Saturday, October 15, 2005


Identity Theft

Dear Dr. Hayes:

I don't believe you have published my letter yet. If you could do so, or in some other way undo the attribution of that unpleasant tirade, I would appreciate it. The letter, which I did not write, misrepresents me and my reaction to anything I've found posted on your website.

I hope you understand that I was the victim of a common office prank, Known as "getting slimed." This type of practical joke has led to divorce and has ended careers. In this case, there's little harm done because nobody cares what I say, I work only for myself, and it's unlikely people in my social circles will ever see it. Nevertheless, I don't think any good can come from having a letter I didn't write posted on the Internet and attributed to me.

Surely, as one who seems dedicated to pursuits of truth, you do not want to be the publisher of a fraudulent letter. Please either: 1. Remove the letter, or 2. Leave it posted and remove my last name, or 3. Leave the letter as is and include my letter explaining that someone else wrote it.

Take your pick, but please do not leave that on your site as something I supposedly penned. If you don't believe me, for whatever reason, choose option "3," title it "we'll report, you decide," and we can be done with this.

I spoke with two newspaper editors today who both told me they usually Call to confirm before printing letters, precisely because pranksters Sometimes send letters and e-mails using a friend or colleague's identification for a variety of reasons. I was told that harsh, embarrassing, over-the-top language is always a red flag that warrants confirmation. I know you e-mailed me, but you published before I saw the e-mail. I do not blame you for this, and I'm not upset about it. I should not have walked away from an open e-mail application for half a day. I would simply appreciate having this cleared up in whatever manner you choose.

Thanks, WL

Prior to publishing the post in question, Sweet Voice of Reason, RSR confirmed the ownership of the e-mail account in question, read online some of the published work of WL, and sent a reply informing WL that we intended to publish an excerpt from his letter and our comments the next day. We also provided, in that reply, an advance look at our post. We did not receive his reply until after this post had been online for about 12 hours. Nevertheless, we have accepted WL's explanation, and to be fair are removing his name from the inflammatory letter and publishing his explanation of the events above.


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