I spent the last two days in the great state of Alabama, giving a talk on the financial crisis and national security at the Air War College's National Security Forum. The audience consists of Air Force colonels and community leaders.
In theory, I was there to impart wisdom, but I always find that I learn more from these experiences than my audience. Now, most of what happens in Alabama stays in Alabama, but I can say I learned the following four things:
1) The rooms at the Air Force Inn on Maxwell Air Force Base are charming -- and they come equipped with clubs and golf balls for guests to practice putting.
2) It's a really big ego rush when you walk into the lecture hall and everyone stands at attention for your entrance -- until, of course, you realize that they're not standing for you, they're standing for the base commandant.
3) I would describe my audience as somewhat right of center -- so it was surprising to me that, when I gently suggested that the War on Drugs might be the most counterproductive policy in existence, there was some robust support from the audience.
4) It's going to take a lot longer for the public's anger at the financial sector to dissipate than anyone in either Washington or New York realizes.
Via Glenn Reynolds, I see that professors have something in common with administrative assistants, baristas and personal trainers: they are all, "careers that have more sex appeal than you probably realize," according to Anthony Balderrama:
Behold the power of intellect: Someone who wasn't even on your romantic radar suddenly becomes the target of your affection when you find out he or she is intelligent -- or at least could be. Being a professor doesn't make anyone an automatic genius, but chances are these academics have expertise in at least one field, can speak a second or third language and have ambition (seeing as they spent a hefty portion of their time earning a few degrees). Plus, if anyone can make glasses go from nerdy to sexy, they can.
This is all clearly true. I would add that all professors are also snappy dressers and unusually punctual in their daily lives. Our hygeine is impeccable as well.
Seriously, however, if people underestimated the sexiness of "personal trainers," then maybe the misperception is not the fault of the professions, but the fault of people who use CareerBuilder.com.
Daniel W. Drezner is professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.