Tuesday, September 13, 2005

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Let's see, where can I publish next?

This week marks my third blogging anniversary. [Three years??!! So when do you plan on going back to just pointless, incessant barking?--ed]

And, by a freakish coincidence, I have two articles on the web today. In either case, I doubt I would have been approached were it not for the blog.

The first, in honor of the United Nations' 2005 World Summit (and, gee, those preparations are going swimmingly) is a review in the Wall Street Journal of Pedro Sanjuan's The UN Gang: A Memoir of Incompetence, Corruption, Espionage, Anti-Semitism and Islamic Extremism at the UN Secretariat . My varnished opinion:

In 1984, Vice President George H.W. Bush nominated Mr. Sanjuan to be the director of political affairs in the U.N. Secretariat, the massive administrative core of the institution. Mr. Sanjuan's real job was to spy on the Soviet spies working for the secretary-general. This was not an easy task: "I was one against 274 of them at the time of my arrival." "The UN Gang" is Mr. Sanjuan's memoir of his U.N. experience. It does not present a pretty picture of the United Nations -- or, by the end of the book, of the author himself....

On his Web site, Mr. Sanjuan states that he has a "penchant for the bizarre and the absurd." That phrase perfectly summarizes the U.N. -- and "The UN Gang."

My unvarnished opinion -- after reading this book, it's hard not to come to the conclusion that there's something a little bit loopy about Mr. Sanjuan.

Remember when Robert Reich published his memoir Locked in the Cabinet, and then Jonathan Rauch discovered that Reich had either made up or exaggerated certain events and quotes? Reich’s defense was that this was how he viewed the events at the time. The UN Gang suffers from the same defect.

Let's put it this way -- if I was a lawyer trying to indict the UN, there is no way in hell I would call Sanjuan as a reliable witness.

If you think I'm exaggerating, either buy the book or check out Sanjuan's web site (the quote from the review comes from this page) and draw your own psychological profile about Sanjuan's world view.

One last little irony about The UN Gang. Sanjuan continually (and justifiably) lambasts the UN Secretariat for being a hothouse of nepotism. All well and good -- but his editor at Doubleday was Adam Bellow, the accomplished author of... In Praise of Nepotism (though, to be fair, after reading this precis, Bellow would probably classify the UN as an example of "old nepotism" and not the "new nepotism" that is the subject of Bellow's praise).

The second piece is a companion essay to WNET's Wide Angle documentary on how offshore outsourcing is affecting Indian society, entitled "1-800-INDIA" -- which will be aired this evening. I was asked to provide a background briefing -- entitled "Offshore Outsourcing: Perceptions and Misperceptions."

Go check them out!!

posted by Dan on 09.13.05 at 09:37 AM


Happy Anniversary, Dan!

posted by: Zathras on 09.13.05 at 09:37 AM [permalink]

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