International award of the century
July 10, 2007 1:40 PM   Subscribe

The American Biographical Institute and the International Biographical Centre have been offering honours for sale for years now. Recipients are offered the chance to purchase space in published "Who's Who" type directories and they can also purchase awards and honours such as "Most admired man of the decade" or "Eisteinian Chair of Science." Academics seem mostly to fall for the allure of prestige (including David Suzuki) but so do some politicians, including Kamala Persad-Bissessar (MP, Trinidad and Tobago), Tõnis Kint (Acting President, Estonia), Adrian Severin (Member of the European Parliament), Jona Baravilala Senilagakali (Minister of Health, Fiji), Benazir Bhutto (President, Pakistan) and Gambian President His Excellency Alhagi Dr. Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh.
posted by salishsea (9 comments total)
...and a scholarly journal on the subject.
posted by salishsea at 1:41 PM on July 10, 2007

posted by jeffamaphone at 1:50 PM on July 10, 2007

I got a letter from Cambridge Who's Who about a week ago. I pretty much figured it was a scam. At the bottom it says "Cambridge Who's Who is proudly not associated or affiliated with any other Who's Who Publication or Organization."

I'm not a who. I'm a sneetch.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:57 PM on July 10, 2007

I found this article on Colby Nolan entertaining. Too bad it didn't have a pic. That cat's my hero.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 2:09 PM on July 10, 2007

I'm sorry, I should have made it clickable. Colby Nolan
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 2:10 PM on July 10, 2007

His owner could have got him a "One of the Genius Elite" Awards.
posted by salishsea at 2:15 PM on July 10, 2007

Cats with MBAs and Nutrition degrees.

I love cats, but damn, now I feel inadequate.
posted by blacklite at 2:41 PM on July 10, 2007

One of these rigs tricked my assistant once (pretty clever person, too, so I assume they're slick salesmen) with a phone pitch. She went for the minimum, which is the "you're in the book already, would you like a printed copy?" troll. Maybe it was a busy day, since I think she'd have smelled a rat if they attempted an upsell to "Most Admired Person of the Decade" or somesuch.

So until the acid-full paper rots, I get to enjoy being in one of these phonebooks with fake-leather covers. I usually call it "Who's Who in Gullibility", and I have to admit they're damn fun to flip through with that in mind. I love and cherish this book with my most sincere ironic affection.

Lucky for me (?), I think these are only sold to, and therefore read by, the featured victims subjects.
posted by rokusan at 3:47 PM on July 10, 2007

At a poetry reading an old woman showed up saying she had won a poetry prize. It was the kind they award to everyone in hopes they will buy the faux leather bound book. Her poem is seared in my mind:



She then asked how she could apply for a Pulitzer. Maybe these companies perform a certain Darwin-like service by taking money from people too evolutionary-challenged to know how to keep it.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:52 AM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

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