Thank You, James Caldwell of Pro Wrestling Torch

Dave Meltzer’s Weak Defense of CHRIS & NANCY Review Blackout
November 13, 2009
In Answer to James Caldwell’s Question …
November 14, 2009

I opened my email this morning to the most important message I’ve received in some time.

It was from James Caldwell of Pro Wrestling Torch. And no, it had nothing to do with Chris Benoit or pro wrestling. That’s the point.

Though I’ve never talked about it with him, James apparently knows that, in my other life, I’m a writers’ rights activist, a former executive at the National Writers Union who became a litigation consultant and then led a slate of objectors to a global class-action settlement against periodical publishers and electronic database companies for ripping off freelance journalists’ previously published works. After 15 years of work in this area, including more than five on the objections in this case, it is before the United States Supreme Court. With perfect pitch, in my humble opinion, the justices renamed the case Reed Elsevier v. Muchnick. Oral argument was heard on October 7, and a ruling should be issued some time between now and June.

Meanwhile, a highly publicized proposed settlement of the infringing practices of Google’s book-scanning project is before U.S. District Court in New York. I am not involved in that case, but its issues are related to mine. Yesterday was the deadline for the parties to file a revised settlement in response to hundreds of objections and comments from authors, foreign governments, and the U.S. Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.

The revised settlement was filed late yesterday, and James Caldwell’s email forwarded to me a link to an instant analysis of it from The Wall Street Journal.

“What do you think?” James asked – that was his entire message.

Well, James, the short answer to your question is that I don’t yet know what I think. I will, however, be closely reading the new settlement language and the coverage of it, and I’ll be commenting on my other blog,

In the meantime, my sincere thanks for taking the time to ask.  Since email is such a blunt instrument, there is no way for me to know if your query was naïve, earnest, or sarcastic. Most emails don’t flaunt their agendas. They are just emails.

But whether this was your intention or not, your email had the effect on me of a nudge. A nudge away from Benoit and on to something else, anything else. And for that, James, I thank you.

Clearly, I’ve taken my latest round of getting in the faces of wrestling fans and their journalists about as far as it can go. Dave Meltzer, among others, believes I have pushed the envelope too hard in my effort to promote my book and the culture of death it exposes. In my judgment, Dave has not pushed the envelope hard enough. It is a disagreement.

So at this point, in addition to thanking James Caldwell, I want to thank Bryan Alvarez, who also does not share my viewpoint on all things Benoit, for giving a struggling author a discounted rate on the advertisement for CHRIS & NANCY currently running on the secondary pages of the Wrestling Observer/Figure 4 website.

I also want to thank David Bixenspan (SLAM! Wrestling), Joe Babinsack (Observer/Figure 4 website), and Rich Tate ( for their thoughtful reviews. Thanks in the future to all others who take the time to write thoughtful reviews.

Thanks, too, to Derek Burgan (Pro Wrestling Torch), who has put himself out there in support of my work on various Internet radio shows and discussion boards.

Finally, thanks and Happy Holidays to Dave Meltzer, whom I have read for many years and anticipate reading for many more to come. I can only echo all the positive things I said about Dave in Chapter 11 and the Acknowledgments of my book.

Dave, maybe some day you and I and your world can go ’round and ‘round again on the real background of another controversial tale of mine, which is not part of CHRIS & NANCY: the story of Randy Orton and the suicide attempt.

But that’s for another day. Right now, let’s move things over to Freelance Rights.


Irv Muchnick

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