Note: I seem to have a major talent for getting myself into trouble. Trying to appease the cockroaches of the nation led to a storm of protest from New York’s who felt that I was entirely lacking in sympathy for them in their daily lives, which often also involve encounters with cockroaches. I have even been accused of being a foreign agent guilty sympathizing with the enemy. Bill de Blasio’s office didn’t call, but I was told in no uncertain terms, that if I didn’t desist, then I would incur his wrath. I promise you that the last thing on my mind when all this started was taking sides in a dispute that is so old and that awakens such visceral reactions. So now I have to apologize to both sides. Just to make it all crystal clear: Yes, I do know what a large cockroach looks likes (I have decades of experience), yes, I have encountered them unexpectedly (a huge one once ran over my hand) and I have had to deal with them. However, due to the prior complaint from the other side of this equation I’m leaving the text below to stand as I wrote it.
When I wrote ROCK STARS OF WINE AMERICA #1: Point of Entry featuring Very Bad PR I had no idea what I was unleashing upon an unsuspecting world, much less how this would come back like a boomerang flying straight at me! As well as a lot of more or less positive comments that were nice to hear, I have received a long letter of complaint from the attorneys representing the American Association of Cockroaches (AAC). No, I’m not talking about the professional body of cockroach exterminators, nor even the club of those people who keep them as pets and breed them. The complaint comes direct from the cockroaches themselves, and they appear to be well organized since they have some rather high-powered legal representation. This is the reason I have to be precise in what I say.
The problem seems to have arisen through the appearance of two cockroaches, both already dead, in my story. I felt that they played spectacular roles in the story and that this would be positive for this often reviled category of creature (of which there are many sepcies). I’m not going to risk the B-word with three letters as that could lead to yet be construed as being pejorative and lead to yet more trouble! Let me make it plain, I am not anti-cockroach. If I find any in my NYC home, then I put them out rather than killing them as most people do. It was in this spirit of live and let live that I wrote my story, and mentioned my two cockroach co-stars in all the publicity material about ROCK STARS OF WINE AMERICA #1. This appears to be how they found out about my work, downloaded the free Kindle app on their cellphones and tablets, then purchased it through the Kindle Store on www.amazon.com. After reading it many of them felt insulted. Clearly, the PARENTAL ADVISORY Explicit Content logo on the cover did not in any way alter how they felt about my work.
The AAC’s position is that by only including dead cockroaches in my story and in situations where they create moments of shock and suffering for the human characters who encounter them my new work disseminates a negative characterization of their members. Please don’t get me wrong. I am certainly not dismissing this argument and if my work were one of fiction, then I would seriously consider adding some living and attractive cockroach characters to create a more balanced picture as the AAC demands. However, mine is a work of non-fiction and a product of journalism. I have tried to tell the truth, in the events I describe only two cockroaches appeared and they were both dead. That is the reason I’m not willing to go back and add living and attractive cockroach characters to the story. That would be a falsification of the truth. However, I understand the pain that this news, and I hereby officially apologize to all cockroaches who feel that my story has insulted them and their like. This was entirely unintentional, and should cockroaches appear in my work in the future I will consider this question carefully.
This last point is going to get me into more trouble with the AAC, but anyone who wishes to read my work and make up their own mind should click on the following link: