Tuesday, October 11, 2005

... and coming out smelling like roses.

Yes, falling into a big pile of poo and coming out smelling like roses appears to be what is happening to Dan Drezner. After being denied tenure, his high profile has resulted in a storm in the blogosphere (by last count 232 comments on his website alone), along with a story in the New York Sun and a link to that article in Arts & Letters Daily.

Now, in all fairness to the U of C, no one outside of their institution has any idea why he was denied tenure; I know I certainly don't. Frankly, people outside of academe might be surprised -- or shocked and appalled -- to find out some of the legitimate and trivial reasons people are denied tenure. For all we know, Drezner was sleeping with all his colleagues' wives (or husbands), or was impossible to get along with, or denigrated the work of his colleagues in the classroom, or had been discovered as a plagiarist, or was embezzling sums of money, or was failing/passing students at an unacceptable rate, or had chronic halitosis ... well, you get the idea. Or, of course, it could have been all about the blog. If U of C is like any of the other schools I've worked at, we'll never know the reason, and neither will he.

Regardless of the reason, being denied tenure, sometimes the end of an academic career, seems to have pushed him into the limelight. Drezner has managed to do the impossible in academe: he has attained nearly Ward Churchillian notoriety without being a monumental jackass.

So, a request to the University of Chicago: My CV is available here. Please hire me, then feel free to deny me tenure. If it goes anything like it has for Drezner, I won't mind even a little bit.

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