ballot and (I've gotta say it) stupid voters who aren't qualified to choose a president because they apparently can't read. Tough shit.


James M. Ray odds@dragoncon.net

Dear Peter,

Indeed these are interesting times. I read your analysis of the recent election and, like you with an article of mine, am having trouble with the argument you make.

Let me begin by saying that I did not support Al Gore and continue to be unsupportive of his positions on many issues. Nor did I support George W. Bush. I am appalled, however, by the ease with which the republican party and its candidate used every legalism available to prevent votes ignored by mechanical counters from being examined or counted by election officials (whose honesty was even impuned) in Florida.

We might spend a great deal of energy positioning our debating points over the status of "undercounts and overcounts." There seems no available argument to the claim that the Bush campaign served its own aims expediently, and not the cause of justice and democracy throughout the whole affair.

Peter, when you publish your book about re-involving citizens in the processes of government, I suggest a new chapter that will cogently explain to them why they should bother when the likelihood of their votes being counted is so obviously problematic, perhaps even irrelevent to the system of government to which we have devolved.

Indeed, "the will of the people" may seem a false populism, a totalitarian allusion without real referent to you. To not acknowledge the absurdity of the "Equal Protection" argument made by the US Supreme Court, as it sealed the record on votes never considered (machines are not yet final arbiters of human intention, I hope) seems a serious lapse in reasoning. Equal protection? Who was being protected? George Bush from the votes that may have defeated him? Fellow Floridians whose votes had actually been cast and counted on superior equipment? I am appalled and mystified by the pretensions of justice that have determined most undemocratically the outcome of a national election. It reinforces my dismay at the efficacy of involvement in the "process." That, after all, may be the message citizens were intended to receive. Alas.

Ben G. Price BenGPrice@aol.com

Dear Mr. Wallace,

Forgive me; I hope you won't consider it too presumptuous of me to write to you, but I wanted to thank you very much.

Your article "Israel" was excellent...and comes as a comfort to me in that everything that you have stated I agree with and have understood for many years from having lived in the Middle East region as the child of a US diplomat. It comes as a comfort to me because it has been impossible to convince Jewish friends in the US that when they tell me the exact same "myths" that you put forth at the beginning of your article, those same myths that you were told in your youth, that these perceptions of Israel and the Palestinians are not true... as I see it and apparently you do too.

I have lived there many years, have many Palestinian friends both here in the US and in Amman, Beirut, Cairo, the Gulf, have heard their stories, seen their suffering with my own eyes, and yet my Jewish friends do not believe me. In fact in some cases I no longer try to tell them that which you have so eloquently laid out in your article, for they either accuse me of "having gone native" (Arab native that is) or get so upset that I begin to sense the insinuation coming that I am "anti-semitic" after all. I am not. But I do loath the machivellian machinations of the State of Israel and I hate to see what it has done to the whole Middle East region that was relatively peaceful and idyllic when I first went to live there as a wee child, what it has done to the lives of my Palestinian friends and what it has done to the US' standing and reputation among nations.

For instance, I lived in Beirut in the late 50s when I was a small child and it was the most beautiful place to be. In 1991, after 10 years living and working in Amman, I went back "illegally" as it were because I was not supposed to go in with a US passport and I was shocked to the core of my being...horrified, absolutely horrified by the sheer magnitude of the destruction I saw everywhere I looked. I had been prepared for something terrible because I had sat in our office in Amman during the fighting in Lebanon over the years and had many times received the most frantically desperate telex messages asking for help such as to arrange for a visa at the border of Jordan because the city of Beirut was "burning street by street" and people were fleeing, and so on, but when I arrived in Beirut I found that I was not in the least prepared for what I actually saw....I felt I had walked into a nightmare....a Felini Dante scene that had gone beserk,...something so terrible that I could not have imagined it in my wildest and most grotesque dreams and could not imagine how any of the people of Lebanon had ever lived through it!!.... and I fled in 24 hours cursing the State of Israel that had created this wretched disaspora that caused problems whereever the unfortunate Palestinians landed and the misery,death and destruction everywhere Eretz Israel cast it's covetous eye, and the names of Begin and Sharon and all the US politicians that had a hand in this complete and utter destruction of Lebanon and all the other horrors that had taken place in the region through the years including the pathetic refugee camps that littered the Middle East and all the other hardships that my Palestinian friends had had to bear over the years...Hardships such as while living in Jordan I watched streams of Palestinian men coming to our office desperately looking for work because they had literally arrived that day after being expelled from Israel, deported on the spot with only the shirt on their backs and not a clue what the reason was for the deportation; or not getting an emergency pass from the Israelis to cross back into Israel to go to the funeral of a mother whom they had not seen for years...."why?" they asked "because we don't want to give you one" was the blunt and simple answer; or the absolutely unimaginable strip search at the border of the 80 year old mother of a friend who wanted to go back to Jerusalem to see her daughter who was married there because her daughter was very sick and the mother could not bear the idea that the worst might happen to her daughter without having seen her once more after so many years. Her son who was my friend, went beserk at the Israeli border when he discovered that they had strip- searched his Mom (and more besides!) and was arrested and temporarily detained while his Mom went on.... luckily my friend had a US passport and therefore did not disappear into jail for long...but he says he asked the Israeli guards why did they do this to his old mother...and they said "We don't want you Jerusalemites to make it a habit to come back to Jerusalem!!" He never did see Jerusalem which he had longed to see again after so many years ~he was released and sent back to Amman instead ~ and he vows that he will never return again until Jerusalem is part of a Palestinian state. This sentiment I adamantly disagree with him on as it only serves to prove that the Israelis did indeed achieve their nasty objective of discouraging him from ever returning, but he is adamant and says that he is full of so much fury that he's afraid that he would not be able to hold his tongue once again and that the consequences the next time would be even worst than the last attempt to visit. He is an Arab American for heaven's sakes...he has paid more than enough US tax money to Israel to warrant the right to at least visit his occupied homeland and the city of his dreams....

When I drove to Nazareth two years ago in a taxi with a charming old Palestinian taxi driver ...the cheerful type with the kaffiyeh on his hand and the gold teeth that flashed when he smiled and laughed robustly.....at one point he became strangely silent when we passed an immense fortress-looking type of compound. I asked him what that building was and he said it was something or other prison and "my sister's son is in there...he got 15 years and won't get out until he's 31". And he sighed deeply and was quiet... Well I couldn't figure out the math..."15 years until he's 31?? You mean he's 16? What did he DO at this young age to get 15 years?" And he said "He threw rocks at the soldiers...." 15 years for a child throwing rocks!!!!???? Well I guess it is strangely fortunate that at least the poor child was safely in jail and did not get killed in the last Intifada, as it seems so many are being killed this time around.

What oh what has this State of Israel become? And why can't my Jewish friends see the truth before their eyes or believe me when I tell them these stories, because they know that I don't lie...and they believe me on everything else, because they know that I don't lie. How can they feel no sympathy whatsoever for these ill-treated Palestinians from whom they took everything? And finally, how can the US not only condone all this, but unconditionally support these attrocities with huge amounts of our tax payers money?...

I am truly ashamed and embarassed when I speak to my Palestinian friends about the US role in all this and I'm worried about our future course and the consequences of our actions there. They all still admire the US surprisingly enough...but not our government's policies...and they ask, "Why won't the US help us, and make Israel abide by Resolution 242 when it is international law"? "Why is the US the only one who always votes against us in the UN?" "How can the US support this apartheid here when they helped the blacks in South Africa so vigorously?" "Why did the US go after Milosevic when he displaced the people of Kosovo through ethnic cleansing and helped those refugees return to their land but they won't help us to return to our land?" If Israel's occupation of the "occupied territories" is illegal by international law, why did Clinton threaten to move the US embassy to Jerusalem which is "occupied" land? Wouldn't that be illegal too? Why does the US send Israel huge quantities of such lethal weapons when they know that they are going to kill our unarmed children with them?" Why hasn't the US been fair to us when we trusted that they were indeed an "honest broker"? and other such painful questions.Why indeed. The questions have haunted and frustrated me for years and of course I have no answer for them. And this in the end is a tragedy for the US as well as the Palestinians.....

Well, I apologize for rambling on like this, Mr Wallace, but I suspect that you can see by now that this, for me, is a very emotional subject which I've been going on and on about for years in the US to no avail; no one will listen or they are silent, or they don't believe because it is contrary to all the media's slanted information and so now I am taking great comfort in reading the wonderful articles by Jewish writers such as you, and Avnery, Oz, Finkelstein, Shahak, Chomsky, Felicia Langer,Judith Stone and others ....that reiterate my own thoughts on this quagmire. Ultimately I think it is your writings and the writings of other Jews , and only your writings, that my Jewish friends in the US will perhaps finally listen to and believe someday, though they could not believe what Gideon Levy had to say in his review of Benny Morris' book, "Correcting a Mistake" when I sent them the review and had to write to the Haaretz directly and ask a friend there..."is it true what Benny Morris wrote? We in America would like to know the truth,because these are things we have never heard before". They were also incredulous upon hearing Ami Ayalon declare that Israel was in effect an apartheid. "What's his problem?" they asked. They did not consider that the problem lay with Israel rather than Ayalon! Yes, I think that they are having a very hard time recognizing the truth when they see it!! but maybe one day, hopefully one day soon, with the help of Jews with conscience like yourself, they will finally recognize and understand the truth when they see it....hopefully before they get hit reallly hard in the face with it! Then hopefully, too, the State of Israel will heed their voices of protest..... and justice will prevail in Eretz Israel and the Palestinians will be freed from this cruel Zionist apartheid and allowed to create their own state in the "occupied territories" , and all the people of the region will finally live in peace and harmony. Amen.

I will be sending your wonderful article to all my Jewish friends and then I wait and hope they heed your message .... there is nothing else to do but hope......and say insh'allah, as the Arabs say..."god-willing".

In the meantime, thank you very much again for your eloquently articulate words.

I was moved and comforted by them and I will be waiting in anticipation for more articles from you on this site in the future.....

Yours sincerely, Eugenie Trone gtrone@webtv.net

Mr. Wallace:

It would be nice to find a left-winger that went beyond the fashionable antisemtism masquerading as concern for Palestinians. I'v never heard the left comment once on the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Jews from Arab counties, while continually drawing ridiculous and offensive analogies to Naziism. Many of the incidents used for pro-Palestinian peopaganda for those purposes. Please see http://www.worldnetdaily.com/bluesky_kupelian_news/20001204_xndku_who_really.shtml and http://www.zoa.org/pubs/DeirYassin.htm to see a more accurate view of al-Dura and Deir Yassin. Unofrtuntely, the Palestinian propaganda has become very slick and effective, since so much of the left is ideologically committed to the PA and they are willing to sacrifice their own people for propaganda purposes.

As far as the present state of affairs go, if you recall the PA has turned down very pro-PA terms for the second time in as a few months. They turned down a Palestinian state in the 1940's and the 1960's to be part of the greater Arab world as it tried to destroy Israel.

Richard Sol rsol5@yahoo.com

An Auschwitz Alphabet
Dear Mr. Wallace:

just a little note to say thanks for this site. my grandparents were german jews.my grandfather was friends with otto frank. most of his family was killed.my grandmother was the daughter of a dentisit. most of her family left before it got out of hand. she was invited to go back to germany for free. she never went before she died. i really wished i could have learned more but she did not like to talk about it much. thanks again


Dear Mr. Wallace:

I have finished reading the impressive work you have presented on the website.

I agree. There is not much seperating human beings of 50 years ago from human beings today.

Different uniforms, different nations, but the same savagery.

The hope I find in here in the hearts of those who choose to live with honor, dignity and a hope for the future.

Excellent writing. I appreciate your fine work in making this information acessible. I was surprised to read that 12 year olds were allowed to see Night and Fog. I saw it in my late 20's at Miami-Dade Community College, North Campus. It was a shocking film for me. I am converting to Judaism. That sentence does not convey properly my interest in Judaism. I have read about the Holocaust for the past 27 years. I have met men and women all across America who have lost mothers and fathers in the furnaces of Auschwitz. How can something like this happen? When I look around the world today, it doesn't seem so suprising in light of the heinious crimes being comitted today in the many nations of the world. I hope the 21st century will be better than the last for the Jewish people and all the people of the Earth.

Thank you. I will recommend your website to others.

Keep Fighting. Don't give up!

Howard Lee Kilby hkilby@arkansas.net

Dear Jonathan:

Your site moved me...

I am not Jewish so I have no idea what it is like to live as a Jew, especially in the US. The 7th grade teacher, you mention, is correct; we are doomed if we ignore history. It does make one wonder if Nazi Germany didn't have gun control, would the citizenry have revolted on the "final solution". I guess what this boils down to is that we always need to be suspicious of the government, any government, who governs us.

Thank you for your site, sir.

Jeff Sullivan jsulli68@cybertrails.com

Dear Jonathan:

I am an English teacher in California who will be teaching "Night" in a few weeks. I came across your web site while looking for other materials to support my unit. I plan on using your invaluable source as I could not have put together a better one. Incidentally, I lived in Germany, near Dachau. I went twice to visit the camp there, once willingly, once to take family visiting....I waited in the car for two hours the second time. I can't imagine what it was like to have been forced to be there, nor what it was like for you, doing the research and compiling this information. I know that my first visit to Dachau was a stopping point on a shopping trip in Munich. Needless to say, we were all sick and disgusted; we never made it to the Marktplatz and shopping that day. Again, I thank you for your contribution and the courage to persist, even though you must have found things along the way that broke your heart.

Kimm Dildey kdildey@ceres.k12.ca.us

dear jonathan,

I'm a second generation jew living in berlin and have been working in adult education as a free-lancer for the last 30 years.

In a newspaper I learnt that "Jedem das Seine" originally came from the "Schwarzen Orden" in 1701.

Do you know the precise origin of "Arbeit macht Frei"? Was it really an invention of Hoess or did he find it somewhere which seems more probable?

Please visit my website: www.rgolz.de


ronnie golz RGolz@t-online.de

Dear Jonathan,

I have taken up a self-study of Nazi Germany and of Hitler to discover how it all could happen. I have read your Alphabet, and agree with your conclusion, that had I been born in Germany as a German in 1915, would I have joined the party and found meaning in mass destruction? I had told myself before that it would be impossible, having seen the Holocaust images that I would ever do such a thing.

My grandparents immigrated from Sicily early this century to search for a better life. However, I remember my father employing a television repairman who was a known KKK organizer to repair our television set. I asked him how he could let such a man into our house (I had personally been singled out in school for ethnic epithets for being Italian), to which he replied, "He does a good job."

More recently, I kidded a co-worker (a devout Republican) that Gore would win the election. He responded that because of "those Democrats" we were in a moral tail-spin, that the solution might be the judicious use of a .45 caliber weapon for those "communist sympathizers". And I thought that if "only" people like him were not around... Now after reading your web site I see that the capacity to marginalize anyone outside of our ideological mind-set is a part of human nature. How many of us are SS men-in-waiting should the circumstances arise?

Thank you for all the work you put into your message.

John Graffio jgraffio@home.com

Mr. Wallace:

I'm just about to read your Alphabet and essay.

I've been searching the web for 3 or 4 hours on Holocaust Testimony, Stories, Essays, etc. and I am extremely surprised on how little there is.

I stumbled across a link to your site, and found it to be one of the best collections.

I just returned from a trip to Europe; Dachau being one of the last places I left.

I came home wanting to read and know more, why and how.

I am about to retire, and read your work. Thank you for putting this information out there.

Sincerely, Heather N. hcnemail1@aol.com

Hi there,

I just wanted to congratulate you on your website. I have always been deeply troubled by the Holocaust and was happy to wave goodbye to the last century because of it and the trench warfare disaster of the first world war. The other night I watched a program about a British POW who worked in the factories at Auchswitz. He went back to some of the sites and discussed the atrocities he had witnessed against the Jewish people there. He told of one day being taken by a Polish girl Maria Koska to look through a window to see Jews being forced to throw live babies and children on a bonfire. I was horrified. He said he only survived by reading the Bible twice over while incarcerated there. He escaped with four others into Czechoslovakia towards the end of the war but was recaptured. He was not shot because the camp commandant did not wish to own up to losing five POWs as this meant he would be sent to the front. The POW later went on the march and said for the first fortnight he walked over dead Jewish people who had been forced to walk in an earlier march. He once saw a large group of Hungarian women and children being walked to the gas chamber because the train had broken down. The children were singing a beautiful song in Yiddish totally unaware of what lay ahead. He also said that for a couple of years after he returned to England he wandered the Chesire countryside in a deep depression unable to come to terms with what he had endured. Many of his fellow POWs killed themselves after their return to England. He said while many of the German factory owners got off scott-free after the war, he had actually been fined by the Army when he got home for losing his rifle! There were no counselling services available to these men. He was suicidal until one day on one of his ramblings in the countryside he sat down by a beautiful pond on which two white swans were paddling. One of them got out of the water and approached him. He stayed very still as he wasn't sure what it was going to do and then it came beside him and lay its head on his shoulder for five minutes. He saw it as a sign of hope and began his recovery from that point, marrying a girl he met through his church with their union lasting 43 years. It was an incredibly moving story and I couldn't stop thinking about it all. I surfed the web to find something out about Auchswitz. Your alphabet was a good entre into the horror of that place and the questions I had about it. Thankyou so much. I am so sorry for what happened to the Jewish people and can only think it was a culmination of the terrible prejudice they have faced and still face in the world. It is hard to conceptualise the level of hatred the Nazis had, how they could sleep and eat and live normally with what they did. I just cannot fathom it. Anyway, best of luck for the future and thanks once again,

Shirley Glaister sglaister@mailbox.uq.edu.au

Freedom Of Speech

I was reading through back issues of The Ethical Spectacle and came across your striking series of articles about free speech. One thing that I found especially interesting was your establishment of a fundemental link between free speech and optimism, that even if good ideas do not neccesarily triumph over bad ideas, we must have that enduring faith if we are to have a system of self-governance at all . The similarity of your views with those of Alexander Meiklejohn is quite remarkable and I was wondering what you thought of his philosophical position on free expression.

On another note, what do you see as the free speech issues arising in the near future? Is the CDA and its ilk dead or merely dormant?

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I wanted to thank you. In this time of moral majority and censorship it is good to have a voice. Being a college student with only one true faith and that is faith of the constitution, it is great to read a well thought out and intelligent piece. I have read books by Nat Hentoff another individual I respect for his stand for freedom of speech. And after reading your work I just wanted to thank you for not giving up. Most people back down but you let loose. So thanks again.

Nick Albert nsugarray@aol.com

While I affirm your article "Lying," I would assert that lying _is_ violence; a violanet assault on truth. And, as obviously, upon reason.

I am also a fan of Bok; read her _Lying: . . . ._ when first published in the 1970s. I was, however, all ready primed for her by extensive reading of Mark Twain.

Some years ago, confronted by a lawyer who perpetrated a fraud on a court, I substantiated that in the brief, and included--

_Lying_ is the _primary_ form of violence--

The person who tells a lie, who transgresses in this one thing,

. . . there's no evil he might not do. (Fn1)

_Lying_ is a violent assault on truth, reason, decency, dignity, and trust. It inflicts _injury_. The belief it affords advantage is a delusion--another lie: beyond damage to self-respect the justice is that the liar is the _first_ victim of her lie: she causes her distrust of others, knows she is untrustworthy, and suffers constant anxiety that she will be caught at it.

FN1 _Dhammapada: a translation_, Thanissaro Bhikku (Barre, MA: Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, Dhamma Dana Publications, paper, 1998), Dhp. 176. See also _Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life_, Sissela Bok (NY: Random House, Inc., Vintage Books paper, 1979); "Can Lawyers be Trusted?" _Id._, U. of Penn. L. Rev. 138:913; _Buddhist Ethics_, Hammalawa Saddhatissa (Boston: Wisdom Publications, paper, 1997).

I think my statement may be superior to Bok's. Then again, I'd all ready read tons of Mark Twain.

"Often a man who's never told a lie thinks he's the best judge of one."--Mark Twain

"I differ from George Washington. George could not tell a lie. I can, but I won't."

And on how slavery was biblically defended before the Civil War, and biblically repudiated, after the Civil War: "I wonder how our pastors could lie so. Practice, no doubt."

Joseph Nagarya jnagraya@888.nu

May 1970: A Memory of Activism
Dear Mr. Wallace:

I was 22 when the Kent State killings occurred. Still, when I get in touch with it, I feel helpless table-pounding rage: those killed were but kids.

In 1968, two years before, I and others were after LBJ for war crimes; when during that Summer I saw Nixon on TV making a speah or something, I saw thorugh him and said: "Forget Johnson; let's get this gangster." It took until 1974, I I take credit for getting him. (Meaning: of all those during Watergate who were "out to get" him, I'm the only one I knew who, if acused of that, would have andwers, "Yes!")

In June-July, 1967, two weeks after being graduated from high school, I, alone, was confronted by the "dozen"--all those who, through my 12 years of school, had been nemeses; bullies. Those who had picked on and abused me all those years. They began the usual round of accusations: "Communist," "Are you gonna dodge the draft?" etc. As one immersed in Twain for just over a year by then, I remembered the scene in _The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn_ in which the "Colonel" derided and broke up a mob which had come to lynch him (as presented by Hal Holbrook in "Mark Twain Tonight!"). For the first time I didn't cow or cower; instead, I felt my anger at the cumulative insult, threw caution to the wind, stopped, and gave it to them straight, without evasion or lie. "Coward? You call me coward? I'm alone, there are twelve of you, you don't like what I'm saying and could stomp me into the ground for saying it, and I wouldn't resist, and yet I'm saying it. And you call _me_ coward!?"

That was an epiphany. They as a group began wandering around among themselves, eyes to the ground, mumbling, "What did he say?"

And I walked on. That's was the first time I encountered my having power.

A year later, while active "against" Us involvement in Viet Nam, I had a non-ideological sense of fairness (still do). When others derided cops, I took them to task. And I treated cops as the human beings they are. So I appreciate your anecdote about the "Italian"- American cop.

Joseph Nagarya jnagraya@888.nu

Dear Sir,

Re Saving Steven Spielberg:

You are a cad. If it were the 18th century, I would challenge you to a duel.

Those who can, film. Those who can't, criticize.

Yours sincerely,

Sara Crabill azurite9@home.com

To Whom It May Concern,

I can completely sympathize with whoever wrote the extremely long essay on why Interview with an Vampire was so bad...but only one week a month when I'm bleeding, cramping, and need something to overcomplain about.

As a woman no one can say I'm being sexist;on the contrary, as a woman, heterosexual at that, that movie hit a chord with me. But it didn't speak to me of violence. Yes, it showe a lot of violence and yes it was directed towards women, but if I was watching a movie about heterosexual male vampires, I wouldn't expect them to kill more men than women...or any for that matter.

The movie should have been shown with a disclaimer that warned people away from it if they weren't a fan already of Anne Rice or any other vampire movie. I'm a vampire buff myself, but I have friends who saw this movie and though not big fans of blood drinkers, the liked it. The movie spoke of exquisite pain, eerie romanticism, the mystery of life and death, and the fact that through it all, we all want to know where we come from and someone to love us.

Nowhere in that movie did it speak of the advocation of violence towards women. There was power there; they used it to survive.

I'm very sorry if the movie upset her/him so much, but like I said before, it's not for everyone. You must take it with a grain of salt; its just a story.

Mara Johnston revjunkie411@webtv.net

The Gandhi Game
Dear Mr Wallace:

I have read your article, and it is fascinating. However, i am curious to know your thoughts on the Gandhi game as played in south africa? The British, while a lawful and just people, had not been averse to slaughtering the maori during the maori uprising. The Boers having come from a violent and brutal war against the british were not averse to the use of force in south africa. why was the gandhi game successful in south africa, where the hindu population was small (2-3%) and repeated assaults on this community were common.

what do you think made this differ from the Nazis?

pat bahn bahn@tgv-rockets.com