Wait, Simon Critchley Is Kind of A Dick? Can’t Be.

UPDATE: I was going to add this to the comments but they are getting a bit out of control. Here is the gist of my position:

1) The dude was involved in the process – I don’t care how he came to be involved, but his involvement happened and it was accepted by the parties involved. No one just wanders off the street into this. Sure, maybe there were some issues – don’t care. The fact of involvement is established.

2) The dude got no mention in the book at all. We can argue the finer points of what does and does not constitute editorship – everyone knows high ranking folks don’t do shit on edited volumes, but still get listed at the top of the bill so books can sell – but the final fact remains – his name is nowhere in the final book.

I (and two other students at the time) helped my adviser edit a volume when in grad school. I helped him finish the last part of the introduction. Should I have been included as an editor? No. But he did generously acknowledged my help in the Acknowledgements section. If he didn’t, I would have survived but I would have been pretty annoyed.

To sum: if someone’s involved in your project and negotiates a contract on your behalf, don’t be a dick, even if things go sour later, mention the dude in your Acknowledgement. Period.


Read this story and weep, comrades!

I wrote to Simon about this and let him know how much work I put into securing the contract for him. The next day I received a single sentence email from him stating the following: either you accept the new amendments or else I take everything and leave. I wrote back and asked him if he understood how many months of intense work I put into the project and he responded by letting me know that he would, of course, detail my work in the acknowledgements section. While I was still a little bitter, I nonetheless thought that this was better than nothing. At least I would receive a little bit of credit for my work.

I received a copy of the book today and my name is nowhere to be found.

Lesson: Volunteering your labor to help others is overrated, especially when academic egos are involved. Beware!

17 thoughts on “Wait, Simon Critchley Is Kind of A Dick? Can’t Be.

  1. The real story behind the conflict can be found here, on Duane Rouselle’s Academia.edu page


    The Anarchist Turn
    by Duane Rousselle

    More Info: “Edited by Jacob Blumenfeld, Chiara Bottici, Simon Critchley with Duane Rousselle Pluto Press, 2013 (special book issue of Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies)”

    That is, Duane was trying to piggyback off of Jake/Chiara/Simon’s project and claim some of the prestige for himself and for ADCS. Duane clearly admits to this.

    Again, it does not seem Duane was invited to do editing, but rather he interposed himself, “volunteered” to do so. Most of the editing was done in-house, by New School students and faculty.

    From Duane and Jacob’s communication, it seems clear that the belief was that:

    * Pluto Press would publish a book entitled “The Anarchist Turn”
    * ADCS would publish an open access of the conference proceedings.

    That was the initial presumption, not that the *book* would have ADCS and Duane’s name on it.

    • I’ve told you this numerous times Mitchell. It only says “By” because academia.edu imposes that. Thus, I added, in the “More Info” section the proper naming scheme. Why else would it say “with Duane Rousselle” at the end.

  2. I don’t know, man. Sounds like you’re just trying to defend the dicks in question. There is no reason to completely remove him from the book (even Acknowledgements) unless out of some spite or something. If he was “volunteering” then why were his services accepted and then he was dropped? Maybe he did the job of contract negotiations and then dropped? His story sounds much more persuasive then yours.

  3. Mikhail,

    Duane was never part of the project. It was a New School Project.

    The lead editor of the book is a grad student (Jacob). It was basically him who put the thing the conference together, with Chiara’s assistance, and Simon’s too. The amount of work they each put into the conference and into the book is reflected by their names on the book cover — first comes Jacob’s, then Chiara’s, then Simon’s.

    On page 6 of the book, it states “For their editorial assistance in the preparation of this book, we are grateful to E.S. and J.P.” E.S. and J.P. are New School graduate students, and I know for a fact that they edited the texts in this volume.

    Duane was never part of this project. By his own admission, he never met any of the editors face-to-face. Duane did help the conference by publishing the proceedings to his website (adcs). And I guess he did hook the editors up with Pluto Press. At some point, he probably did talk Chiara into allowing him to do some of the editing — I don’t know what this would have consisted of, because as far as I know, all of the editing was done by E.S. and J.P. In any case, Jacob Chiara and Simon seem to have realized that Duane had ulterior motives and sought to distance themselves from him.

    From Duane’s own account, the deal that he came to was to publish the conference proceedings in an open-access format on his own web page (adcs), not to receive credit on the book.

    Duane really did very little work on the book. Any work he did was done out of his own interests:
    (1) to establish his name in academia &
    (2) to heighten the prestige of the journal — that’s why the first six paragraphs of his statement are advertisements for it.

    At some point, Duane must have decided that he not only wanted to publish the conference proceedings on his website, but he also wanted to take credit for the project as a whole and put his name on the book itself. This bizarre behavior was rejected by the conference organizers. Duane would not relent in his quest for recognition and therefore the conference organizers have decided to ignore him entirely.

  4. here is the conference organizer’s version of events.
    if you read this and compare it to duane’s account, you will find that they actually agree on many of the facts of the matter. but they take a different attitude towards the agreed-upon events. duane insists that he was invited to participate, whereas the organizers insist that he rudely barged in.


    April 19th, 2013

    Dear Duane,

    Firstly, please allow us to apologize sincerely for any upset that you have experienced in your dealings with us in relation to the conference and publication of The Anarchist Turn. If you feel that we have acted improperly and have been exploited, then we are sorry for that. It was not our intention.

    As far as we recall, we only met once on the occasion of the conference at the New School in May 2011. You approached us in order to film the conference, which was subsequently released on ADCS and for which we were very grateful. Immediately afterwards you proposed us to publish the proceedings of the conference in the double format as a book with Pluto Press, and in an open access journal. We liked the idea of the open access and this is why we preferred that offer over that of Continuum, which had, in the meanwhile, also approached us. And indeed, we were quite surprised when we found out that Pluto Press had never agreed to the double publication, so much so that they eventually even refused to have the logo of the ADCS on the book cover.

    In the end, we very much appreciated your help in mediating our contact and contract with Pluto Press, but we were truly surprised when we received a contract with you listed as an editor of the volume. This was not our understanding at all, and that’s why we never signed it. Until that moment, we had all thought that all the work you were (spontaneously) putting into the project was aimed at publishing the papers in the open access format of the journal you were editing, and we never thought that you were instead working in order to become of the editor of our book. Indeed, the conference was the fruit of years of intense, close collaboration between the three of us, which also has its own political history reaching back to occupations of the New School for Social Research in 2008 and 2009. But we needn’t go into that here. Let’s just say that the three of us put a significant amount of work into creating an event that linked with academics and activists around questions of anarchism. And needless to say, the three of us have also put in a lot of work in preparing and editing the book. In short, while we appreciate the weeks you put into project, the three of us put over three years into it.

    To be frank, we felt that you had interposed yourself as an editor of the book without our agreement and we were slightly irritated by such behavior. We felt it was presumptuous, to say the least. Indeed, the three of us felt slightly manipulated by your actions. We didn’t ask you to work on the manuscript and, once again, our understanding was that you were acting as a mediator between the three of us and Pluto Press in the interest of the double publication project and were not an editor of the book.

    That said, we should perhaps have acknowledged your mediating role in the preface, but, in the end, we decided not to because we felt that you did not behave correctly towards the three of us and, even less so, towards the publisher. But if you like, we could add your name to any future reprint of the book, adding a paragraph explaining how you came into the project but also why your name did not appear in the first edition.

    With best wishes,

    Jacob Blumenfeld, Chiara Bottici and Simon Critchley.

  5. Folks, in case you are wondering. Exile is Mitchell Verter, a former student of Simon Critchley. He is also a contributor to the book. He has been working with Critchley for a long time. He has an axe to grind with me. He also has every reason to defend Critchley since a lot of his work has seen the light of day because of Critchley. By the way, these comments from him were also spammed on my blog over the course of three days (non-stop). They were also written verbatim to all of my email addresses, various anarchist studies mailing lists, various websites and on many different blogs. He must have a copy of all of these messages saved somewhere on his computer because he seems to keep rewriting them in various corners of the internet (google and you’ll see what I mean).

    He is entitled to his opinion. But his tone and his accusations mean little against hard evidence. They also demonstrate that he cares more about humiliating a person’s character — belittling my family (you’ll see that he wrote some things about why my wife and children should leave me because I will never be able to provide for them based on my meaningless academic achievements) , among other cruel things that I care not to mention now. I invite you to have a read for yourself. Some of it was written on http://anarchistnews.org/content/why-i%E2%80%99m-returning-my-copy-anarchist-turn (where, he doesn’t know else he would have thought twice about commenting there anonymously, but I have been a moderator for a few years).

  6. * I should also say that anybody with a properly functioning brain would note that a Mitchell’s argument is filled with holes. I’m not interested in debating with him about this because I’ve seen what that does to the people I care about, but I will say that it simply makes no sense to suggest that I “barged in” on a book deal. How could that be possible if they had no book deal to begin with? Moreover, I have a paper trail for all of this and if enough people seem to take Mitchell’s claims seriously — it seems to me that nobody has been taking him seriously at all — I will post all emails, contracts, letters, etc., publicly to my blog. This includes, of course, the email and facebook messages that Mitchell denies happened between him and I. I will post along with it a series of emails between Mitchell Verter and the organiziers of another project with which I have been involved.

    That way everybody can see exactly what was exchanged between all parties. I trust Mitchell would rather I not do this.

  7. You are wrong.

    I have no particular axe to grind with Duane Rousselle. In fact, I barely know who he is.

    I did take a cheap shot against you, characterizing you as a petty academic who could not support a family, and I apologized for that. Indeed, I think you are incredibly lucky to have a wife who supports you emotionally and financially.

    I (MV) am no longer in philosophy — I am now a bricoleur (engineer), and I owe Critchley nothing for that. I published books and articles on anarchism way before I ever studied with Critchley. I owe him nothing for those either. You are wrong on your facts.

    The reason why I am objecting to Duane’s lies so stridently is because I know perfectly well what happened. I participated in the conference and I am published in the book. I was invited to participate by Chiara, never by Simon. I saw the work that Jacob and Chiara and Simon put into the text and into the conference. The only time Duane’s name was mentioned was to say that he was going to post the videos on the web and that he was helping connect them to a publisher, Pluto Press.

    So yeah, it pisses me off that Duane is defaming a work that I am published in, and that he is discrediting the work of my friends and colleagues by his fallacious claims.

    I know perfectly well who organized the conference. I know perfectly well who edited my essay. It was E.S., the graduate student who was thanked in the book. Duane never touched my essay. If he had, I would have gotten a letter saying, “do you approve of these edits”. But I never did.

    Look, Duane, you are trying to take credit for something that has very little to do with you.

    You scored big on the conference — ADCS published the conference procedings in your online magazine. That’s a coup. That’s huge.

    But you weren’t satisfied with that significant gain and you tried to keep on pushing your luck. You annoyed the hell out of everyone so much that Simon finally sent you a note: “either you accept the new amendments or else I take everything and leave”.

    If you didn’t have such a shitty attitude and you didn’t keep on pressuring people to include you in the project, you probably would have gotten some mention. But instead, you have been and are still acting like a jerk, and so nobody wants to deal with you.

    Duane gives away the reason why he was excluded from the volume in his own statements:

    The topic sentence of his second paragraph reads:
    “Their contributions reflected the stated objective of the journal that I edit, namely Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies.”
    Here is a perfect example of Duane trying to inscribe the efforts of others into his own academic narrative, to take credit for the work of others.

    Later, Duane writes:
    “I wrote back and asked him if he understood how many months of intense work I put into the project and he responded by letting me know that he would, of course, detail my work in the acknowledgements section. While I was still a little bitter, I nonetheless thought that this was better than nothing. At least I would receive a little bit of credit for my work.”

    Duane was “still a little bitter”. Exactly. Duane displays over and over what a petty person he is. Seriously, academia is rife with petty and insecure people, mad hungry skinny dogs fighting with each other for the few remaining scraps of meat. Duane exemplifies this pettiness in the worst way possible. The reason why Duane got totally ignored by the editors of this volume is because he did act and he still continues to act like a petty person, and nobody wants to put up with that.

  8. and when duane writes:
    Some of it was written on http://anarchistnews.org/content/why-i%E2%80%99m-returning-my-copy-anarchist-turn (where, he doesn’t know else he would have thought twice about commenting there anonymously, but I have been a moderator for a few years).

    what is that? first of all, it’s pretty clear who is writing what. i have a very characteristic way of writing. but then duane is somehow insinuating that his position of power — as a moderator of the blog — somehow gives him the authority to do something or other — I’m not sure what.

    this is another example of duane’s pettiness. look. nobody wants to deal with petty persons. not in academia. not in anarchism. not in anarchist academia. nowhere.

    perhaps you have something significant to contribute to anarchist and academic thought, duane; i don’t know. but if you want to be taken seriously in any dialogue, you have to work on your lousy attitude or people will continue to treat you as simply an annoyance.

    • I’d respond but you seem inclined to just keep pasting verbatim what you’ve written in a thousand other places on the internet (which I have already responded to). You sir are a troll and a bully. Now I presume you’ll find another website to post all of this on within the hour. Actually, what am I talking about – you’ve already done that before I’ve even posted this message.

  9. I really do not no much about this stuff, but I knew Simon many years ago, I can assure you he is not a dick or an ego mentalist .
    Sir Simon Kelly,Prince of Hitchin

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