Don't Lynch Me, Y'all!!! a defense by Srini (unabridged text follows)
this is !!!srini from unamerican activities. you're receiving this email because you're on my emailing list; if you want off, please just email me with the subject line "unsubscribe". i am writing you at length today because many of you received an email yesterday from james squeaky, the guy who handled the mailorder end of unamerican for the last two years. in it, james announced his resignation from unamerican, citing political and personal differences. the email revolved around the death of Bebe, his beloved little kitten. He said that I killed her.
I need to set the record straight on exactly what happened, from my perspective. The way James portrayed me in his email was as a lying, vicious kittenkiller, and a rotten business partner to boot. It's 3:41 in the morning, and my wrists are aching from emailing back those of you who contacted me about it. For those of you who showed restraint before judging me, I thank you for allowing me the chance to respond to his accusations. For those of you who have wished ill upon me based solely on his account, well, I ask for you to reconsider your opinion of me after reading what I've got to say. Yes, the cat died, and it was ultimately by my hand. if only I had been more careful, more gentle with her. i am so sorry, bebe, and i am sorry to you, james, as well. I'm not trying to dodge responsibility for what I have done. But I swear on the pain of the wrath of every god that has ever existed (including you, the reader, the "god" in "i represent GOD you fuck") that it was a total accident - a careless mistake, not some kind of calculated gesture. james is trying to make me look like a murderer (we'll get to why in a minute) - but my god, it's not as if i did some kind of victory dance after the cat was injured!!!! his depiction of me is untrue.
Here are the facts. We had just returned from the WTO protests up in Seattle, a pretty intense experience (as you might imagine), in one fifteen-hour marathon driving session. We arrived home at about four-thirty in the morning, and both of us headed straight to bed. Bebe, as James related, loved to be around me and often slept with me; for about a month, I had allowed her to sleep in my bed with me, and that was just fine with both of us most of the time. This time, however, it was different. She had been left alone in the house for five days; she wanted to play, and i just wanted to sleep. james writes in his account that "suddenly srini decided not to let the cat into his room". The truth is that i let the cat in, but she was so excited on our return that she just wouldn't let me sleep. So i put her back out the living room, but she started scratching at the carpet near the door, trying to get me to let her back in. This is a natural thing for her to do; i do not blame her for doing this, but she was really going at it, damaging the carpet in the process. Now, my landlady is a bit of a lunatic, and it pretty clearly states that no pets are allowed on the lease, and I was skating on thin ice with her already; I was very worried about the carpet, so I couldn't just leave her there to scratch away (I let her do so for nearly half an hour and then I had to say, "enough!").
So I took Bebe and put her in HIS room (after all, it's his cat). Inexplicably, he let her out again. Why he did this, I don't know. Of course, Bebe took up with the scratching at the carpet again. I sighed; obviously James thought it was my duty to entertain the frisky cat while he got to sleep. He'd been like that as a housemate ever since he moved in; I was paying the FULL rent on the place (his rent was supposed to come out of his salary, but he kept paying himself his full amount), I did ALL of the cleaning, I took out the trash, I did the dishes. It was too early in the morning to argue, and he would have been pissed if i had woken him up, so i figured that i would cover the carpet outside the door with a towel or something so that at least she couldn't cause any damage by scratching on it. i was just trying to move her out of the way so that i could protect the carpet that she was scratching at by putting a rug underneath where she was, because james was too busy snoozing to let the frisky cat stay in HIS room. when i wanted to move the cat the sofa seemed to be a logical place to put her; obviously, i should have placed her there instead of tossing her, and i used a little too much force. i meant to toss the cat onto the sofa that sits right in front of the window. instead, to my own disbelief, she went through it (it was only about 1/4" thick, so it didn't take much). i didn't even know what happened until i felt the breeze from outside! *i* screamed out (that's what woke james up), *i* looked up the vet, rushed the cat to the vet with James, and ultimately paid nearly $1500 in vet bills to help the cat come back to health. (of course money was no object. I have the cancelled checks to prove it.) All James wanted to do was hit me - despite what he would have you believe in his diary entry, he didn't witness anything, all he heard was my scream and the shattered glass. *I* ran out to get the cat, not him - you can ask him about any of this. Anyway, we rushed her to the vet, and I just sat in the waiting room and prayed. and at the time, we thanked GOD that she was not super injured - a large deep scratch on her front leg, but there were no broken bones - a miracle. After a solid week in which both of us sat in our rooms depressed as all hell - me for my carelessness, james for obvious reasons - we had made up. James and I went out to dinner and determined a plan to continue working on unamerican together with James and Bebe moving up north to continue to do the email stuff. I was even going to buy her a pet caddy for Christmas, which we both thought would be a perfect gift considering the changes we had thought were coming. That's not to say that James had forgiven me yet, but we definitely were building a bridge towards that forgiveness, and both of us were looking forward to the change. So then, a week later, James - instead of caring for the cat - went to Boulder to visit with his girlfriend. the cat was left with James' friend Dave, who was supposed to administer medicine to her wound. whether he did that or not, is anyone's guess; i have had to deal with him as an employee in the past, and, well, he wasn't very together when he was working for unamerican, is what i'm saying. (he's a good guy, though.) of course, when james came home to find the cat dead, he was devastated; but even though we had pretty much made up before he left - yes, you can ask him about any of this - instead of letting me console him, he rekindled his hatred for me.
What you endured yesterday in the form of his email was just the tip of the iceberg of his revenge. over the next few weeks, his girlfriend came out to visit, and I respected his wishes to avoid them, even using the back door to enter and leave the house. suddenly, one day in early January, I knocked on his door to let them borrow my car and I see a U-Haul out in the driveway. Along with his own stuff, he stole (i'm sure he'd say "scammed") a computer (containing the Unamerican e-mailing list, which was what he used to email you yesterday, as well as every database we have), a brand-new still-in-its-box scanner, and a laserprinter (lent from a friend). even though he quit that day, he has been trying to shake me down for money I don't even have - he wanted me to pay him several thousand dollars in order to get my files back. i have this documented in the form of an email he sent last week. And, in probably his most sickening gesture, he cashed for himself a $2300 goodbye check without asking me, citing moving expenses and back taxes (i'm serious, this is true!!!) - he had told me to sign a blank check for one of our vendors, and stupidly I complied. Finally, he left to portland without having paid the two months of rent he owed for staying here. Of course, he neglected to check whether there was that much money in the bank account - there wasn't, the check bounced, and an additional $100 of fees were levied by the bank. In order to keep the business going, for the first time in five years i had to borrow money. Apparently, if James can't be a part of Unamerican, I believe it is his will to destroy it.
the lesson I learned here is that if you commit a wrong, even if it is an accident, don't expect to be forgiven; expect revenge instead. if you ding someone they can punch you back; it's obvious to me that james intends to keep punching and punching. this is why i'm writing YOU today; i am hoping that you can find it in your heart to forgive me, now, knowing what you know about the situation. i am hoping that james will consider forgiving me, too; this isn't likely in the short term, but i know that i am atoning for the sin of my carelessness as best as i know how. (if you have any suggestions, let me know, please). look, my carelessness is legendary - there's a reason i'm utterly broke, and it isn't because of lack of sales - i have been careless in the past, and yes, i have to deal with the fact that my carelessness led to the cat's death. i feel so terribly guilty about Bebe's death and i have been seeing a therapist and i've been meditating every day, all to try and weed out that carelessness - it must NEVER come back. but to assume any malice on my part is completely fucking stupid. WHY!? why would i do such a thing willfully? answer - there is no answer. i was not angry with the cat in any way. it was an ACCIDENT. if you don't accept that, i am sorry to have wasted your time. feel free to hate me irrationally, whatever floats your boat; it's amazing how many people are willing to make personal judgements based on one side of a story. i've had years of practice being hated by assholes on the right and left who'd try and tell us what is "right" and "wrong"; it's given me a new perspective on hate, let me tell you that much. perhaps if you still hate me after reading this, you can delight in the fact that everything that has happened has destroyed me in a million different ways. but i hope i've made it clear that this is a situation that simply cannot be summarized by the phrase "srini killed my cat" with any justice. because of james' VERY strident demands for money, i saw his email to you yesterday coming a mile away; i can handle this by merely speaking the truth. but the cat's death is still with me, and the fact is that the cat loved me too (not the fucking electric blanket, James - ME). the sadness from that will never leave me. either way, you can email me and i will do my best to respond; and of course, feel free to forward this to anyone you want.
I know the extent of my wrongdoing; i understand that carelessness can easily be as deadly as malice - oh, boy, do i understand. but consider what James has done - emailing MY mailing list instead of hashing the situation out with me - and consider that, yes, he IS doing what he is doing through malice. the irony is that before this incident, i was doing my best to make him happy the month before this incident - i PAID for him to come out to North Carolina with me, down to Las Vegas, and up to Seattle... james is acting out of the bitterness of losing his stake in a company that he loved (LOVED!!!) so suddenly after years of hard work, forgetting that he always drew a steady salary while i fueled the business with credit cards and take-home pay from the crappy day jobs he's been able to avoid. he is also acting out of an understandable anger and grief, both at the loss of Bebe and the disappointment that it happened at the hands of a person who he looked up to, but who wound up disappointing him deeply - this is why he hasn't given me the benefit of the doubt, and listened to my side of the story. Finally, he has had a hard life in many ways; just read his journal entry and you can see that this isn't the first time he's had a loved one get hurt near him. those are HIS motivations in trying to tear me down, and they're leading him to act towards me in a way that is absolutely uncharacteristic of the friendly guy that we all know and love. you know the phrase "to err is human, to forgive is divine"? consider what James has done - is doing - as the exact opposite of forgiveness. i know that eventually we both will see our way out of this situation, and i am sorry that it necessarily had to involve you, the unamerican audience; please, forgive us both for the intrusion on your lives as well. James is still - and always will be - my friend, my comrade (yes, i mean that unironically), and my brother. I just want him to know that. Our friendship was not as shallow as he would lead you to believe in his anger; it was one of the most meaningful friendships I have ever had, a friendship based on action not just words, and I know in my heart that I meant the same to him (and not just the "business relationship" he insists it was - if that was all he thought of me, he was lying to ME the whole time. i have no interest in "business relationships"; i ONLY deal with friends). Thank you, James, for two years of working together, and I am sorry it had to end like this. :(
thanks for reading this, sorry it was way too long...
ps #1 - james, if you are reading this, PLEASE do not email the unamerican list again. you are free to post whatever you want on your website (misterridiculous.com). i am assuming that the people reading this know that you're going to respond to this; if they're interested, they know where to look. but you have no right to MY mailing list, especially being that you're even using a computer you took from me. and one other thing - that "quote" you're using in your .sig and communications is itself a lie. i never said that, and you know it. :P
ps #2 - folks, if you want (or don't want) to receive further communications from James, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. his project is definitely worth checking out, and he deserves a mailing list of his own instead of having to poach mine.
ps #3 - if all this leaves you doubting the future of Unamerican, don't. this last month without having to deal with our dysfunctional partnership has been one of the most satisfying experiences i've ever had. wresting control of my business back from a person who so readily trashes what I thought to be a genuine friendship has had its advantages. there's a redesign coming up, hopefully by the end of the month, as well as a book (!) and all kinds of new products & free stuff. i am so excited. and i love you folks. the only religion i really believe is that writing for you folks is just about the most spiritual thing that I do. i really am looking forward to hearing from you (although please be patient). thank you for your support over the last five years!!!!
"therapy for a nation gone psycho" (tm)
"Originally, the setup was to serve society. Now the roles have been reversed. They want society to serve the institutions." - stereolab
note - when replying, please quote this email back to me. cool? thanks.
Unamerican Activities, PO Box 410663, San Francisco, CA 94141-0663
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