Daniel W. Drezner

The truest thing Jack Shafer has ever written

As your humble blogger has aged matured, he finds himself invited to more shindigs that are logistically impossible for him to attend [He also has started referring to himself in the third person — what’s up with that?–ed.  Oh, stuff it.]  This occasionally gnaws atmy psyche, because missing high-falutin’ conferences preys on the same insecurity ...

As your humble blogger has aged matured, he finds himself invited to more shindigs that are logistically impossible for him to attend [He also has started referring to himself in the third person -- what's up with that?--ed.  Oh, stuff it.] 

This occasionally gnaws atmy psyche, because missing high-falutin' conferences preys on the same insecurity I have possessed since my grad school days -- that somewhere, at this very moment, there is an awesome, interesting conference going on, and I wasn't invited. 

Fortunately, Slate's Jack Shafer makes me feel better about not attending The Atlantic's "First Draft of History" conference.  Whenever I get one of these invites in the future, I'm going to have to re-read this paragraph: 

As your humble blogger has aged matured, he finds himself invited to more shindigs that are logistically impossible for him to attend [He also has started referring to himself in the third person — what’s up with that?–ed.  Oh, stuff it.] 

This occasionally gnaws atmy psyche, because missing high-falutin’ conferences preys on the same insecurity I have possessed since my grad school days — that somewhere, at this very moment, there is an awesome, interesting conference going on, and I wasn’t invited. 

Fortunately, Slate’s Jack Shafer makes me feel better about not attending The Atlantic‘s "First Draft of History" conference.  Whenever I get one of these invites in the future, I’m going to have to re-read this paragraph: 

I’ve got just three questions about "conferences" like these: Why, why, why? Other than hustling a little cash for the good cause that is the Atlantic magazine, what purpose do they serve? No, certifying members of the power elite does not qualify as a good cause. Will Gen. Petraeus make history by disclosing that he regrets the surge plan? Will David Axelrod volunteer that the Obama administration is a mess? Will Vikram Pandit fall to his knees and confess that the crash of 2008 was all his fault and beg to be shot? Not a chance. The participants will regift the presents they’ve given away dozens of times before, and the by-invitation-only audience will tear into the packages as if it’s their ultimate Christmas.

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at Tufts University’s Fletcher School. He blogged regularly for Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2014. Twitter: @dandrezner

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