September 2011

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Letters to The Ethical Spectacle

Dear Jonathan:

I think that your article on billionaires is one of the best you have ever done. Although I had some disagreements here or there, that does not take away my desire to congratulate you for such a well-written and well-thought-out piece. And, yes indeed, it was quite a radical article! I hope your insurance is paid up.

Now I must say what might, to you, be predictable: Given the political potency of the billionaires and the fact that they seem to be able to operate beyond the bounds of normal, constitutional American democracy, don't you think that having a well-armed citizenry who is (are) prepared to defend real democracy and liberty might be a good idea????


Hi there,

I recently came across your resource page for your God issue and I found it to be extremely helpful in some personal academic research I'm doing -- I just wanted to say thanks. As a student, it is rare to come across such thoughtful and concise online resources like this, especially somewhat older ones.

I also wanted to let you know that there is a broken link on your page. Your text that leads to this website: is not working. I found an updated version of that old resource at if you are interested in fixing the link. You have to scroll down a bit and the resource is on the front page. It's called "Online University: Introduction to Evolution," and I think it's very comprehensive.

Cheers, Addie


I just stumbled upon your film noir construction kit and I love it. I am an amateur film maker and I've been wanting to make a film noir for a very long time. I was wondering if you had more scenarios on a website or if this passage was just something designed to help you think of a film noir, using the kit as an outline. Once again, thank you very much for making this.

Sincerely, Pierre

Dear Mr. Wallace:

In the July Rags and Bones, you write "... how long will Israeli soldiers be able to fire on and kill these protestors weekly, before some start breaking down, laying their guns down and walking away?"

On the one hand, in any culture there are always some dull enough or sociopathically detached enough to do that, so it comes down to the human resources problem of putting the "right" ones in the right places in enough numbers (think Ireland just after 1918 or Algeria in the late 1950s - needing that sort of manpower was not the constraint). On the other hand, the very emphasis on ethics in Judaism has led many Israelis along a path of acceptance so that they can remain right with themselves, the sort of invincible righteousness that the reprisal murderers of the British sergeants felt about that; this could well hold up long enough among ordinary soldiers for them to do what they are called on to do, no matter whether it surfaces later even as massively destructive guilt (historically, that was a non-issue among most of my own Scottish and Irish ancestors, whose culture read non-relatives out of consideration as moral beings anyway). Think of Golda Meir's comments about how "they made us kill them".

In your Colchicine column, of "Super 8", you write 'The creature at the center of the story is apparently meant to be simultaneously a terrifying "Alien"-like people-eating marauder, and a cute, lonely, lost, "ET"-style refugee trying to get home... And nobody could pull off the magic trick of making the monster nasty and nice all at once'.

Why did this make me think of actually existing Zionism?

Yours sincerely,