The link below is a web page detailing Wikipedia’s reasons for deleting me from existence. I highly recommend you take a look at it because the implications of it are staggering:
I am the author of 8, count them, 8 books. The first, Twilight of the Clockwork God, was published in 1999 by a small press out of Oklahoma, but it was reviewed in some high profile periodicals like Publisher’s Weekly, etc.
The second book, Celluloid Heroes & Mechanical Dragons was published in 2005 by Cybereditions, a publisher out of New Zealand which was also NOT a “vanity press.”
My third book, Dead Celebrities, Living Icons was published by Praeger / Greenwood in 2010, a very old and well-established New York publisher of works of philosophy.
My fourth book, The New Media Invasion was published by McFarland Books in 2011, not a vanity press, but an academic one. The next book, The Age of Catastrophe, was also published by McFarland in 2012.
In 2013, I decided to gather up all my film reviews from this site and self-publish them on Amazon’s Create Space, largely because I am not a film critic and it would have been very difficult to get these reviews published anywhere else.
In 2014, I decided to self-publish a collection of essays on contemporary art, entitled Art After Metaphysics, also on Create Space. And this year, I am publishing a series of reviews of graphic novels, once again on Create Space, entitled Giant Humans, Tiny Worlds: Adventures in the Universe of Graphic Novels.
Even though only three of my eight books have been self-published, the editors of Wikipedia think it is their right to delete me from existence, claiming in the article that I am largely a “vanity author” who has only self-published. They also claim that I have made contributions to my own article, which is true, insofar as I have continued to add to the list of its bibliography the very same publications which I have just mentioned above.
The reader should also note that I published an essay on Wikipedia in my book The New Media Invasion, which was entitled “Wikipedia, or The Catastrophe of Knowledge.” I stated in that essay that Wikipedia is a poor example of an encyclopedia and not, in fact, really an encyclopedia at all but something more akin to the status of an electronic rumor mill. Wikipedia is full of rumors about knowledge, and is an unstable database since “facts” come and go as they please, as anyone can delete or add to them as they choose. I have a feeling someone over at Wikipedia did not take kindly to this criticism of their “free” database.
The publishing industry is currently in BIG trouble. It has been hit by the meteor of the Internet, which has sent it scrambling in all directions, looking for a way to continue to survive by making big bucks. In the process, the industry has marginalized generalist authors such as myself, a type of public intellectual whom the big publishers once upon a time used to publish, like Marshall McLuhan and Lewis Mumford, but will no longer do so because such authors DO NOT SELL. It is all about the bottom line these days, so public intellectuals such as myself, or Morris Berman, who has also self-published on Create Space, have been forced into other avenues to get their work out there. This website, for instance, is one of those avenues.
According to the logic of the editors of Wikipedia, the article on “Morris Berman” should also be deleted from the website, since Morris Berman has self-published two books on Create Space. Indeed, I got the very idea for self-publishing on Create Space from Berman himself, when he self-published his book A Question of Values on Create Space and recommended it to me. So I followed suit. Berman has also self-published other books with other self-publishing firms.
The list of authors who had to resort to self-publishing, and who have since become icons of our culture, is huge: Friedrich Nietzsche self-published most of his books, as did Arthur Schopenhauer. Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain, William Strunk, Jr., L. Frank Baum, Marcel Proust, James Joyce, Deepak Chopra, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Walt Whitman, etc. etc. Indeed, the list goes on and on and is a VERY long one.
So self-publishing, it is apparent, is no grounds for delegitimizing an author and deleting him from a public database, even if that database, as I’ve said, is an unstable one based entirely on rumor and hearsay. Which, of course, it is.
I like self-publishing. I am now making more money than ever before because the deals are better (the author gets 60 percent of the take instead of the humiliating 10 percent of most publishers). I like having the control over every aspect of the production: I enjoy designing the cover, for instance, and since I am a professional editor and proofreader, I can do all that myself. I don’t need editors telling me to change the book’s title, or to change chapter titles, or to delete this or that “offensive” reference. And I don’t like waiting a year or two for the book to come out. With Create Space, the book is published within two months.
I highly recommend Create Space to any new author wishing to make his or her way, since I believe it is the wave of the future.
Indeed, my friend the very great poet Michael Aaron Kamins is publishing his first book, Absences on Create Space because he too enjoys the creative freedom that they give to the artist to design the book as he or she sees fit. I have sent several other young artists and writers to Create Space and I will also continue publishing with them because they treat authors fairly and with courtesy.
I will NOT be returning to the world of mainstream publishing, which is predatory, unfair and treats authors like low-bred scumbags.
The editors of Wikipedia, rather unsurprisingly, are badly misinformed: self-publishing does not cause an author to “cease to exist.” He or she only ceases to exist in the badly edited and knowledge-poor disaster of a public encyclopedia that calls itself, rather pretentiously, a FREE encyclopedia. Wikipedia, after all, is run by amateurs, not professionals. And so the amateurish–not to say, childish–conduct of their editors in deleting an already VERY well-established author from their database for choosing to self-publish his most recent books, is unbecoming to say the least.
But after all, you get what you pay for.
I have just “discovered” you via your talk on Jaspers and history on Youtube.
I don’t think Wikipedia has deleted your because you self-publish.
Its because you write about things they don’t like.
They push the new religion of “The Great White Empire” which is neo-atheism/Victorian/robotic/man-is-machine science. People like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins are its high priests.
You and others who question this new religion are being censored.
I am pretty sure of this.
Josepha Van Den Anker says
Think John David Ebert is a leading intellectual voice … and, because “cream always rises” his astute, intelligent and articulate understanding of the art world, (and thus humankind) will ALWAYS end being up heard and found! So come-on Wikipedia – I’ve supported you, now let’s get real!!! Time to step out of being the “Reader’s Digest” for the common denominator and lead!!! There is only one way forward – edgy & up – or slide down into being blunted and dumbed-down like most pap being shoveled into the masses.
Dan Langlois says
I would like to reiterate that the list of authors who had to resort to self-publishing, and who have since become icons of our culture, is huge: Friedrich Nietzsche self-published most of his books, as did Arthur Schopenhauer. Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain, William Strunk, Jr., L. Frank Baum, Marcel Proust, James Joyce, Deepak Chopra, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Walt Whitman, etc. etc. Indeed, the list goes on and on and is a VERY long one. A VERY VERY VERY long one. However, I’m mocking you — your task is to feel Wikipedia’s pain.
P York says
Thanks for this! I have written books I had considered sending to publishers but will instead self-publish now. Also, good to know that Wikipedia has joined the disreputable ranks of Twitter, Facebook, Google and Youtube in terms of censorship for content they deem less than PC. Shameful. It sounds to me like they censored you for this reason, not because you are self-published (that was merely a pretext). Incidentally, I came here because I was looking up others deleted from Roger Ebert’s film review comment section (my comments, which are perfectly good) have been deleted twice without explanation. I hate censorship in all its forms. It speaks to intellectual and moral weakness — and it’s fundamentally un-American as well.