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.

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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!

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Deep Thoughts


I think the recent Leiter-Critchley brouhaha is best addressed with a couple of awesome Jack Handey quotes:

“I hope that someday we will be able to put away our fears and prejudices and just laugh at people.”

“It takes a big man to cry, but it takes a bigger man to laugh at that man.”

Critchley on Obama (Again).


I think we should start a new series “So-and-so on Obama” as many people have expressed their opinion on the significance of the election. Simon Critchley’s take

Obama’s victory marks a symbolically powerful moment in American history, defined as it is by the stain of slavery and the fact of racism. It will have hugely beneficial consequences for how the United States is seen throughout the world. His victory was also strategically brilliant and his campaign transformed those disillusioned with and disenfranchised by the Bush administration into a highly motivated and organized popular force. But I dispute that Obama’s victory is about change in any significant sense.

So Obama’s victory is not about change. Check. It’s all about the search for unity which in politics, Critchley argues, translates into political moralism – exactly how that takes place is not really dealt with in the article: Continue reading

Critchley on Obambi


Simon Critchley delivered a lecture last September at the New School entitled “Barack Obama and the American Void.”  It’s pretty decent. He examines Obama’s subjectivity, the existential detachment that seems to haunt him, and its relation to democracy as well as Obama’s “politics which is driven by an anti-political fantasy.”

My favorite question during the Q&A was when someone tells Critchley that he’s a cross between David Brooks, Maureen Dowd and Dr. Phil and accuses him of being psychoanalytically superficial. Critchley seems haunted by being called Dr. Phil.  I don’t know, maybe that’s not so bad, isn’t Dr. Phil kind of like an Aristotle (of the Nichomachean Ethics) of our time???

We’ll see what Obambi can get done over the next four years…

Click here to watch