Daniel W. Drezner

What if author bios were brutally honest?

What if author bios were brutally honest?

When someone publishes an op-ed, longer essay, or book, they have to write a tagline.  It’s usually two sentences describing their title and affiliation, and whatever big projects are associated with them. 

After watching the preview for The Invention of Lying, however, I began to wonder what these tag lines would look like if they were brutally honest.  With a nod to Megan Mcardle’s "Full Disclosure" post from a few years ago, here’s fifteen examples I came up with: 

  • Jack Silver is a fellow at the Institute for Strategic Studies.  He has been Henry Kissinger’s bitch for something like three decades, so when Henry passed on writing something for us, he was the next logical choice.     


  • Suzie Wong has never been to the country about which she is writing.  What’s in this op-ed is culled from a quick perusal of the Economist and a few phone calls.     


  • Cass Bunstein is a law professor.  He dashed off this essay in his head while commuting to work this morning, wrote it in under thirty minutes, and it’s still smarter than anything, my dear reader, that will ever pop into your brain. 


  • Augustine Cornington has been teaching at an obscure state school for two decades, lying in the tall grass, waiting for her archnemesis to make a mistake in print.  This book review is her chance to completely eviscerate him. 


  • Joe Schlub Jr. is a law professor.  This essay is a badly mangled version of an interesting idea he heard Cass Bunstein riff on at a cocktail party last week. 


  • Andrew McClutchen is a former governor.  He hopes that this op-ed is the first step in getting beyond that horrible sex scandal from a few years ago. 


  • Madeleine McFadden is a former cabinet secretary, and did not write a single word of this policy essay.  It is possible she read the first few paragraphs of it, but that’s being really optimistic.


  • Jane Babbington has no extraordinary policy expertise.  She does have an awesome book jacket photo, however, and will have better hair and skin than you do until the day she dies.  


  • Lou Marston is a very smart professor at Princeton University.  This op-ed is woefully underplaced because he took his own sweet time writing it, and this issue is from last week’s news cycle.  


  • Robert Knaus lost the capacity to write long-form essays years ago – what you just read is what an intern scraped together from one year’s worth of Twitter tweets. 


  • Ann Stoneham is the foremost expert on this topic, and cannot write her way out of a paper bag.  Her uber-competent editor busted her ass for the last 48 hours to try and convert this essay into semi-readable prose


  • Gwen Pollard is an area expert at a prominent DC think tank.  She fervently hopes that everyone has forgotten how completely wrong she was about this topic just five short years ago.


  • C. Thomas Pope is a professor at the University of Chicago, and his worldview hardened into an inpenetrable black mass the day he turned twenty-four.  As no amount of contradictory evidence will cause him to change his mind, he is perfectly willing to make absurd, idiotic statements without worrying that he is wrong. 


  • Richard Jensen is a professor at Harvard University.  He has the Mother of All Balloon Payments due on his mortgage next year, so any extra income helps. 

And, of course…..

  • Daniel Drezner is a professor at Tufts University, and is publishing the fifth version of exact same idea with this essay.  Seriously, the man would be nothing without the cut and paste function.

Readers are warmly welcomed to come up with their own brutally honest tag lines in the comments.